Out & About – Ripon Museums Outreach Programme
We have a unique trio of museums – a Victorian workhouse, Georgian courthouse and Regency prison – telling stories of social justice that have huge relevance today. Our Outreach programme is designed to bring our museums to people who find it hard to access them, through lack of funds or rural and social isolation through age/learning difficulties. We use stories, costumes, collection objects and innovative techniques to engage participants. Our programme has two strands: Schools Outreach targeting schools in socially and economically deprived areas, with high levels of EAL (English as an Alternative Language) and our Community Outreach focusing on rural and social isolation.
Our inclusion as an Arts Council England NPO for 2018-2022 has enabled funding of a schools outreach programme targeting primaries in areas of social/economic deprivation. We included in this programme a new approach: “Art and SOLE” based on research at Newcastle University on Self Organised Learning Environments. We combined this innovative approach with our social justice themes and experienced considerable success. This new approach promotes creative thinking and oracy: using our stories, costumes and objects to provoke a question which students address through discussion and creative invention. Our feedback from schools has been fantastic. We researched the effectiveness of both our sessions and found that art and SOLE is over 20% more effective at active reflection and discussion criteria, encouraginging students to connect and share ideas. We have concentrated on schools in Bradford, Stockton and Leeds over the past 18 months. We are focusing on Middlesbrough in 2020.