Midlands Art Papers

Midlands Art Papers


We’re here at the Herbert Art Gallery and
Museum, in Coventry for the launch of Midland Art Papers 3 which is a special issue on inclusion,
disability and access in the arts. Midland Art Papers is an online journal that publishes
collections-based research around the collections of our collaboration of 13 public and museum
galleries right across the Midlands and we work to champion and develop and protect our
region’s cultural and artistic heritage. Today, for our event, we’ve got the contributors
to Midland Art Papers 3, so the academics and museum and gallery professionals who work
to do this amazing research into our public collections and this theme of inclusion, disability
and access. We also have a few amazing speakers – artists who are working within the Midlands
on projects today that look at inclusion, that look at disability, that look at access,
and explore these and try to introduce these complex topics to their audiences. We’re constantly looking at new ways to broaden
our audience and to make our gallery and everything that we do much, have much broader appeal. You know these days we talk a lot about kind
of dominant narratives and who’s getting to create those narratives and that’s why diversity
is important and it really is important you know. We need to hear these other voices.
And then at the same time we need to not kind of go so far out the other side that we’re
kind of trapped in a really granular world of identity obsession where you know nothing
is relevant unless you have lived experience. Recently I did a joint article with Sophie
Hatchwell where we took three works of art from our collection at the Herbert and we
engaged in a conversation as to how she might interpret and how I might interpret for my
young audience. It definitely gave me a different perspective,
yeah, because Sophie because of her expertise and her kind of academic way of looking at
paintings and objects gave me new information and new ideas that I could feed into my sessions
for young people. There was a piece written about an artwork
in our collection by Alfred Wallis, it gave us an opportunity to have sort of research
into that which we don’t just don’t have time to do at the art gallery actually I think
that’s the beauty of it by bringing in academics from the University of Birmingham, it’s a
chance to really dig deep and sort of find out a lot more about our collection. It’s given an opportunity for people from
different organisations, museums, academics, to group together to meet together to discuss
ideas and from that point of view it’s been a really worthwhile experience. For those people who read this issue of MAP
who are not in the Midlands, I hope they’ll be amazed by the fantastic collections of
art that we have in the region but also really inspired by the great inclusion and access
initiatives our public museums and galleries are doing across the region. For those people who are in the Midlands I
hope that they see themselves represented and recognised by their public museums and
galleries, but also that they’re inspired to come and engage and experience these wonderful
collections that we have.

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