Is this Creative Space or Just Paintings?

Working with Steve Roper, Primary Schools Co-ordinator at The Whitworth we planned three workshops, which would disrupt how the pupils see The Whitworth. The young people were from three primary schools.

Thirty, eight to eleven year olds with learning difficulties took part in the following workshops, organised as a carousel for all the young people to experience:

  • The Whitworth Minecraft, where the participants experienced designing their own creative space in The Whitworth;
  • a dance workshop where the young people explored the space through movement, located in a gallery with Nicholson and Heron paintings hung on the walls;
  • a drama workshop where the young people through the emphasis of drama explored the patterns, shapes and age of Islamic Textiles.

The workshops were located in three public galleries. In this way we also challenged perceptions the public possess on who should use the space and how.

  • Feedback.

Parent Governor, “ My child came home and said it was the best day he had ever had!”

Teaching support, “The whole day was marvellous”

Teacher, “ He was looking at the space around him in the galleries. I know this by the way he was moving”.

Questions to young people:

What did you think The Whitworth was when you first came this morning? ..Reply “paintings” … What do you think now? … “It is a space where we can do many things … dance…. drama”… Has there been a shift in your view of The Whitworth?  “Yes”

What did you learn in the drama workshop? “ patterns …. shapes …….. and how old they were”. Were you doing drama or just looking at Islamic Textiles? “drama …… and looking at the patterns and shapes in the textiles”.

We will be discussing with Steve how we can explore if the regulations around the paintings create or act as barriers to young people with Learning difficulties and others.