Community engagement evaluation, Museums Sheffield

Community engagement evaluation, Museums Sheffield

 

I worked with Museums Sheffield on several evaluation commissions to help staff develop their work to involve and represent the city's diverse communities.

 

The Living Metal project was designed to question the commonly held myth that Sheffield's metal industry is no more. Curators at the Millennium Gallery worked with local artists and businesses to research the gallery's contemporary metalwork collection, adding to existing knowledge and broadening the range of contemporary artwork displayed in the gallery.  At the same time, community engagement staff worked with young people at Freeman College and from a local youth group to engage them with the collection and get them involved in making their own works in silver.  The outcome was a revitalised metalwork exhibition that more accurately reflects the contemporary metalworking industry in Sheffield and includes the young people's artwork. I worked alongside project staff to research the learning outcomes for staff and participants, the impact on the collection, and the impact of the new gallery displays on visitors' perceptions of the city. 

 

'Coal, Frankincense and Myrrh' was a collaborative exhibition at Weston Park Museum featuring the work of photographer Tim Smith. Tim had taken photographs of Yemeni steelworkers as part of a photographic assignment in the 1980s, and approached the museum in 2007 with the idea of a new exhibition that would reflect on the community's involvement in the city. Museum staff consulted with community members, who welcomed the idea and worked closely with the museum to make it a reality.  Tim took photographs within the community and in Yemen itself.  The resulting photographs came together with oral histories and objects loaned by members of the community to create an evocative and visually stunning exhibition that celebrated the contribution of Yemeni people to Sheffield life and industry. I was commissioned to evaluate the project, looking at processes and outcomes and producing a report that reflected on the impact of the exhibition for the museum and the community. I investigated the way in which the museum, photographer and community members had worked together and made recommendations for how Museums Sheffield could embed this work into forward planning.