On Thursday 7 November 2013, four exceptional individuals were recognised for dedication or innovation in their work to make the visual arts more accessible. The 2013 Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education were presented by Dorothy Wilson MBE FRSA, Artistic Director and Chief Executive, MAC Birmingham and Brian Marsh OBE, Chairman of the Marsh Christian Trust.
Clare Gittings, Learning Manager, National Portrait Gallery
Clare has worked at the NPG for the past 24 years. When she began she was responsible for the gallery’s Schools’ Programme, which she now delivers to around 15,000 primary and secondary students every year with an experienced team of freelancers. Clare also worked on the National Museum Online Learning Project ‘Webquests’ which thousands of pupils take part, in sessions remotely each month.
Clare was nominated by her colleagues at the National Portrait Gallery, who said of her,
Clare has a modesty in her breadth of knowledge of the Gallery’s Collection and is passionate, enthusiastic and generous in sharing her expertise with her colleagues in London. Clare is retiring at the end of October, and will be much missed by her colleagues and school groups.
Lisa Jacques, Learning Officer, Contemporary Art at New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester
Lisa was nominated for her achievements in relation to an exhibition of renowned photographer August Sander. In this key project, that has since been cited in a number of international conferences, Lisa looked at ways that formal, curricular learning and informal learning can be brought together, and built a partnership with Leicester College’s photography department who agreed to build the Sander exhibition into their curriculum.
Alongside classroom teaching and facilitated visits, students’ work was publicised through a variety of means, including billboards, bus shelters, and in exhibitions in different venues in the city, and several of the students involved went on to win national and international awards. In her nomination Lisa’s colleagues commended her ‘imagination and enthusiasm, leading to innovative outcomes’, and the long hours she undertook to complete the project.
Jenny Mellings, Freelance artist educator
Jenny was nominated by her colleagues at Spacex, Exeter for her dedication to gallery education, having run over 1000 workshops at Spacex alone. Jenny has spent many hours preparing children’s artwork for display, entering awards, editing films, creating an archive and hanging exhibitions. Thanks to her efforts, artworks produced by children and young people have won awards and been on display to large audiences at Exeter Central Station, Exeter Picturehouse and as part of international animation festivals.
Her colleagues were careful to draw attention to the impact that Jenny has had on the children and young people with whom she has worked, Hannah Reeves, learning programmer at Spacex comments ‘many children and young people Jenny has worked with stay involved with the gallery through volunteering or attending openings and events’ and adding that ‘many have also gone on to study art and other creative subjects in higher education, and have been supported by Jenny in their journey.’
Ella Phillips, Education Manager, October Gallery, London
Ella was nominated by her colleagues for her successful efforts to expand the gallery’s education programme, securing significant amounts of new funding and developing innovative projects with various groups. Since last year Ella has created a highly successful free early years training programme, and improved CPD opportunities for volunteers and emerging artists at the gallery. She has also developed excellent working relationships with partner organisations such as PAN Refugee Arts, Action Space, The Postal Museum and Westminster Mind.
Ella’s projects have included working with a group of trafficked women who due to their age were no longer eligible to attend their previous support group. Ella has also added prison outreach to the gallery’s education programme, supporting families visiting prisoners, with plans to develop a weekly art session to help prisoners improve their communication and parenting skills.