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MRLA 2016-2017

Winners of 2016-17 MRLA Awards announced


BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Leeds Art Gallery and York Art Gallery to host 2016-17 Max Reinhardt Literacy Awards.


The Max Reinhardt Charitable Trust, the National Association for Writers in Education (NAWE), and Engage are delighted to announce that the 2016-17 Max Reinhardt Literacy Awards (MRLA) will be hosted by BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Leeds Art Gallery and York Art Gallery.


Earlier this year applications were invited for the Awards, which were conceived and developed by the Max Reinhardt Charitable Trust. The programme was established to enable galleries, art museums and visual arts venues to support a dedicated programme of creative writing and literacy work with schools.


Funding from the Awards will allow each of the three venues to employ a creative writer to work with a local school on a creative writing or literacy project, taking inspiration from the venue’s collections, displays or building. The Awards are funded by the Max Reinhardt Charitable Trust and run in partnership with Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education and the National Association for Writers in Education (NAWE). We are delighted that additional support has been secured from The Ernest Cook Trust.


The workshops will lead to the development of new resources that will use creative writing to encourage engagement with each venue, which will be widely shared within the arts and education sectors to facilitate the greater use of galleries, art museums and visual arts venues by schools for creative writing and literacy work.


Veronica Reinhardt, Trustee of the Max Reinhardt Charitable Trust said,

‘We are thrilled to be building on the success of the pilot Max Reinhardt Literacy Awards, with three diverse and inspiring projects that demonstrate a real inventiveness in their approach to teaching creative writing.’


Seraphima Kennedy, Programme Director of the National Association for Writers in Education said,

'We were really impressed with the energy and quality of the applications we received. We chose three exciting projects that will use creative writing in innovative ways within galleries and the visual arts curriculum to really engage children with verbal and visual forms of literacy. The writers who have been chosen to work with the galleries - Antony Dunn, Helen Mort and Stevie Ronnie - bring an extremely high level of experience and creativity to these bold and imaginative projects.’


Jane Sillis, Director of Engage said,

‘Engage is delighted to be working with the Max Reinhardt Charitable Trust and the National Association for Writers in Education on the Max Reinhardt Literacy Awards. The inaugural Awards in 2014-15 were a huge success with children and young people working with creative writers and visual arts venues. In 2016-17, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Leeds Art Gallery and York Art Gallery will lead three inspiring projects, supporting children and young peoples writing skills and giving them access to the visual arts. Resources from the pilot Awards and those from the upcoming programme will be shared as a digital resource. We are grateful to the Max Reinhardt Charitable Trust for their support of the Awards, and to The Ernest Cook Trust for additional funding.’


BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

BALTIC is a major international centre for contemporary art; welcoming over 6 million visitors since opening in 2002. BALTIC presents an ambitious programme of exhibitions and events, and is a world leader in the presentation and commissioning of contemporary art. BALTIC has an international reputation for its commissioning of exhibitions and learning programmes that provoke thought, excite emotions and engage people with current issues.


BALTIC will work with The Northumberland Church of England Academy, Ashington, and Creative Writer in Residence Stevie Ronnie. Students will creatively explore the themes and ideas associated with contemporary art and visual literacy, in response to the work of Canadian artist, Rodney Graham ahead of his upcoming spring show at BALTIC in March 2017.


The Creative Writer in Residence will also produce work; adding his voice to the project and its outcomes.


Emma Thomas, Head of Learning & Engagement at BALTIC said,

‘We are really excited to have been selected for the MRLA and to be working with and learning from the Max Reinhardt Charitable Trust, NAWE and Engage. BALTIC believes in the power of contemporary art to provide alternative lenses with which to view the world. For audiences, the need to develop visual literacy skills; the ability to interpret, negotiate and make meaning from information presented visually is paramount. The MRLA offers us the opportunity to further embed the development of visual literacy within our schools programme. Using this as a means to provide alternative voices for our gallery interpretation, so it further reflects the diversity of our audiences, is exciting. The MRLA enables BALTIC to work in a meaningful partnership with New Writing North, Stevie Ronnie, Creative Writer in Residence, and Northumberland C of E Academy, Ashington, as we prepare for our forthcoming exhibition by Canadian artist Rodney Graham, whose exhibition will be a major survey of works, including his collection inspired by literature and reading. Looking outward, building relationships and deepening engagement is core to BALTIC’s vision for the future.’


Leeds Art Gallery

Leeds Art Gallery (LAG) is an international centre for modern and contemporary art that celebrates and explores creativity in Leeds with free access to exhibitions. Founded in 1888, the gallery is nationally significant with a collection of 19th, 20th and 21st century British painting and sculpture, alongside other media widely considered to be the best outside the national collections.


The gallery has developed a strong reputation for critically acclaimed and popular exhibitions by contemporary artists such as Damien Hirst, Shezad Dawood and Fiona Rae.


Leeds Art Gallery will work with Stanningley Primary School in Pudsey, with participation from the whole school, as well as five families acting as ambassadors for the school community. There will be sessions with poet Helen Mort and musician Samuel Moore, exploring artworks through freeform poetry, music and public performance. The project will be filmed and made available as an online resource.


Kate Fellows, Lifelong Learning Manager, Leeds Art Gallery said,

‘We’re delighted to have been selected for this Award, as it allows the gallery to extend its adventurous programme of taking significant works of art into schools. Art isn’t just for those who like art, but vital to accessing imagination and learning. This project will allow us to work in an innovative way with practising artists, whilst showcasing how the gallery can be a resource for inspiring learning in creative writing. It also enables us to continue building a unique partnership with local school Stanningley Primary and work with them to explore new ways of working with their young people and families.’


York Art Gallery

York Art Gallery reopened on 1 August 2015 following an £8 million redevelopment, and was a finalist for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016, and winner of the Family Friendly Museum Award 2016. The gallery houses European paintings spanning 1345 to the present day, with an exceptional collection of 5,500+ British Studio Ceramics, housed in the Centre of Ceramic Art (known as CoCA). There is a programme of changing exhibitions highlighting aspects of the collections, supplemented by loans from national collections and contemporary artists.


York Art Gallery will work with the Joseph Rowntree School in York, and poet Antony Dunn, devising group word games and activities, which encourage students to extend their vocabulary when describing artwork. Students will explore different ways of recording written ideas, including: in sketchbooks, as annotations on drawings; as a poem or song; as a short story.


Following a visit to the exhibition, Flesh, the creative writer will work with students to develop their starting points into a piece of drama and writing which demonstrates a personal, emotional response to an encounter with an artwork.


Gaby Lees, Assistant Curator for Arts Learning, York Art Gallery said,

‘The MRLA has given York Art Gallery the opportunity to work in partnership with the Joseph Rowntree School, one of York’s most highly regarded Secondary Schools, and poet Antony Dunn. We are keen to explore what the combined expertise of teachers, poet and gallery staff comes up with to better engage young people with contemporary art – and look forward to discovering the expertise of the young people themselves. Most of all, this award offers us the luxury of time – far more time than we would generally have to work with a school visiting the gallery; time to consider; time to play and time to build rich and meaningful experiences.’

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