Behind the Scenes: MK Gallery Learning Team research visit to Wiltshire

15 September 2015: We join Learning Team staff from the South East region to hear about ways of engaging audiences with art, landscape and outdoor spaces..

Research visit to NewArtCentre, Wiltshire. Our Learning Team join other engage members from the South East region to consider art and audiences in relation to landscape and outdoor spaces.

Although everyone can imagine (and in due course will be able to see) all the construction work that will be needed to deliver MK Gallery expansion, most people will have little or no idea about the vast amount of time, care and attention being spent by our staff and partners on developing and delivering the very best exhibitions, events and learning experiences for our visitors.  So from time to time we’ll share such “Behind the Scenes” activity with you via this blog.

Yesterday, for example, our  Learning Team travelled to the NewArtCentre near Salisbury in Wiltshire for a meeting hosted by engage South East Area Group. The meeting had been arranged to provide an opportunity to explore and discuss art and engagement in the landscape and outdoor spaces.  The advocacy and support organisation engage specialises in gallery education, and being active members of engage helps our staff keep abreast of the very best practice and latest thinking about learning and participation, and how it might apply to us here in Milton Keynes.

Victoria Mayes, Head of Learning explains:  “We were keen to extend our knowledge of outdoor learning in relation to MK Gallery’s future community engagement programme.  Being sited in such close proximity to the wonderful Campbell Park in central Milton Keynes, we’re very keen to consider the relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces for our visitors.  Emma Kerr, Education Officer at The Roche Court Educational Trust, provided us with a really useful overview of how she and her team involve their audiences in the art, landscape and spaces of Roche Court.“

Bethany Mitchell, MK Gallery’s Childhood Learning Co-ordinator, who specialises in the needs of children ages 5-11, added:  “I found it particularly useful to hear about the outdoor learning approach that they have embraced at Roche Court.  Although MK Gallery is a “city gallery”, we are incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by a wealth of green spaces.  Our visit to NewArtCentre was timely, feeding into the plans we are developing in the coming months for establishing an outdoor learning programme that can be offered to both schools and familiesAs we are poised to leave our current main gallery building, it is an exciting moment to look around and explore the wider Milton Keynes landscape for the opportunities it can provide as alternative creative spaces.  It is clear to me that the possibilities of outdoor learning are vast, with exciting potential for us and our childhood audiences.”

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