Marsh Awards 2021

Dedication and excellence in gallery education celebrated at the Marsh Awards Ceremony 2021

The tenth annual Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education celebrated the hard work and dedication of colleagues working within the sector of gallery, museum, and visual arts education. The Awards are funded by the Marsh Christian Trust and run by Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education, whose mission is to give everyone the opportunity to learn and benefit from the arts.

This year’s awards are special as we acknowledge that 2020 has been a difficult year for those working in the arts. Nominations were welcomed from colleagues for their co-workers in galleries and visual arts organisations, including those who were furloughed or had stopped working during the coronavirus pandemic. We were incredibly grateful for nominations received this year and it was a pleasure to celebrate with the winners at the ceremony on Thursday 28 January 2021.

This year nine individuals received awards. The awards were presented online by Professor Rod Bugg, Ambassador for the Marsh Christian Trust, at a virtual ceremony for the first time ever. Winners were invited to produce a video to advertise their success in winning the award, but also to give as much coverage as possible to the work that they have been doing. The winners received £500 to spend on their professional development, and feedback from previous awardees has been overwhelmingly positive — as a result of the Awards, colleagues receive recognition for their work and have reported increased confidence and opportunities, as well as benefits for the organisations where they worked.

“This round of the Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education celebrates colleagues who have delivered exceptional gallery and visual arts education practice in the UK and beyond. Many of the winners have responded to the extraordinary challenges presented by the pandemic in the most creative ways. Engage is very grateful for the support of the Marsh Christian Trust for these important awards.”

Jane Sillis, Director of Engage

This year’s recipients are:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Lindsey Fryer
  • Marsh Award for Excellence in Gallery Education (International): Andrew Atchison
  • Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education (UK):
    • Anna Aroussi
    • Hannah Gaunt
    • Rubbia Ullah
    • Susan Damali Ibreck
    • Ticky Lowe
    • Gemma Hobbs & Naseem Darbey

We celebrated the awards at an online ceremony. Watch the ceremony here:

Lindsey Fryer, Head of Learning at Tate Liverpool

Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education, Lifetime achievement award

Image caption: A captured moment of the Talking Pictures project; a 6-week adult engagement pilot project for refugees and asylum seekers in Liverpool. Credit: Jake Ryan.

For 38 years Lindsey has worked in gallery education, demonstrating a constant commitment to developing the sector. Through her co-founding of Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education, and creation of Tate Exchange, Liverpool, with 28 Associates, amongst many other initiatives, she has not only supported crucial work but also sought increased profile and recognition for gallery education. Lindsey worked at Arnolifni, Bristol for 16 years, at Tate Liverpool for 21 years and after co-founding Engage became a South West representative and stood as Vice-chair of the charity for 12 years. She has contributed to the professional development of gallery educators across Europe, Japan and Brazil, promoting curatorial status and equal pay. Lindsey has consistently supported younger artists and colleagues in their own career development. At Tate Liverpool, the Learning team’s work includes, early years and families, young people, local communities with a focus on mental health and wellbeing, refugees and asylum seekers, people with complex needs, and prisoners and their families. She has helped to develop the profile of socially engaged practice in the UK through projects like, The Fifth Floor; Art Gym with young people and Assemble; OK. The Musical with Christopher Klein and in 2020 Ferocious Love with Mikhail Karikis in collaboration with art students at Birmingham City University.

Lindsey’s nominator Deborah Riding, Programme Manager Children and Young People at Tate Liverpool, boasted of “Lindsey’s understanding and empathy with artistic practice, the needs of artists and their unique and valuable involvement in the cultural eco-system in the UK” throughout her career. Examples include a recent European funded, Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme, where Lindsey led Tate Liverpool’s contribution to a programme of training and professional opportunities for collaborative artists as part of a network with 9 European institutions.

Lindsey has said she would like to use the award money to support a young person to have access to experience and training in the sector.

Lindsey’s video

Andrew Atchison, Artist Educator at The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne Australia

Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education (International)

Andrew is a practicing artist and his dedication to contemporary art invests him with specialist knowledge that he brings to his teaching. Andrew developed Talk Think Public Art, a program that supports students to encounter public artworks and learn about the unique opportunities and challenges of making art for public space. This program has since become a core offering of ACCA Education. In creating a new and unique learning program Andrew far exceeded the stated responsibilities of his position. During his five years as an integral part of the small ACCA Education team, Andrew has enthusiastically embraced the challenges of communicating the complex ideas in art to large and diverse volumes of students annually. He thinks deeply about his teaching and is adept at differentiating to engage and students of diverse ages, backgrounds, and language levels.

Andrew’s nominator Felicia Pinchen-Hogg, Education Manager at The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, describes how “Andrew’s professional engagement enriches the breadth and depth of inquiry he is able to access when supporting students to learn about the contemporary art and artists”.

Andrew has plans to visit his gallery educator peers to observe their in-gallery teaching in both regional Victoria and interstate institutions. He states his intention is dual – to learn directly from observing colleagues in a variety of settings and to grow his professional networks.

Andrew’s video

Anna Aroussi, Engagement Officer at Thelma Hulbert Gallery

Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education (UK)

Image: Anna at the Creative Cabin at Exmouth Sea Front. Credit: Picture by Simon Tutty.

Anna is an artist and started her career at King Rollo Films where she worked for 10 years as a tracer, animator, and graphic designer. Anna’s work in gallery education began when she became involved with the education programme at Spacex delivering animation workshops before gaining a role as Visual Arts and Digital Media learning manager at Exeter Phoenix. Anna now works as the Engagement Officer at Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Devon. Through her work she has established herself in the gallery education sector, developing strong partnerships with TATE, local AONB’s, Devon Recovery Learning Community and East Devon District Council frontline service team, to design activities to reach groups most in need. Anna has shown dedication, tenacity, empathy, and commitment during the outbreak of Covid-19. Amongst other activities, she has played an invaluable role in developing and delivering the ‘Creative Cabin’ – a Covid-19 recovery project. This mobile creative space took nature and culture on tour in a ‘Recovery Roadshow’. Her aim was to share cultural activities with communities most in need in their own neighbourhoods.

Ruth Gooding, Curator and Manager at Thelma Hulbert Gallery said “It is Anna’s adaptability, positivity and drive to support communities in need to help them enjoy the benefits of art and culture that has made this project possible. “

Anna intends to use the prize money for training opportunities such as the Extend Leadership Programme with Engage, a digital skills course and/or diversity and inclusivity training for galleries and outdoor space.

Anna’s video

Hannah Gaunt, Learning and Engagement Manager at The Turnpike

Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education (UK)

Hannah has been working in cultural learning and engagement for the past 10 years, delivering creative programmes in contemporary galleries, art collections, a hospital, a theatre, and as part of schools’ programme for architecture. She has also worked as a freelance artist and project coordinator across a wide range of settings. ​Since joining The Turnpike in 2017, Hannah’s focus has been establishing a new Learning and Engagement programme to engage and inspire the local young people and communities of Leigh. The social mobility prospects of Leigh’s young people are low, it is an area of huge socio-economic depravation and its health and wellbeing statistics are alarming, yet Hannah has worked tirelessly to support their remarkable talent and spark, by seeking out opportunities, developing innovative young people’s programmes and creating a dynamic cultural education offer with local schools.

Most recently, Hannah has secured £140K from Greater Manchester Combined Authority to create The Making of Us artists’ development programme. This builds on her work with the Engage Alexandra Reinhardt Memorial Award Turnpike Pottery project (upskilling a cohort of artists to work with isolated and disadvantaged young people aged 13-25 years across Greater Manchester). Hannah is passionate about the power of artistic practice for social change, and her programmes champion the work of participatory, socially engaged and community artists. 

Helen Stalker, Director, The Turnpike gave Hannah extraordinary praise in her nomination saying “Hannah is an extraordinary professional, a valued colleague and a pioneer in her field. For some time, we were the only members of the Turnpike team and the importance of having her at my side throughout the challenge of developing the organisation from scratch cannot be over- stated. She has brought a generosity of spirit, a wealth of ideas, exceptional adaptability and empathy to The Turnpike.”

Hannah would like to use the award to further her understanding of good practice in the UK, by visiting organisations and venues in Scotland that are pushing boundaries and testing new ideas. As a person of Scottish descent living and working in the North of England, she is particularly interested in crossing the border to reconnect with embedded, hyperlocal practices that many of these organisations have been able to develop over a sustained period, and to identify learning that can be translated into her work in Leigh. 

Hannah’s video

Rubbia Ullah, Education Officer at Grundy Art Gallery

Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education (UK)

Image: Headshot of Rubbia. Credit: Lawrence Roberts.

Since 2007 Rubbia has worked in gallery education, starting her journey as Learning Assistant at Whitworth Art Gallery. Afterwards she was the Learning and Interpretation Assistant at Quarry Bank Mill heritage site where she devised and delivered tours, coordinating education visits and the schools programme, exploring the cotton mill and the historical links cotton production has to slavery and colonialism. Her work has included delivering art projects in criminal justice settings with children and young people in secure units and mental health units. As well as this, Rubbia has worked in a freelance capacity for many projects including as an Artist for Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery and Z-Arts and as Arts Programmer for Manchester Mela Festival of South Asian culture. As Education Officer of Grundy Art Gallery, she is responsible for curating the Education and Engagement programme.

Paulette Brien, Curator, Grundy Art Gallery, describes how when Rubbia came into post at Grundy Art Gallery, she quickly established herself as a vital member of the small but ambitious team.”  Rubbia’s specialism is her ability to develop and sustain relationships with diverse groups, from the under 5’s to the over 60’s; from art enthusiasts to art sceptics; from a Turner Prize winner to a 17-year-old rising star of Blackpool Grime. As a result of her sensitive stewardship Rubbia instils a confidence in her collaborators that enables them to exceed their own expectations enabling them to deliver highly quality outcomes of personal as well as regional and national significance. A work highlight during lockdown involved an online, open to all, drawing workshop led by Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner that focused on everyone producing uplifting town mottos.

Rubbia would like to use the money for short courses in leadership and education and to purchase a range of learning materials to support her professional development.

Rubbia’s video

Susan Damali Ibreck, Creative Learning Manager at Iniva

Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education (UK)

Image: Headshot of Susan Damali Ibreck. Credit: Matthew Tarr

Susan Damali Ibreck has worked in arts education for 16 years. Starting as an art and fashion tutor to young people excluded from the mainstream, she then worked as a researcher and education developer with the Helen Storey Foundation for 7 years. Alongside this, Susan produced education projects, using creativity to support the development of literacy skills and foster arts engagement in children and young people. Working locally, she develops community focused arts education projects with multi-disciplinary outcomes. In 2017 she joined Iniva (the Institute of International Visual Arts) where she develops and manages the Creative Learning strand. Working nationally with artists, art therapists, schools, and community groups, Susan works to increase access to the arts, to enable children and adults from all demographics to find confidence and resilience through artist led, creative expression.

Susan has shown a dedication to addressing inequality within the visual arts and her work embodies the values she holds around importance of diversity, equality, and representation. Furthermore, in response to the current covid-19 restrictions Susan has been creative and flexible delivering impactful programmes for schools and families.

Georgina Chatfield, Programme Manager at RSA Academies, said Susan has been a brilliant, supportive and inspiring colleague to work alongside, and this award raises the profile of the work she does and the social/political work of the artists she creates a platform for. I have observed how Susan actively seeks out opportunities for artists to extend their practice, their networks, and their reach. Her skills in effective partnership working and open communication has enabled honest, trusting relationships to develop.”

Susan has been invited to Belgrade to collaborate on a research project, working with locally based artists, academics and communities. This award will enable her to travel (when restrictions permit) and extend her independent practice.

Susan’s video

Ticky Lowe, Freelance Artist

Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education (UK)

Ticky’s nominator Sioned Phillips, Education Officer at the Ruthin Craft Centre, said she was nominating Ticky because of her commitment, dedication, and outstanding work that she has shown and provided during her career as a creative practitioner, enabling all walks of life and age groups to access and engage with the visual arts.  Ticky offers a bespoke multi-sensory approach to workshops, events, training, technology and interpretation, as demonstrated in the following projects: Dwylo Bach/ Little Hands session at Ruthin Craft Centre, working with little artists stirring their inner creativity and addressing loneliness and isolation within early stages of motherhood; Making Memories, a box filled with ideas and materials for reminiscence sessions and creative activities for care home staff to use with residents; Age Cymru cARTrefu project, Ticky was an Artist working alongside carehomes across North Wales; and Making Sense@Home, boxes of resources for sensory activities for adults with Profound and Multiple learning disabilities and Autism during lockdown.

During her career, Ticky has also worked as a tour guide in The Royal Pavilion in Brighton and as an education officer for the National Wildflower Centre in Liverpool. In 2005 she became the project manager for Access to Heritage – a Mencap Liverpool project exploring how Liverpool’s museums and galleries could do more to open their doors to people with learning disabilities.

Ticky will use the award prize to develop her Welsh language skills. This will enable her to present quality Welsh language work and engagement activities with confidence that reflects contemporary Wales. Ticky would also like to join as an A&B Cymru member, to access their support and training courses as part of her career development.

Ticky’s video

Gemma Hobbs and Naseem Darbey, Creative Leads, Keighley Creative

Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education (UK)

Gemma and Naseem are the first duo to win a Marsh Award. They work together as volunteer Creative Leads for the new charity, Keighley Creative. Supporting the developing space with a changing programme of ideas, including The Drawing Box Project which many Keighley families really enjoyed last summer. Keighley Creative is a volunteer-led arts charity, always developing new ideas with the public that lead to exciting arts projects and fun activities for local communities to get involved with.

Gemma and Naseem have also worked independently in the community arts and education sector for 15 years – in galleries, schools, colleges, and charitable organisations.

Together, they have worked determinedly to keep Keighley Creative going during Covid-19 against the backdrop of logistical and financial challenges. They secured ACE funding to run a Drawing Box project in Summer 2020, utilising a large window as a ‘performance space for drawing’, accompanied by a series of online workshops, family activities, and social media content. The pair were nominated for the award by Claire Ackroyd, Learning and Outreach Manager from Bradford Museums and Galleries, after they worked with the collections at Cliffe Castle Museum. Claire said how “their passion and determination has reshaped the challenges of Covid-19 into opportunities to develop and adapt.”

Gemma and Naseem would love to use the £500 to visit the National Arts Education Archive (NAEA), taking the opportunity to research and find inspiration for future projects. Gemma and Naseem want to make sure their approaches to curation are inclusive and interesting, and both artists share a love of sculpture. This research will invigorate and enthuse the future offer at Keighley Creative.

Gemma and Naseem’s video