Working with Adult Groups

In Translation V&A Philosophy Cafe

Our projects help people to enjoy the gallery and our collections, to explore their own creativity and to express their feelings and opinions about art.

We work with partner organisations to involve adults in the gallery's learning programme. This work gives people the opportunity to explore our collections, make links with their own lives and work with practising artists. This can lead to participants being involved with gallery displays and events.

“I feel I am a valuable person in the community again...The project has made me challenge my belief in myself...”
Participant in Under my skin project

For a full list of projects, see below.

Find out more

If you belong to a community group in Manchester and you’d like to find out more about community projects at Manchester Art Gallery, contact Ruth Edson or Helena Lee on:

Tel: 0161 235 8877
Email: h.lee1@manchester.gov.uk,
            r.edson@manchester.gov.uk 

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Example projects

In Translation: Women, Migration and Britishness

In Translation

Over four months, three groups of women from migrant communities collaborated with Arts collective Ultimate Holding Company to explore their responses to the EMB posters and their depictions of Empire and Britishness. The posters on display were all chosen by the representatives of the Sunshine Group, Europia and the Cumbrian Multicultural Women's Network (CMWN). Through a participatory process, the women studied the posters, identified the artforms they wished to work with and then used these newly refined skills to create their own artistic responses to the EMB collection.

Projects like this one are very important as a way of communicating between people, communities and also as a chance to present our own voice. 
In Translation participant.

In Translation: Women Migration and Britishness was on display until May 2013.

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We came, we saw, we ventured

2009

We worked in partnership with Venture Arts to create a new display of artworks made by adults with learning disabilities in response to pieces on permanent display at Manchester Art Gallery.

 Venture Arts

The artworks were created during a workshop programme led by professional artists and community development staff that included bespoke Gallery tours and development of the artworks at the Venture Arts studios. The artworks were displayed next to the pieces in the gallery's collection that inspired them and gallery visitors were encouraged to create their own responses by drawing or writing a postcard to add to the display.

"This project has offered Venture Arts staff and participants a rare opportunity to experience and work with art objects first hand rather through photos back at our studios. The Gallery sessions made the work much more accessible for the participants and some of the participants who had not been to the Gallery before keep asking when we are going back." 
Venture Arts lead artist

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Revealing Histories: Remembering Slavery

2007

Bonboniere25 March 2007 marked the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Act. Eight museums and galleries in Greater Manchester have been commemorating this anniversary by exploring the legacy and impact of this history on the region. For more information visit the Revealing Histories website.

Throughout 2007, Community programmes ran a series of projects which reveal some of Manchester's hidden histories and share local people's understanding about objects in our museums and galleries.

Visit these projects on display:

Attitude: Remembering Slavery

Image&Identity: Remembering Slavery

Hears Our Voices

Project partners: Arts About Manchester, Bolton Museum and Archive Service, Gallery Oldham, Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester, People's History Museum, The Manchester Museum, The Whitworth Art Gallery, Touchstones Rochdale

Funding:  DCF, Renaissance North West, HLF

Image © Manchester City Galleries
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TeaLC

A ceramic teapot revealing stories about the role of carers.

2006

Teapot made during the TeaLC community projectThis teapot was designed and made by local carers, taking a creative break from their home lives. The carers decided to create this piece using the gallery's teapots as inspiration.  The idea of the teapot as a symbolic object is linked with the gesture of offering a cup of tea to someone in need of comfort and support.

Each section of the teapot tells one person's story shaped by their experience of being a carer, whilst the overall shape and colours reflect feelings of stability, generosity and fun.

The tea pot was on display in the Gallery of Craft and Design, between 2006 and 2008.

Image © Graeme Vaughan

Project partners: Carer's Strategy Team, Manchester City Council, Talbot House Support Service.

Funding:  Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, Co-operative Insurance Society
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Under my skin

Textile artworks are created by participants with learning disabilities.

2004

Participant in the Under My Skin community projectParticipants with learning disabilities worked with textile artists to create clothes and accessories to express their personal identities and celebrate creativity. From this, an exhibition ran from October 2004 to January 2005.

The project promoted a positive image of people with learning difficulties and helped to break down negative stereotypes.

 Project partners: Start and Benchmark Furniture Design & Build (Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust) and Platt Lane Art Group (Manchester Learning Disability Partnership

Funding: Neighbourhood Renewal Fund
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Well woman project

Refugee women in Manchester explore well-being through art and culture.

2003

Two women enjoying a gallery workshopFrom November 2002 to March 2003 Manchester Museum and Manchester Art Gallery ran a project for women from refugee and isolated communities in the Manchester area.

The aim of the project was to explore health and well-being using food and nutrition, art and culture as well as movement and dance. The project culminated in a final celebration and a film showing of the project.

Project partners: Manchester Museum, University of Manchester, South Trafford College

Funding: Neighbourhood Renewal Fund

Philosophy Cafe

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The Bower Meadow.

The Philosophy Café at Manchester Art Gallery is an informal discussion group meeting on the second Tuesday of each month between 10.30-12pm and on the fourth Thursday of each month between 6-8pm.

English Corner

English Corner

Free English conversation classes at Manchester Art Gallery. Every second Wednesday of the month 1-2.30pm and at Thursday Lates on the third Thursday of each month 6.30-8pm. There's also an English Corner on the first Tuesday of each month at Manchester Museum between 1-2.30pm. No need to book, just turn up. 

Making Conversation

Visitor in the Gallery of Craft and Design
Monthly practical sessions for adults, using all your senses to explore Manchester Art Gallery's exhibitions and displays. Every third Thursday of the month at 1 - 4pm. The sessions are audio described and all materials and refreshments are provided. The sessions are free but you will need to book a place on 0161 235 8888.