The fourth annual Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education were presented by Sheila McGregor, Director of Axisweb and Brian Marsh OBE, Chairman of the Marsh Christian Trust, at a special evening event in Leeds run by Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education.
Funded by the Marsh Christian Trust, colleagues working in galleries and visual arts organisations are invited to nominate deserving co-workers each summer, and winners receives £500 to spend on their professional development. Feedback from previous awardees has been overwhelmingly positive — colleagues were delighted to receive recognition for their work and have reported increased confidence and opportunities as a result of winning the awards, as well as benefits for the organisations where they worked.
This is the fourth year that engage has celebrated the achievements of colleagues through the Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education. Nominations for the Award are truly impressive and demonstrate the dedication and creativity of those in the sector and their work with really diverse audiences. We are very proud to be working with the Marsh Christian Trust to mark this valuable contribution that colleagues make, especially as this year marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Engage, the National Association for Gallery EducationJane Sillis
Jack Brown, Freelance artist educator, Saatchi Gallery, London
Jack has worked on a wide range of projects with a variety of participants, from school groups to corporate partners, providing invaluable support to the education department. In nominating Jack, Francesca Wilson, Head of Education at the gallery highlighted Jack’s dedication and careful planning, as well as his ability to strike the right tone with visitors in the gallery, making artwork and projects relevant to all.
Jack was also nominated by his colleagues at the Hackney Wicked Arts Festival, where as Director for Learning he has developed a programme that appeals to a wide demographic. Workshops are designed to provide platforms for professional development within the arts, and many of the projects have continued beyond the festival. In both nominations, Jack was commended for his energy, ideas, and for going ‘above and beyond the remit of his role is in supporting and nurturing artists.’
Vicky Chapter, Participation and Learning Manager, aspex Visual Arts Trust, Portsmouth
Vicky was nominated by her colleagues for her enthusiasm and dedication to her role, as well as the gallery and its work. Having joined the organisation as a volunteer in 2009, Vicky now leads the education programme at aspex, developing projects that include aspex Greenspace, a community garden and art space to increase engagement with the local community.
Vicky also led on Bridging the Solent, a sub-regional partnership project to enable young offenders and hard to reach young people to engage with contemporary art, and continues to work to extend the gallery’s highly regarded work with children with autism and special educational needs, developing strong relationships with specialist schools and units. In nominating Vicky, Joanne Bushnell, Director of Aspex Visual Arts Trust, described her as ‘an exceptional arts manager, with admirable professionalism and unwavering positivity.’
Ronda Gowland-Pryde, Head of Education, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton
Ronda was nominated for her innovative and steadfast work with young offenders. Since 2007, Ronda has been a dedicated advocate for the Arts Award with young people who have offended, working with more than 200 young offenders. Her work in this area encouraged her to embark on part-time doctoral research to evidencethe value of contemporary art learning in restorative work with young people.
Based on this research and previous work, Ronda established an innovative longer-term weekly Arts Award programme with the newly formed Southampton Youth Offending Service in 2012, which helped to support the Service to achieve its first ever Artsmark status in Round 14, one of only three Youth Offending Teams to achieve Artsmark nationally. In nominating Ronda, the Director of John Hansard Gallery Stephen Foster commended her innovative practice and how she was instrumental in the gallery becoming an Arts Award Centre, recognised as an exemplar of best practice.
Sian Hughes, Artist and tutor, Ruthin Crafts Centre, Denbighshire
Sian was nominated for her work on the Lost in Art project, which is managed by Denbighshire County Council’s (DCC) Arts Service and funded by DCC and the Arts Council of Wales. Based at Ruthin Craft Centre, Lost in Art is designed for people with dementia aged 50 and older, along with their family members and carers. The aim of the project is to explore the role of the visual arts in addressing issues that can affect people with dementia, including social isolation, confidence, communication and quality of life and wellbeing.
Lost in Art has gained plaudits from the Alzheimer’s Society, Bangor University’s Dementia Services Development Centre, visitors to Ruthin and the participants themselves. In nominating Sian, Arts Development Officer Sian Fitzgerald underlined how successful the project had become under Sian’s guidance and added that her contribution had made ‘a positive and outstanding difference to the lives of a group of people in Wales’.