The Creative Learning Team at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum have been working this year with the local community to produce a unique banner for the museum’s 150th anniversary. The banner is part of an ambitious learning and engagement programme called ‘The People’s Story’ where visitors and participants have told stories of their own journeys, memories and experiences as they explored the museum.
The team have now created a special woven warp using a rigid-heddle loom and worked with over 8000 participants from schools, families and community groups to co-produce ‘The People’s Story Birthday Banner’ creating a woven weft. Warp and weft are terms for the two basic components used in weaving to turn yarn into fabric. The warp yarns are held stationary in tension on a frame or loom while the lengthwise weft is drawn through and inserted over-and-under the warp.
Throughout the People’s Story participants also responded to the museums vast collection of artworks, artefacts and objects through a variety of creative writing, engaging discussions and arts and craft techniques. Staff learned that the museum’s identity and social purpose is intrinsically linked to that of its visitors and that active, participatory and co-produced learning and engagement is invaluable and has real positive impact for participants.
The groups involved included Alzheimer’s Scotland, Deaflinks, Menolej, Homestart, McManus Youth Action, The Thursday Troupe, Menzieshill Arts & Crafts Group, Tayberry, The Oaklands Centre, Loadsaweeminsingin’ museum staff and many NHS Care Home residents from across the city. Participants ranged from babies aged 3 months to the most senior participant at 104 years of age.
Cheryl McDermid, Creative Learning Officer said
“It was amazing to watch people come to life as they learned new skills, re-established old ones and shared their stories of the museum, growing up in Dundee, working in the mills and going to the dancing. Even our People’s Story choir in Residence ‘Loadsaweeminsingin’ added to the banner every Monday evening when they were in singing.”
The People’s Story Birthday Banner is currently on display in the museum’s Creative Learning Space.