Archive for the ‘collaboration’ Category
We’ve been really lucky this year to be able to work with Tameside College‘s Photography students again this year, creating an exhibition that is inspired by the Museum’s collection.
On the 1st March the students were invited into the Museum, given tours of the galleries and collection stores and encouraged to document their visit with photographs. This then formed the basis of their brief:
“Students will be working with Manchester Museum to produce work for an exhibition, in response to the Museum’s collection. They will be utilizing the techniques in the darkroom and the studio to produce a body of work shot on film on either Large or Medium Format cameras, in the studio and printed in the darkroom”
They had until the 27th March to create three final images each, with at least one of each going into the exhibition.
On the 19th March I was asked to go into the College and ‘critique’ the work done so far; to identify the final images for the exhibition and encouraging the students to write labels to accompany their pieces. I was amazed by the thought and detail that had gone into every example of the work done by each student. They had taken elements from the collection and considered them from multiple angles, linking very complex concepts with inspiring ideas and creative input.
Some of the aspects the students were using in their work included using the Zoology specimens to examine the protective layer that animals have – including humans – and metaphorically demonstrating this through masks. There were numerous reflections on the Egyptology collection, scrutinising the means of communication – hieroglyphic script – and translating that into imagery associated with the way we communicate today – via clothing or graffiti, in addition to the mummification process and the preservation of memory and stories.
Some students were intrigued by the idea of what occurs behind the scenes at the Museum – the specimens we keep hidden in stores, and the means by which we classify the collection. This led to responses associated with the food chain, – linking in with the recent horse-meat scandal – dominance in the natural world and the issue of domestic violence (represented by bruised fruit), change over time – as evidenced by Darwin – and how we label not just things, but people.
The exhibition opened on Friday 29th March and has been in place for two weeks, with the closing date on Sunday 14th April. It looks fantastic in our Alhambra space between the Egyptian World gallery and Living Worlds, and there have even been interactive elements for our visitors to become part of the legacy of the project.
All in all, it’s been a fantastic exhibition and the students have done brilliantly as part of the project; they should all be very proud.
We were very excited to work with our colleagues from Widening Participating, and one of our Partnership institutions, Whitworth Art Gallery, on creating two, one day workshops for Secondary students concentrating on Manchester’s History.
This followed on from our successful model last year, as part of the Manchester Histories Festival, where various schools brought students to participate in workshops at the Whitworth and the Museum. They were also treated to an introductory lecture on Manchester’s history – this year – by Professor John Pickstone.
As part of the Museum’s workshop, called Collecting the World, students were asked to investigate the collection and determine how, and why, it ended up in Manchester. They identified objects of interest on the Manchester Gallery and their links to the city. Then they were allocated objects from the collection not on display and asked to research them using online resources to find their link to Manchester. They were encouraged to consider sources of their information and the relevance any connected individuals had to their home city.
All in all it was really wonderful to be able to focus on Manchester’s history and how the Museum’s collection links to the city and illustrious indviduals – such as William Boyd Dawkins, Jesse Haworth, Joseph Whitworth and Lydia Becker – not to mention highlight historical Manchester events such as the Exhibition of Art Treasures, the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal and the Peterloo Massacre.
Questioned at the end of the session on which object they felt best represented Manchester’s History, the majority of students chose the Ship Canal Medal due to it’s links with trade and economy that helped make Manchester the hub of industry in the North and contributed to it becoming known as ‘Cottonopolis’!
Many thanks to all those invovled on the day: Stockport School, Parrs Wood HS, Manchester Health Academy, Manchester Enterprise Academy, Alder Community School, Cardinal Langley RC HS, Loreto High School.
We’ll be repeating these fantastic local history focused days next year during the Manchester Histories Festival celebrations.
Here at the Manchester Museum we’ve had a couple of busy half term weeks, there’s been lots of very exciting activities going on. This has given the team in the Education Department a chance to plan and prepare for future projects however.
Coming up in March we have a big focus on Primary Science with an Interactive Science day with undergraduate students from the Faculty of Life Sciences here at the University. The students will be delivering a range of interactive Science sessions to spark the imaginations of future scientists.
We also have a Sustainability day in March where primary school children will be looking at the way we live in the modern world and working out the carbon footprint created from the food we eat.
Look out for what the school groups get up to in future blog posts!
Recently Boothstown Methodist Primary school came to the Museum on a visit and brought with them a very valuable find!
They presented to us a T.rex egg, over 65 million years old, that was originally from the USA. According to the pupils the egg had mysteriously dropped from the sky and landed in their classroom.
However, using their skills of deduction they were able to reason that the egg had most likely fallen from an overhead plane on its way to Manchester so that it could be safely deposited in our collection.
Therefore, they kept it safe and returned it to us in perfect condition. Our thanks goes out to the school for rescuing this very important find and delivering it to our door!
Just been to the Staff Forum where members of the Education Team talked about the brilliant work they do with schools and other groups. Some 29,000 schoolchildren visit the Museum every year and 80% of the classes have a taught session. The evaluation feedback is invariably 'good' and 'excellent' and the vast majority say they would visit the Museum again.
Our team of PhD students that work as postgraduate demonstrators delivering workshops are an important part of the Secondary and Post-16 Science programme at Manchester Museum. Their enthusaism and science communication skills really bring the sessions to life, as well as giving the students access to young scientists that can act as positive role models for the students visiting the museum. Rebecca Brading, a PhD students in Faculty of Life Sciences at University of Manchester joined our team in September 2011 and has written a blog post about her experience below:
When I first began my PhD, Alexa Jeanes from the Manchester Museum gave a talk about working as a demonstrator. At the time, I knew that I enjoyed working with secondary and post-16 students through my work as a STEM ambassador, and I was beginning to realise how much I liked talking about science. Working as a LifeLab demonstrator sounded perfect for me, and I was lucky enough to be invited to a group interview. However, this included giving a talk to the rest of the group about my PhD- something that I found very nerve-wracking at the time.
During the interview, a current demonstrator called Liz Granger gave a talk about working in the LifeLab, and she told how working there had completely changed how she felt about public speaking. Having worked as a demonstrator for a year now, I have to say that I completely agree- now my biggest problem with public speaking is remembering to stop talking at some point!
It is not just my confidence that has massively improved, it is also my ability to organise and plan sessions, think and adapt on my feet, and help students to learn without just giving them the answer. I have realised just how much I enjoy working with this age group- my experience has been of witty, creative and massively enthusiastic young people.
Something that I wasn’t expecting is how inspiring it can be running a LifeLab session. Seeing how eager and determined the students are, coupled with how interested they can be in my PhD research, really rejuvenates my enthusiasm for my own project (which is helpful when things don’t go so well).
Working at the Manchester Museum has opened a new world of opportunities for me within life sciences, and I now also work as a Widening Participation Fellow for the University of Manchester, as well as being involved in other study days and open days at the Manchester Museum. It can be difficult trying to juggle all these different roles with doing my PhD, but the rewards more than make up for the challenges. It has been a fantastic experience so far, and I am always looking forward to delivering my next workshop at Manchester Museum.
You can find out more about Becky’s PhD research at her blog: http://ddar.manchester.ac.uk/blog/
Giving students access to the fascinating cutting edge research that happens at the University of Manchester is a key priority for the Secondary and Post-16 science programme at Manchester Museum. So when i was approcached by Elizabeth Pawson, a postdoctoral researcher in a research instutite called CADET (Centre for Advanced Discovery and Experimental Therapeutics) to help them develop an A-Level Study day about their research on diabetes i jumped at the chance. Below is a blog post written by Lizz about their experience and the study day which took place on 18th October:
14 members of CADET (ranging from PhD students to professors) took part in the first Discovering Diabetes Study Day on October 18th. The study day, which was developed and designed by researchers at CADET, in collaboration with Alexa at Manchester Museum, to specifically complement the A ‘Level syllabus and was attended by AS and A2 Level students from Cardinal Newman College in Preston and Salford City College. The study day enabled students to find out about diabetes, diabetic complications and how diabetes research is carried out whilst working closely with the range of scientists and clinicians who work at CADET.
After an opening talk which introduced the students to diabetes and to the role of CADET within the University, the students then participated in a “Dragons’ Den” style activity. In this the students worked in small groups and learned about different secondary complications of diabetes, how they are investigated at CADET and how scientific research is funded. They then had to pitch for future funding for research into the different complications, with the chance of winning £1 million. As shown by the evaluation at the end of the study day, the students very much enjoyed this activity and as such were very vocal during the pitching process! They were also very interested in learning about how academic research is conducted and felt that this session provided them with new insights into scientific research careers.
In a second activity the students were taught about the different technologies that CADET scientists use regularly as part of their research. The students had a work book of data and analysed results from a series of experiments with the aim of identifying biomarkers of importance in diabetes. They then had to decide which molecules could be potential future therapeutic agents and justify future research into their role in the disease.
Evaluations carried out at the end of the day showed that the over 90% of the students felt the day directly contributed to what they were learning in college and felt that had a better understanding of diabetes research. In addition they were keen to study science at degree level and found the interactions with the scientists a useful and invaluable experience. Moreover the staff who attended with the students recommended that the day is repeated again next year. The researchers at CADET thoroughly enjoyed themselves too, and are currently working on extending the study day so that more students can attend. Then next day is scheduled for March 2013 and will hopefully become a regular, biannual event.
Some comments from students who attended the day:
“ ..Really enjoyed the Dragons’ Den session as it was a good insight into the real scientific world”
“..New found knowledge was very interesting and relevant to my future interests and courses…”
“The workbooks will be very useful in future study”
“I not only learnt about the effects of diabetes but also about how funding is gained for research”
“I learnt a lot and would really like to do more events like this”
“Everyone is nice and helpful”
“It was fun, hopefully coming back soon”
“I really enjoyed working with scientists and asking them questions, that was the most important and interesting part”
Our engage with the experts A-Level Study days are always very popular and this one was no different. It was fully booked within a couple of days of the date being advertised on the website! We are delighted to annouce that we will be running it again on 21st March 2012, so if you would like to give your students the opportunity to take part and work with the scientists, please do get in touch.
During the Summer Term Alexa and I were very pleased to offer some of our new workshops – one debating Humans and the Natural World and another on Alan Turing – to the Manchester Access Programme students.
For those not familiar with the Manchester Access Programme the aim of the scheme is to support entry to The University of Manchester, or another research intensive university, through the completion of a portfolio of work demonstrating specific knowledge and skills. During the workshop at the Museum students were developing their research skills and the ability to work with research materials such as objects.
We got some great feedback so here are just some of the things the students said after their visit:
“After having a look around museum today, I had questioned myself numerous times about the actual value of the natural world and humans. I.e. does selling land makes it automatically the posession of the person you sold it to? And if so… is everything for sale? Does putting a American flag on the moon by the americans makes it theirs? Although, it’s so unreachable and everyone takes advantage of it? Today, I have learnt that this issue is debatable, depending on peoples’ own personal beliefs. Just like chinese believing that making thousand of paper doves will bring good luck.”
“Today’s workshop had made me think about Human and Natural life in more depth and changed my mind about recycling as I had saw an impact it can cause when people don’t care about today’s environment”
“There was alot of information in the museum. Information on Alan turning centenary was good to read and expand knowledgeIt was also nice and attention grabbing of the stufffed animals like, the male indian swamp. information on trade, journeys was very interesting, telling us about manchester ship canal, silk industry, migration and chinese. This was something different therefore unfammiliar which made me more interested in reading this. Information on the actual museum like how long it’s been here for and victoria musuem was great to read, as it told us more about the actual museum.”
“I saw different parts of the museum including an area on the 2nd floor that was about the diversity of Manchester, including how people settled into the area and brought their own traditions with them. This was perhaps what i enjoyed learning about the most, because i have takien religious studies as an AS level, so learning about different cultures and religions was exciting and most enjoyable to learn about”
The students were so great to with – engaged, determined and smart – so we plan to offer some more MAP workshops for students in the Autumn term.
This week we have been very fortunate to have the help of aspiring Religious Studies teacher, Sophie Hall, who has been working with me on the Secondary Humanities programme. Here’s what she had to say about her experience:
“So I have just spent 3 days at the Manchester Museum with the Learning Team and it was fabulous! I have just finished my degree at the University of Manchester and will be on my way to Liverpool in September to start my PGCE. I came to the Museum to experience education outside of a UK school setting and don’t think I could have gotten a better experience. The Learning Team are extremely organised and very lovely; my time with them has been really great.
While at the Museum I got the chance to wander round the galleries and made links between objects and Religion and there were loads! I really wasn’t expecting to be able to compare and contrast as much as I could but found it extremely enriching. It was possible to make links in every gallery to religion, even in the Money Gallery. I had the chance to make up some possible session plans, connecting to the galleries. As a future teacher the only teaching experience I have had has been in a classroom so to imagine teaching on a gallery was completely alien but turned out to be a really good task for me.
Coming to the Museum I expected to leave with the necessary information to understand education outside a school setting but I’m leaving today with much more. The sessions plans I have seen give opportunities to every student and I’m sure would be incredibly popular with those pupils who struggle to learn in the classrooms. They have links to the curriculums, challenge students in ways that is often lacking in schools and allow students to explore the world they live in, both past and present. I have really enjoyed my time here and will definitely be bringing my future students for a visit!! Thank you Learning Team!!”
Sophie was great at highlighting links with objects on gallery that I would never have thought of, and her specialist knowledge on Religion has created some really exciting potential resources and session ideas for the programme. It’s been great to host Sophie’s placement and we wish her all the best in her PCGE at Liverpool.
On 10th, 12th and 13th July, the Manchester Museum hosted our annual ‘Matrix in the Museum’ events which are run in partnership with the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Matrix Research in the Faculty of Life Sciences. This year we had three schools visiting over the week; Stretford High School, Manchester Academy and All Hallows RC High School, all bringing year 8 classes to take part in the days’ activities.
The students were split into 5 teams for the day; Team Mucus, Team DNA, Team Cell, Team Cartilage and Team Matrix, all with a research scientist as their team leader. The day started by having a tour of the research laboratories in the Michael Smith building. The students get to see real scientists at work and find out about the work that they do. It was then over to the Manchester Museum to complete their team challenges!
Each team had a different challenge to do about their respective area of research i.e. team name, from making a model, to writing a song/poem or rap to preparing a presentation to show the rest of the class. The students worked brilliantly to complete these challenges, coming up with some fantastic ideas and creative ways to showcase what they have learnt. After lunch, during their final preparations, two ‘judges’ or Professor and research group leaders came round to talk to the students about what they had been doing over the course of the day.
It was then time to show off the work they had been doing. Each team presented their topic to the judges and the rest of the group and demonstrated their model and song/rap/poem. The judges then had to pick a winner – itwas often a very tough decision with all groups performing really well and showing how much they have leant from the day. A special mention has to go to Team DNA or Team Pro as they were known from Manchester Academy whose constant energy and enthusiasm throughout the whole day was just fantastic! It was a brilliant few days and I hope the students enjoyed as much as we did!
Thank you to all students, researchers and PI’s that took part which made it such a successful event.