For What It’s Worth
Proposal for interactive activities
The curatorial team feels that an element of interactivity and audience engagement should be integral to the exhibition, and should be planned in from the beginning of our thinking about the hang.
So often, activities which run alongside an exhibition are conceived as an afterthought, as ‘something for the kids to do while Mum goes shopping’. Both the audience and the exhibition itself are poorly served by such thinking. A well-thought out activity, which engages people of different ages and abilities, and which is rooted in the concept of the exhibition has the potential to:
• Engage new audiences
• Enter into a dialogue with visitors and deepen their understanding of the exhibition
• Create a dynamic space within the exhibition which enables the public to ‘take ownership’ of the exhibition and re-interpret it
• Break down perceived barriers of access and entitlement to experiencing contemporary art
• Provide the curatorial and gallery team with innovative means of measuring and analysing audience engagement
So far, we have considered two possible activities, both of which are low cost and require minimal assistance from gallery staff or volunteer invigilators. It is expected that the curators will monitor the activities and document them within a digital archive.
This activity is aimed at a younger audience (possibly up to the age of 12?). However, all age-groups are free to participate.
The audience is invited to ‘play curator’ and decide for themselves which categories they would put individual works in. The visuals have not been fully works out yet, but could be as basic as images cut out on pieces of paper, or as sophisticated as a computer programme which allows the artworks to be moved around a virtual gallery space. This activity offers a playful means for the audience to respond to the curatorial decisions made by Andrea, Alice, and myself.
In addition, simple postcards could be printed, onto which, members of the public could write an answer to the question: What does value mean to you? (or similar).
This activity is aimed at older children, teens and adults as it will require a certain amount of manual dexterity and patience.
A selection of objects will be available for members of the public to use to create their own works of art. The objects (found, bought from charity shops, etc), will relate to works in the exhibition. For instance, we might offer a selection of pieces of cutlery, scraps of fabric, postcards, etc, along with other things that might be incorporated in order to ‘add value’. The works thus created would be displayed in the space dedicated to the education area for the duration of the exhibition. In this way, people would get a sense of different attributions of value, through their own direct experience.
The positive outcomes for the curatorial and gallery teams would be:
• A growing and changing visual display which can be used for publicity purposes (eg tweeting/Facebook)
• An opportunity (although small) to raise revenue: people would be encouraged to leave a donation in return for undertaking this activity
• Revenue-raising opportunities afforded by encouraging people to stay longer in the space and possibly purchase books or other items, which would be displayed in the same space
• Feedback on audience engagement