Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Twilight Takeover - it's time for Masquerade at the Museum!


It's all hands to the deck as we prepare for our pioneering Twilight Takeover event on Thursday 25th April...

We hope to stage several 'Twilight Takeover' evenings a year for the duration of the VERVE project. One group we would like to encourage to engage more with the Museum is young adults, so the Takeover events offer the chance for young people to conceive and take responsibility for an alternative social evening event in the Museum. Liaising with Museum staff, the young people are supported in  thinking about how to best use the space and combine the Museum's message with a fun and off-beat evening of entertainment that will appeal to other curious young people.

Our inaugural Twilight Takeover event is organised by a small group of postgraduate Anthropology students at the University of Oxford. They have approached the task with huge enthusiasm and a limited budget to come up with what promises to a fabulous evening. 'Masquerade at the Museum' will tie into VERVE's first phase focus on dance and performance by featuring mask-making parlours, live bands, interactive tours, contemporary dance and even a belly dancer. A bar and lighting effects will help transform the Victorian space into a buzzing, social venue. The response has been phenomenal. We can only fit 250 people into the Museum at any one time but at least three times that number have expressed their interest! Hopefully, by repeating these types of events every few months, many more people will be able to attend in the future.

** NOTE: we will be releasing 10 extra tickets this Wednesday 17th April at 17.30 via our online ticket sales. **

So, we're busy preparing for our big night - the Mechanisms, who will be performing musical storytelling and vintage cabaret, have been in for their sound check:

The students have also picked a 'Mask-a-Day' from the collections to whet your appetite leading up to the event. These showcase some of the Central American masks that will be going on display soon in the Museum as part of the VERVE gallery improvement plan, and will help inspire those who want to make a mask before they come. You will be able to see the masks on the Facebook event page or our Flickr page.

Mask from the Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins
Mexico (PRM: 1987.16.11)

We've also been thinking about how to make this a participatory event, to help people interact with the Museum and we'll be holding dance workshops THIS WEEK. This is also a way those unlucky enough not to be able to get hold of a ticket can come to the evening!

So, if you're interested in embodiment, art installations, masks, masquerades, alternative forms of ethnography, new ways to engage with museum collections, and/or dancing, then this is for you! You'll be working with choreographer Rosie Kay to create the dance installation as a way of rethinking and reframing the masks collection. You will then perform the piece on the night in the Museum! The installation will use thoughtful, engaged movements and absolutely no previous dance experience (or rhythm, coordination, musical sensibility, etc...) is required!

The workshops will run this week on this WEDNESDAY 17th, THURSDAY 18th and FRIDAY 19th April, 11.00 – 16.00 (there may be some flexibility if you're very keen but can't make every session). For more details , please email verve@prm.ox.ac.uk expressing your interest ASAP. 

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Skills in the Making with Michael Brennand Wood

On Saturday 2nd March the Pitt Rivers Museum hosted the popular Skills in the Making workshop focusing on creative textiles with Michael Brennand Wood.

Internationally regarded as one of the most innovative and inspiring artists working in textiles in the UK today, Michael's work varies from public art pieces to exhibition work addressing political and aesthetic themes. He explores a wide range of textile practices including embroidery, pattern, lace and floral imagery. He has developed many techniques and imaginative ways of integrating textiles with other media.

Michael took the collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum as a starting point for an exciting mixed media workshop involving 25 art and design teachers from Oxfordshire and beyond.

After an initial presentation about the workshop's objectives and how it related to the collections in the Museum, there was a short introduction on techniques and materials illustrated by examples of Michael's artwork, which served both as reference and inspiration.

A visit to the galleries to source imagery for the workshop - taking photos and making drawings - was followed by nearly four hours of ‘making’ time in our new, multi-purpose "Museums' Annexe" space. Participants were asked to bring a selection of scrap fabrics, a basic sewing kit, and art equipment as well as smaller objects with a personal memory to incorporate them into layers of cloth or laminate and add an interesting angle to the textiles frames.

Gradually the pieces emerged, incorporating tensioned layers of cloth, collage, stitch, paint and other mixed media. The overall effect of the 25 personal and colourful textile laminates was stunning; each showed a journey through successive layers from different directions revealing unexpected configurations and relationships.

A discussion and critique acted as a plenary for what was a highly enjoyable and creative day! Here's what some of the participants had to say:

'A fabulous day thank you. It has been so good to explore a new technique and craft - and just have time to develop my own work.'

'Excellent, well worth coming and very good location.'

'Excellent day. Very good - unstressed, creative and instructive. Best value day's instruction I have ever attended.'

[Quotes: Skills in the Making workshop for teachers, delivered by NSEAD in partnership with Pitt Rivers Museum and Oxford Art Teach]

Skills in the Making workshops are supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and delivered by NSEAD. Facilitated by some of the UK's leading designer-makers, they are designed to support teachers to extend their knowledge and practice of contemporary crafts to develop art, craft and design programmes in school. This video gives a flavour of the workshops and the programme's goals.

The next Skills in the Making workshop is on 27th April 2013 at the Pitt Rivers Museum with jewellery-maker turned textile artist, Caroline Broadhead. Drawing inspiration from the collections, participants will make objects that relate to and transform with the movement of the body. Click here for more info and to reserve a place.