Raising Aspirations: Exploring Ancient Egyptian Art

img_5110I was recently contacted by a teacher from Tameside College’s  Aspirations Department (I love that there is such a department exists!) who teaches  a group of young people with learning disabilities (aged 16-20) on an Entry level 2 study programme.  They have been studying a BTEC unit titled Exploring Art,  where they had to plan and produce a piece of art within 15 weeks.

“In order to get some ideas and inspiration we visited Manchester Museum and as a result of that the learners chose Ancient Egypt as their theme. After viewing what the Museum had on display the students came up with some marvellous ideas.  Each learner made a mood board displaying their idea and the tools and equipment they planned on using to create their piece of art work and finally creating their own piece: the results were fantastic.”

Their teacher was really pleased to be able to share these images of the process and final outcomes for the BTEC unit and some comments from the learners who took part.

This is a wonderful example of the achievements that can come from an inspirational Museum visit. The learners should be very proud of their work and we’d be happy to have them revisit the Museum at any time!

Learner Comments from Aspirations, Tameside College

“We chose to make Egyptian masks that showed the make up the ladies wore in Ancient Egypt.  We were inspired by visiting the museum and by taking photographs of the hieroglyphics and we copied the colours and designs.”

“The museum had lots of interesting artefacts which gave me the idea of making a special display.  I made a pyramid, tomb design, and an oasis mirage.   I also wrote my name in hieroglyphics.  My visit to the museum inspired me to design my mood board and create my display.  I love Art and History.”

“When we first arrived at the Manchester Museum, it looked so beautiful that I feel like we should go there again. I enjoyed looking at the dinosaurs, but my favourite was the largest one (The Tyrannosaurus-rex). The other animals looked nice as well. Another thing that inspired me is that the museum tells you exactly what happened all those years ago. I also finished my mood board by finding the correct category for me. The pictures were fantastic and I loved looking at them. The museum had a big giant snake which I was standing behind when I had a picture took. I liked all the Egyptian models as well. I would love to see them all again. It looked absolutely perfect for a full day trip. And that is how Manchester Museum inspired me to work on and complete my artwork.”

“I found the visit to the museum fascinating and interesting because I learnt a lot about Ancient Egypt and Tutankhamun tomb. I was surprised to find out he was only 19 years old when he died in 1324, two years older than me. When I saw the pottery artefacts that  were found and displayed in the museum it inspired me to make my own display”

“When I visited the museum I had a really good time. I enjoyed looking at all the artefacts and I was inspired to design Egyptian clothes. The ancient Egypt exhibition was fun and enjoyable. I would really like to do it again.”

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Conceptio: Tameside College Photography Exhibition

Each year we are lucky enough to work with a fantastic set of photography students from Tameside College. We set them a brief – to use the Museum collection as inspiration for an image to be produced in the darkroom – and every year the cohort deliver us some brilliantly thought-provoking photography that we display in the Museum.

The work from this year has just gone on display on our First Floor Bridge and is looking particularly professional. It will remain on display until the 20th April, so if you can I would recommend popping by to take a look: there’s nothing like viewing the images up close to see the details.

However, if you can’t make it here are some pictures (click to enlarge); Enjoy!

Creative Exposures: Tameside College Photography Exhibition

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.