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Community Ambassadors First Meeting 10th February 2012

A core aspect of our project involves the recruitment of a team of Community Ambassadors who will work regularly with Wallace Collection staff from February 2012 to February 2013. During these twelve months the Community Ambassadors will learn about the Museum, it’s works of art, how to care for and display historical artefacts, different forms of display and exhibition interpretation, museum education, public programming and museum and exhibition marketing. In learning about these museological practices the Community Ambassadors will become well-trained to work closely with the 60 adults, children and elderly people from Newham Family Learning Services, West Hampstead Women’s Group and Annia Women’s group to advise and assist the project participants in creating display, interpretation and marketing strategies for an intergenerational community exhibition that will be held at the Wallace Collection in January and February 2013. Our Community Ambassadors will also be able to guide project participants on how to plan and deliver accompanying school, family and adult activities. Additionally, the Community Ambassadors will be trained to work closely with different staff departments in the Wallace Collection to inspire the Museum to explore new and different forms of exhibition interpretation, educational activities and marketing strategies to innovate the museum, making it more appealing to new and broader audiences.

On the 10th February our Community Ambassadors met for the first time and were given a tour of the Wallace Collection. They also met with Clare O Brian (Head of Development and Marketing) and Beth Humphries (Development Officer) for an introduction to the Museum’s Development and Marketing Department and with Anne Fay (Head of Education) for an introduction to the Wallace Collection’s Education Department. We really enjoyed meeting all of the Community Ambassadors and we also hope that they enjoyed meeting us!

Over the next twelve months the Community Ambassadors will be assisting with many elements of our project and the Wallace Collection’s working policies and practices and also considering many different issues, the first of which is what their role is in the project and what they are hoping to get out of and to contribute to the project.

One of our Community Ambassadors is Trevor Caffoor who is an artist and freelance educator with a strong interest in the history and techniques of 17th to 19th century painting as presented at the Wallace Collection. He is undertaking the community ambassador programme to gain an insight and experiences of working within a national museum and hopes, with his teaching and cultural background, to be able to provide assistance with the Intergenerational Community Project or any other such projects that can help to increase an interest in the Wallace Collection.

Another of our Community Ambassadors is Khosi Manaka and she is also an artist. Here is a description about her work and three of her paintings;

“I render my work almost instinctively in an organic abstract and yet conceptual form of depiction depending on the mood of the moment as well as of the subject to be captured and portrayed. The colours, I chose selectively to fit in with the mood. I also tend to incorporate aesthetics within the fabric of any particular painting as an added technique be it to influence the eye as it were or to temper the passion.

 In these three paintings I was rendering a Contemporay Historical Perpective of South Africa. These I had exhibited some years back with South African Culture and Tourism at Hanover Square London alongside Louis Maqubela ( the renowned South African Veteran Artist) and alongside us (good or bad) were  a display of the South African de Beers Diamonds- At that time I was just at right place at the right time. It was a bit of fun!!!

 The first Painting entitled:‘The Island that Robbed’ refers to Robben Island where Nelson Madiba was confined and incarcerated during Apartheid South Africa.

 

The second Painting is entitled: ‘Scourge of the Virus’ which relates to the HIV and AIDS whichhas been ravaging South Africa.

The third Painting is entiltled :  ‘The Green Green Grass of Hope’ refers to the aftermath of all which provides humanity with a new leaf, after all is said and done. This is set against the backdrop of the dunes with the lush green sprouting out.

I also work variedly, at the present moment I do a lot of doodling to explore the fascination of line using pens or inks. I am developing this line style which I have called a Khosiesque style from which I am hoping to develop into a Khosiesque Genre— if and only if I can sustain the ambition!!! which is often a difficult thing!!!”

Posted by treasuresfromtheeast
14 February 2012

I want to believe that everyone, like me found our first orientation session superb and very well coordinated. All aspects of the orientation I found very good and informative. Also refreshing to me was the very diverse background group who undoubtedly will benefit the whole.

Anyone!!! How about putting our thoughts down and together by perhaps starting to analyse the role of the ambassador and what it means for the Wallace as well as for Communities with the view to discern a fitting name title etc!!!! by brainstorming?

Cheers and Happy Valentine all.

Khosi

Khosi Manaka on 14 February 2012

I’m totally I agree with you Khosi and I’d like to thank you to everybody who well-organised the first meeting. I really enjoyed exploring Wallace Collection for the first time where I felt sense of 17′s and 18′ (?) Atmosphere: history, art, life, etc.. I can’t wait to meet with the very diverse background group who definitely will benefit the whole.
I’m already quite interesting to work with artists and other valuable people during our training.
I’d suggest the name for our group what Shoie asked if we could provide the one! Here’s my suggestion : ” interpretation of diversity/diverse” ( some might could find it funny but it’s just a suggestion.)

I’m hoping to contribute to the project and gain both knowledge and experience from the all who I’ll be working.

See you in the meeting.

Aysel

aysel bulut on 17 February 2012

Sophie I’m sorry for misspell ur name in my previous comment.

Aysel

aysel bulut on 17 February 2012

Dear Khosi and Aysel and fellow Community Ambassadors,

Many thanks for your comments and ideas and I’m so glad that you enjoyed the first training session, all of us at the Wallace Collection really enjoyed meeting you all for the first time and showing you around the Museum. I really like Aysel’s idea for a new name.

Wenwen has also emailed me her ideas and even designed some possible logos that I can’t attach in this comment but will email to you!;

“Dear Sophie,

I have some ideas about the name of community ambassador, I think ” Ambassador of Wallace Collection”(AWC) is better, because compare with “community ambassador”, AWC is more specific, this name mentioned Wallace Collection, but a little long. and we can use the
initial “AWC”. I also design 2 logos of AWC. I hope they are useful. At the same time, I think our ambassador should have uniforms and ambassador card, we represent the brand image of Wallace collection. It’s better for Collection. For the development of market, I think we can give the visitors some small gifts for free, because the visitors are the best way to promote our Collection”.

I don’t know if we’d have enough money in the budget to get uniforms made but I would be able to get some badges made if everyone would like one? I’m really excited about seeing you all in March and discussing these ideas! I also like the idea of a little free gift for visitors, possibly a little badge, pencil or postcard? If you have any ideas then I would love to know your thoughts. I can look into costs and we can discuss ideas in our next meeting.

Best wishes,
Sophie

treasuresfromtheeast on 21 February 2012

Dear Sofie,
Thank you very much for your emails and my apology for not replying sooner as having problems with internet and I am not good with those it things. I enjoyed the orientation of collection and the newly refurbished rooms are beautiful and feeling of those rich town house at that time. For the next meeting in March, will it be too much problems to have name tag on us? Because it will be helpful to know each other.
With kind regards,
Yoko

Yoko Jones on 21 February 2012

Hi Yoko and many thanks for your comment.

I think that name tags are an excellent idea for the next meeting and I’ll be happy to arrange those for everyone. I’m glad you like the refurbished rooms!

Best wishes,
Sophie

treasuresfromtheeast on 21 February 2012

Hi Sophie ,Yoko, Aysel, Wenwen and everyone.of our Community Ambassador family. It’s good that the blog is getting abuzz with very good and interesting ideas.
The name that includes Wallace is a good start as it makes it easily identifiable. If we still want to keep community ( as I feel the word community is important too as we are there primarily for the Communities) in the name,we could also try out ‘Wallace Community Ambassador’ (WCA) or ‘Wallace Collection Community Ambassador’ (WCCA). Perhaps on second thought keeping amdassador in itself as Sophie had initially thought was really not a bad idea. Why shy away from the name Ambassador?? Any thoughts, anyone? If we live up to the name why not?This in itself can help shape the role and add gravitas to the role or do we want to use ‘champion’ for ambassador. The ideas of nametags and logos and gifts are all very interesting ideas. It would be good as well to hear from others.
Khosi
p/s I also like, by the way the coloured identity patterns on the blog, really cool!

Khosi Manaka on 22 February 2012

p/s If we are using ‘community’ in the name, perhaps plural form is better as in Wallace Communities Ambassador (WCA) or Wallace Collection Communities Ambassador (WCCA). This sounds more all encompassing in plural form rather than in singular form. Please discuss.
Khosi

Khosi Manaka on 22 February 2012

Dear All,

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions, I think we’ll have a lot to discuss in our next meeting! It’s so great that you’ve all added your thoughts!

Aishwarya has emailed me the following;

“I think the first design for the badge is a nice idea, and I thought we could like maybe have a well known or famous painting from the collection or a picture of Hertford House as the background rather than the black. The painting must be just visible as in like a translucent backdrop..explaining through email is tough but i am hoping you understood what i am saying?..if not let me know and will try to explain better.
And for the free gifts for visitors maybe postcards with paintings( or pictures of items from the collection) on one side?
Thanks
Aishwarya”

I have had a play around with the logo incorporating Aishwarya’s ideas and I will email it to everyone for you all to have a look at.

Leah has also been in touch with the following email;

“Hi Sophie,
I really enjoyed the first session of the Wallace Collection Ambassadors (a possible name perhaps?!) Programme. It was really interesting to get a glimpse into the behind the scenes considerations of museums, and I look forward to finding out learning more about this in the next few sessions.
My one point which I think we could have further explored perhaps, although this may be something that is to follow in one of the next few sessions, is really defining what the exhibition will involve. I know that it will be a display of the community participants artworks, but are there any specifics that have already been decided? For example, specific themes, materials etc and will there also be museum objects included in the display along side the new artworks?
I think a short, consise ‘job’ desccription of what our role is would be useful too, so that people can quickly and easily understand, as it is quite complicated! Maybe just a couple of sentances are needed? This could also be put up on the main Wallace Collection website.
Looking forward to the next session,
Leah”

In response to Leah’s email here is a description of what the Community Exhibition will include;
During the practical workshops to make artwork for the intergenerational exhibition participants will be especially inspired the porcelain bowls in Jan Jansz de Heem’s Still life with a Monkey and will explore the links between the Dutch Delftware tradition, Iznik and Chinese porcelain to create two dimensional artwork in different mediums including lino printing, pen and ink drawing, photography and collage making. This artwork will be made into Decal Transfers which will be transferred onto Bisque Vases which participants will decorate with ceramic paints. In response to Asian textile traditions and the Dutch East India Company’s tradition of silk trading, participant’s artwork will also be printed into silk which will be embellished with silk paints and embroidery. Participants will also be inspired by Caspar Netscher’s The Lace Maker to create Tulips made out of lace incorporating Asian embroidery techniques. In making their two dimensional work participants will also respond to the following five themes;

‘Spice’- For centuries, Europeans considered spices the equal of gold. They used the valuable seasonings that came from far away Eastern Lands to relieve the symptoms of rheumatism, gout and colic. They added nutmeg to flavour food and drink, and used cloves to preserve food. Cloves were also said to cure earache and pepper to suppress colds. Nutmeg pomanders were thought to cure plague and a spoonful before bedtime to increase sexual desire. Women kept spices in lockets around their necks to freshen their breath. These Spices came from Asian countries such as India and Sri Lanka. At the beginning of the Seventeenth Century the Dutch East India Company (VOC) was created which grew to be one of the world’s most powerful trading monopolies and excelled in the trading of spices. The VOC eclipsed all of its rivals in the Asia trade. Between 1602 and 1796 the VOC sent almost a million Europeans to work in the Asia trade on 4,785 ships, and netted for their efforts more than 2.5 million tons of Asian trade goods. Consequently the Dutch Republic grew into a very wealthy and prosperous nation. Here is a map of the VOC’s trading routes and the items they transported from one country to another;

‘Treasures’- This themes was inspired by all the exotic and beautiful treasures that the Dutch East India Company brought to the Dutch Republic. We hope that project participants will be able to respond to this theme by thinking about their own personal treasures. It is also inspired by Jan Jansz de Heem’s Still life with a Monkey;

‘Journeys’ – This theme was inspired by the long and adventures journeys that the Dutch East India Journey embarked on to reach the treasures of the East. We hope that the theme will inspire project participants to consider the many journeys that they have made throughout their lives. This theme is also inspired by the many beautiful painting’s we have in the Wallace Collection of Dutch ships sailing in and out of harbour.

‘Identity’ – This theme was inspired by the creation of the Dutch Republic in 1588 and the new national identity it was asserting for itself. (Until the 16th century, the Low Countries – roughly now corresponding to Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg – consisted of a number of duchies, counties and bishoprics, most of which were under the supremacy of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1568 the Netherlands, led by William I of Orange, revolted against the King of Spain because of high taxes and persecution of Protestants by the government. This was the start of the Eighty Years’ War between the Netherlands and Spain. In 1588 the Dutch provinces became a republic. The Union of Utrecht is regarded as the foundation of the Republic of the Seven United Provinces, which was not recognized by the Spanish Empire until the Twelve Years’ Truce in 1609. The provinces of the republic were, in official feudal order: the duchy of Guelders (Gelre in Dutch), the counties of Holland and Zeeland, the former bishopric of Utrecht, the lordship of Overijssel, and the free provinces of Friesland and Groningen). We hope that this theme will encourage project participants to contemplate their identity and the ways in which they define and express themselves.

‘Inside/ Out’- This theme was inspired by the numerous domestic scenes depicted in the Wallace Collection’s Dutch Masterpieces. Many of these domestic scenes depict the ideal image of a women in the seventeenth century Dutch Republic which was a modest women who kept charge of a tidy and organised household. However, within many of these paintings there are often windows and pictures of maps which hint at the idea of going beyond the home into the wider world. These scenes make a lovely juxtaposition to all of the beautiful Dutch land and seascapes we have in the Wallace Collection. We hope that this theme will motivate project participants to explore their own homes and local environments for inspiration to craft creative artwork.

To see the work so far created for the exhibition please see the workshop posts I have uploaded to this blog.

As for a Job description, I have drafted the following information but please feel free to suggest amendments;

Community Ambassadors will work regularly with Wallace Collection staff from February 2012 to February 2013. During these twelve months the Community Ambassadors will learn about the Museum, it’s works of art, how to care for and display historical artefacts, different forms of display and exhibition interpretation, museum education, public programming and museum and exhibition marketing. In learning about these museological practices the Community Ambassadors will become well-trained to work closely with the 60 adults, children and elderly people from Newham Family Learning Services, West Hampstead Women’s Group and Annia Women’s group to advise and assist the project participants in creating display, interpretation and marketing strategies for an intergenerational community exhibition. The Community Ambassadors will also be able to guide project participants on how to plan and deliver accompanying school, family and adult activities. Additionally, the Community Ambassadors will be trained to work closely with different staff departments in the Wallace Collection to inspire the Museum to explore new and different forms of exhibition interpretation, educational activities and marketing strategies to innovate the museum, making it more appealing to new and broader audiences.

Some examples of tasks (with training):
• Community engagement – To work closely with 60 adults, children and elderly people to create a community exhibition; providing advice and assistance to the participants in creating their own interpretation / displays of their artwork , which will be seen by all museum visitors (approx 7000 visitors a week).

• Inspiration – To explore, plan & deliver new and different forms of exhibition interpretation, educational activities, art workshops and marketing strategies to innovate the museum, making it more appealing to new and broader audiences.

• Accessibility – To assist museum staff in creating a new range of written guides and family activity trails in a range of languages and ability levels to help the public to understand and enjoy the Museum’s works of art.

• Leadership – To work with the Wallace Collection to recruit and train other members of local communities so that they too can become ambassadors and instruct the museum on how to connect with different groups

What you may gain from taking part;

• Volunteer Training – A unique opportunity to learn about the Wallace Collection , it’s works of art, how to care for and display historical artefacts, different forms of display and exhibition interpretation, museum education, public programming and museum and exhibition marketing.
• The opportunity to gain new skills through the training and volunteering experience, for example: planning, communication, creative, problem solving and team work skills.
• The opportunity to collaborate with other likeminded volunteers who share similar passions
• Knowledge that you are making a difference to your local community
• Valuable work experience of working within a National cultural institution.

treasuresfromtheeast on 23 February 2012

It’s beautiful logo, thank u Wenwen for ur effort and thank also Sophie for sharing with us.
Abut the logo; how do visitors understand what does “AWC” means on the logo?
I think we can create our unique Logo! They could be WC photos on the logo but something from us too such as one of the picture which we are going to display or one of we can create!

Kind regards

Aysel

Aysel Bulut on 24 February 2012

Hi,
I also agree that the first session was well organised and worthwhile. I especially enjoyed learning more about the collection and the symbolism within the Dutch paintings. It would be great to further this in our next session.

I’m not sure how suited this would be to the intergenerational project, but I thought of or, more accurately, came across an activity that may fit in with the opening of the Dutch galleries.

For a while I have been following the Rembrandt Research Project via books and other resources. The project has become the authority on whether a work of Rembrandt is genuine and has helped to organise and categorise his painting. Last year they released a film titled ‘Out of the Shadows’, which documents their recent techniques and discoveries:

http://www.hiddenmasterpieces.com/locations/rembrandt-research-project/#

I thought maybe, seeing as the Wallace Collection houses various categorisations of Rembrandts painting, i.e. Rembrandt, Studio of Rembrandt, Imitator of Rembrandt…etc., that it may be an interesting activity to show the film within the gallery.

Anyhow, just putting forward an idea and of course I am also recommending this as I haven’t yet seen it myself.
See you all in our next session,
Trevor

Trevor Caffoor on 27 February 2012

Hi All,

Firstly, thanks Sophie for the description of the Community Exhibition and the job description. I did wonder where I might fit in all this, so now this gives a better picture.

Thanks a lot Trevor for posting the link about The Rembrandt Research Project. Its really interesting .

Thanks
Aishwarya

Aishwarya Gopinath on 28 February 2012

Trevor thanks for the Rembrandt additional knowledge about intrigue in the arts/painting sphere. I just listened to the video on the painting’s investigative research you posted; trying to arrive at what is real and why and what is not, quite fascinating, actually. It makes curation and interpretation that more engaging to pursue as well as the importance of discernment while looking at all works of art.
Thanks.

Everyone, what about the name for the project, that we started brainstorming the other day, last friday?

May someone please post the names that were toyed with at the Wallace Collection Auditorium on friday? I know there were some good ideas there but I have forgotten them as I am so forgetful of late, Ha! This will allow us to judge , add or subtract or even come up with other ideas for the project name. I really enjoyed last friday I thought it was superb, though intense, which was also a good thing, to cover all of that within a short space of time. Thumps up! Meeting the communities(the project participants) together brought the whole idea almost together in context in terms of understanding, albeit slightly the role of the ambassardors,as the role is still evolving slowly but surely, any thoughts?

Khosi

Khosi on 3 April 2012

Dear Sophie,
I have enjoyed the second session. I have come up with the idea of giving visitors a key ring, with a painting of the museum or a book marker as a gift.
I look forward to hearing from you
Best regards

Sanober on 17 April 2012