Ashleigh Hibbins, Learning & Participation Consultant, shares some useful resources and good reads.

March 9, 2021
Photo of the author - Ashleigh Hibbins

Ashleigh Hibbins

Access and inclusion

This new report from the Baring Foundation explores how access to creative opportunities for people facing mental health challenges from ethnically diverse backgrounds can be improved, with expert reflections and good practice examples.

Creative Bridges have launched a completely free, self-paced e-learning course for museums looking to improve their accessibility on a shoestring budget. This course is also relevant to other venue-based artforms and organisations.

Young People

This report summary from UK Youth is a worrying but important assessment of how badly services for young people have been affected by Covid, and no doubt will serve as a call to action for anyone working with youth audiences.

Another important piece from Tortoise Media explores the impact of lockdown on teenage mental health, busting the myth that digitally-inclined young people don’t also value in-person social interaction. The article is free to access but you’ll need to register first.

Arts and Health

The effects of Covid-19 on both our physical and mental health has highlighted the intrinsic connections between medicine, science, and participation in arts and culture. Researchers at UCL and University of Leicester have published a scientific study assessing the positive biological effects on people participating in a museum programme connecting gardening, art, and collections.

If you aren’t satisfied with just reading a research paper, did you know that 18th March is Social Prescribing Day? The Social Prescribing Network are organising a day of celebrations and events for this growing movement connecting cultural participation and health.

Helpful resources and toolkits

The Centre for Excellence in Participatory Theatre has a fantastic digital library and resource centre, with a large and ever-growing collection of downloadable books, reports, and toolkits to support theatre and participation practitioners. We were particularly interested to see the resources around online and socially-distanced practice.

Andi Roberts has put together a fantastic list of facilitation and collaboration tools on his website.

Our partner, the Centre for Cultural Value, have a growing body of resources, such as this excellent Values in Cultural Participation list of essential reads from Dr Leila Jancovich.

Centre for Youth Impact frequently share great resources, such as Inspiring Impact’s recent newsletter. There is a range of helpful evaluation guidance including using digital to collect data, accessibility considerations, and using creative methods. We also particularly love this excellent Framework for Human Connection from the Deepr team.

Sector insights

Like many of you, we can relate to the phrase ‘Teaching to the Void’, used to describe the somewhat strange experience of leading an online workshop or activity without being able to see or hear the participants. Group for Education in Museums share a really useful blog exploring this phenomenon, and some great tips for educators to help them to feel more connected to participants in digital spaces.

Speaking of connection, we are looking forward to listening to this great podcast episode from The Wonderhouse, featuring Kayte McSweeney, Community Partnerships Manager at the British Museum and independent consultant. Kayte talks about participatory practice and the Object Journeys project, which we worked with her to evaluate.

And finally…

We’d like to send a big congratulations to our fellow ACE Sector Support Organisation Kids in Museums, who celebrated reaching 1000 organisations signing up to their Manifesto last month!

Featured in the March 2021 edition of The Learning Diaries. Aimed at those working in learning, engagement or participation in the cultural sector, this newsletter shares updates from our team on sector events, ideas from some of our projects and links to new research. To receive The Learning Diaries, visit the sign up page.