Over the years I have informally mentored a number of young people, usually following on from meeting them via one of the youth programmes I have worked on. Two years ago I took part in the Mentoring for All pilot run by the Museum Association, which has helped me to formalise my future mentoring relationships.

I am currently mentoring an inspiring mentee who is one of the Young Freelancers at London Transport Museum (LTM). I find that I am learning greatly from the conversations we have whilst also supporting her early on in her career; both in navigating the politics of working in the arts sector and in mapping out her future as a freelancer.

To find out more about the programme at London Transport Museum and to consider putting yourself forward as a mentee for next years’ Young Freelancers programme visit here

Next year there will be an additional freelance role at LTM, The Khadija Saye Photography Fellowship.

Family Mural Tour

Last weekend, for Art on the Underground, I gave a tour of some of the 1980s Brixton murals along with Aliza Nisenbaum’s commission at Brixton tube station. The tour was aimed at families with free sketchbooks and drawing materials provided to encourage everyone to draw their favourite parts of each mural and map their journeys, whilst learning about the stories behind the murals and playing games together. 

For more information about the murals you can download the Brixton Mural Map. Copies are also available from Brixton tube station.


The artists with their sketchbooks


As part of my role as evaluator for the DEVELOP Programme for young people at The Photographers’ Gallery I recently attended the private view of FutureProof to chat to visitors. Presented at The Truman Brewery, as part of Free Range, an annual showcase of UK graduates, FutureProof is an alternative exhibition of original works conceived and curated by participants of the DEVELOP Programme.

One visitor said: 

“It’s a snapshot of the art world in an intense moment. It’s great to see everything in a few days in one place.”

And someone else said that it was the first exhibition they had ever been to!

For more information about Future Proof take a look here


Future Proof exhibition branding

Routes In

I recently facilitated the latest Routes In Work network meeting at Tate Britain. Routes In is a commitment to offer up more opportunities and create a level playing field for young people from under-represented backgrounds when entering Tate, along with the wider cultural and creative industries. I am acting as a critical friend for the programme helping them to decide on their next steps following on from this year’s Routes In Alternative Careers Fair. For more information take a look here

Institute of Education

Last week, I was a guest speaker for the Alternative models for Art Education Module as part of the Art & Design in Education MA at the Institute of Education presenting about and running break out groups focusing on how young people could gain employment into the arts sector, contributing to diversifying the workforce. This included thinking about the work I have been doing around setting up paid traineeships or internships, evaluating careers focused programmes for young people, and mentoring young freelancers. In the breakouts we explored some of the questions I’ve been thinking about such as: What is the legacy of each individual trainee’s experience? Is it a tokenistic ‘1 in 1 out policy’? How could these roles contribute to institutional change?

For more information about the Art & Design in Education MA take a look here

Art on the Underground & LSBU Poster Project

Congratulations to LSBU student Ewan Coleman for his stunning flower design inspired by Linder’s Art on the Underground commission The Bower of Bliss at Southwark tube station. 

I set this project up with the BA (Hons) photography department at LSBU with the brief for Year 1 Photography students to submit an image for a poster design considering one or more of the key themes Linder has focused on in her work:

  • Mapping a vertical history of Southwark;

  • The station interior inspired by 18th Century notion of the English landscape garden;

  • The station as a place of peace and tranquility, a refuge from urban life;

  • The histories, myths and fables of women based in Southwark;

  • A picture of empowerment for women everywhere.

I short-listed the submissions with LSBU’s Senior Lecturer Adam Brown and Art on the Underground Curator Kiera Blakey. The final design was chosen by artist Linder. This is what she said about the designs:

“I was delighted to see the work of the five shortlisted artists! I felt that even though I was just looking at one example of their work, I got some sense of each student as an individual who in turn responded to the brief in their unique way.”

Linder felt that Ewan’s design would work especially well in relation to her artwork, and would be noticeable to passing customers against advertising whilst reading well from a distance.

Ewan’s poster design will be outside Southwark tube station until the end of this month and Linder’s commission is up until October 2019. For more information visit here


Ewan Coleman’s Poster Design Monstrous Flower

Mainly Museums article

I’ve just written an article for Mainly Museums  - a personal take on Museums big and small from contributors across the globe. I chose the Derwent Pencil Museum in Keswick and you can read my article here.

You can follow Mainly Museums (set up by John McKerracher) on Twitter to see when the latest articles get posted up, or you might like to contact them to write your own article! @mainlymuseums


World War II Secret Map Pencil, Derwent Pencil Museum

Little Angel Theatre Evaluation

I am currently evaluating the strategic touring programme Take Flight  for Little Angel Theatre, where ten theatre venues across the country are aiming to develop long lasting relationships with primary schools in their area. I’ve so far met theatre venue staff and local primary teachers in Wolverhampton, Barking, Tower Hamlets and St Helens. The other six venues are Luton, Doncaster, Harrow, Rochdale, Oldham and Gainsborough. This evaluation will also include a SurveyMonkey questionnaire for teachers in autumn term, with a prize draw incentive, along with a teachers’ focus group in London. By the end of the year, I will be writing a report focusing on barriers to arts engagement and making recommendations on how each venue can work best with their local schools.  For more information about Little Angel Theatre’s Take Flight programme visit here

The Flying Bath, Little Angel Theatre

The Flying Bath, Little Angel Theatre

New clients - Tate & the Whitechapel Gallery

I am excited to be freelancing with two new clients.

For Tate, I am working with their Young People’s Programmes Team to support the evaluation and next steps of the Routes In Programme including devising and facilitating the next Routes In: Network meeting. The network aims to share knowledge, skills and expertise around creating progression routes for young people into the cultural and creative industries. For more information about the recent Routes In: Alternative Careers Fair take a look here 

For the Whitechapel Gallery, I am evaluating their forthcoming community project Voices that Matter: Women, Art, Collaboration working with three partners - City Gateway, Women’s Environmental Network and Numbi - with funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. For more information about the Whitechapel Gallery’s Community Programme visit here.


CPD at the Courtauld Gallery

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of facilitating a CPD session for an experienced team of gallery educators at the Courtauld Gallery, who are currently running outreach sessions in schools whilst the Gallery is closed for redevelopment. I devised activities that included a brainstorm around making contemporary connections to key artworks in the Courtauld Collection, and a discussion on classroom management issues. As usual in my CPD sessions, we used a lot of flip chart paper, postits & coloured pens. And from the feedback their favourite activity was ‘throw the question!’


Brainstorm around Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear

Lisbon - family friendly city

We have just returned from a holiday in Lisbon with our kids aged 5 and 7. It is such a great city for a family to explore (although a little expensive). Here are our highlights:

  • Castelo - this is where you find the Castelo de São Jorge which has great views across the city and the kids loved exploring it - they sat on the cannons, climbed the towers, viewed the archaeological site, and got a guided tour across the city via the camera obscura. We were even joined by peacocks whilst we ate lunch!
  • Belém - this is a lovely area just outside the city centre (you can get there via train, bus or tram) where the kids roamed by the waterfront (we also tried the electric scooters), climbed up the Tower of Belém, took a trail around the Art Museum (Museu Coleção Berado with a collection to rival Tate), and marvelled at the ornate Jerónimos Monastery, before we ended the day tasting the Pastéis de Belém!
  • Cascais - this seaside town is a 40 minute train ride along the coast where we climbed to the top of a lighthouse, visited the spectacular orange building and paintings in the Paula Rego Museum The House of Stories, and ran around in the nearby Parque Marechal Carmona (where in summer there is a petting zoo). Of course there was the beach as well, where the kids ate icecreams, built sandcastles and splashed in the waves!
  • Parque das Naçeõs - this area was so good for the kids we came twice! Arriving at Oriente station we checked out the street sculptures (by Anthony Gormley, Jorge Vieira and others), then took a cable car along the waterfront to the Oceanário. If you think you’ve been to an aquarium before you’ve not been to one this enormous! A giant central tank is surrounded by a number of zones featuring animals and fish from different climates - our favourites were the playful sea otters and the waddling penguins (one was called Oliver Twist!) We returned a few days later to experience the nearby science museum Pavilhão do Conhecimento (The Pavilion of Knowledge) - two massive floors packed with interactives and the Dóing area where you could ‘make’ and ‘tinker’. It was loads of fun and very educational!

In addition to these highlights, roaming around the city was a big hit with the kids - taking trams and furniculars to viewpoints as well as a boat across the River Tagus. And our fussy little eaters even enjoyed some of the ‘petiscos’. We hope to go back one day - as my 5-year-old says “I love Lisbon”!

Outside Lisbon’s Science Museum 

Outside Lisbon’s Science Museum 

Engagement Advisory Group

Today I attended my first Engagement Advisory Group meeting at the Horniman Museum and Gardens as their ‘young people’ specialist. I am pleased to be giving time to somewhere I love to visit with my family. This is a voluntary group comprised of individuals who are able to offer a strategic overview of their areas of expertise and act as advisors during the Collections Peoples Stories project at the Horniman Museum and Gardens. These areas of expertise include museum community engagement, participatory work, need and provision in their local boroughs, current initiatives and best practise working with their target groups: mental health service users, new arrivals, older persons, disabled people, young people, marginalised families and ESOL learners.

Symposium: Youth-led Programming

Earlier this week I was at The Photographers’ Gallery for their Symposium: Youth-led Programming, presenting about Art on The Underground’s Clay Station Traineeship that I set up and ran in 2017. I was joined by trainee Abigail Holsborough to get her perspective on the project. We were part of the first group of speakers focusing on Behind the Scenes Programming which included speakers Aleema Gray from the National Maritime Museum and Rio Blake Youth Trustee at The Photographers’ Gallery. This was followed by a panel discussion covering tokenism, institutional change, barriers, and paying young people. Three more sets of speakers then focused on Public Facing Programming along with a second panel discussion. It was a fantastic turn out of arts educators and young people interested in engaging with museums and galleries, including one of my old Youth Forum members from the National Portrait Gallery.

You can watch the symposium here (Abigail and I are the first speakers).

Abigail and I presenting about the Clay Station Traineeship

Abigail and I presenting about the Clay Station Traineeship

Work in Focus: Michelangelo’s Taddei Tondo

The first of a number of teacher resources I’ve been writing for the Royal Academy (RA) is now online. This ‘Work in Focus from the RA Collection: Michelangelo’s Taddei Tondo’ acts as a springboard for students to compare and contrast this incredible marble sculpture with other artworks in the Bill Viola / Michelangelo: Life, Death, Rebirth exhibition, on at the RA until 31 March. Take a look under the section for teachers about this exhibition here.

Southwark Time Detectives

Today we were joined by nearly 70 children and accompanying parents taking part in Art on the Underground’s Family Day: Southwark Time Detectives. The participants used the family trail to explore artist Linder’s giant commission that wraps Southwark tube station, created a 3D collage of Southwark’s past and present with artist Meera Chauda, and handled objects from the Cuming Collection - that feature in Linder’s work - with Curator Judy Aitken. The next Art on the Underground family event will be a tour of the Brixton murals in June. Watch this space...


Artist Meera Chauda helping a family

The Bower of Bliss engagement activity

During February and March I’m delivering sessions for Art on the Underground as part of the engagement programme I have set up this year. This activity focuses on the 85-metre long billboard commission The Bower of Bliss at Southwark Tube Station by artist Linder. Earlier this week I met two student groups from Lewisham Southwark College for a tour of the commission and was joined by Linder who generously talked about her influences as well as exposing her creative processes. Feedback included:

“There’s noise at the front which matches the bold image. I like it here at the back where it’s more peaceful - visually and noise wise.”

“My students really loved the talk and exhibition. I could tell by our conversations this afternoon that Linder really had inspired them.”

This session will be followed by a free family event during the half-term holidays, along with a poster design project with Year 1 BA photography students at London Southbank University.


Linder talking about her commission  

Routes in Work Network

I’ve been keen for a while to set up a network that brings together organisations and individuals, like myself, who are working on programmes with the aim to get young people into arts sector employment and discussing how we can diversify the workforce. Then I discovered that a group already exists, the Routes in Work Network, which I am excited to have now joined. This was set up by Laura Turner-Blake, Curator: Young People’s Programmes at Tate. I attended my first meeting this week for interesting presentations by Jennie Godsalve from Creative & Cultural Skills and Shingirai Sibanda from Create Jobs (A New Direction). There was also an opportunity to connect with members of the group. I’m looking forward to the next meeting already! 

Looking ahead to 2019

I am mapping out my diary for 2019,  getting excited about the following projects:

  • Writing two teachers’ resources inspired by the RA Collection at the Royal Academy of Arts;
  • Evaluating the schools touring programme Take Flight for Little Angel Theatre;
  • Continuing to evaluate the DEVELOP Programme for young people at The Photographers’ Gallery;
  • Working with audiences local to Southwark tube station to engage with Linder’s commission for Art on the Underground, including families, colleges and a women’s group; 
  • Setting up the first internship for Freelands Foundation; 
  • And being a guest speaker on the Alternative Models for Art Education module on the Art and Design in Education MA at the Institute of Education.

In addition, I am currently talking to two national museums about projects which I will reveal when they have been finalised. I have also signed up to be a mentor to one of the Young Freelancers at the London Transport Museum, and I am now part of the Engagement Advisory Group at the Horniman Museum as their youth specialist. So it’s a busy year ahead!

2018 Highlights

As I sign off work-wise for Xmas I’m reflecting on my highlights for 2018: 

  • Continuing to run CPD sessions for the AND Advocates, an amazing group of arts teachers working with A New Direction;
  • Writing a Learning Guide for Art on the Underground aimed at Key Stages 3-5 focusing on Heather Phillipson’s giant installation at Gloucester Road station my name is lettie eggsyrub  (available to download here);
  • Continuing to evaluate the DEVELOP Programme for young people at The Photographers’ Gallery, in particular tracking a few individuals’ journeys and seeing how much they have progressed;
  • Working on the planning & delivery of the Brixton Primary Schools Mural Design Project for Art on the Underground with artist Meera Chauda and six local primary schools with their artwork being displayed at Brixton Library to coincide with the launch of Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s Commission at Brixton tube station. 

I’m looking forward to some exciting projects in 2019. Watch this space...