The long-standing partnership between Liverpool Hope University and National Museums Liverpool (NML) is founded on a shared commitment to social justice. These shared values are reflected in many of the ways in which NML’s rich, diverse collections, and the expertise of NML’s staff, are embedded throughout all levels of teaching at Hope’s Creative Campus.
At undergraduate level, BA Design students undertake a unique Design project inspired and informed by NML’s decorative arts collections. To begin, students are invited to attend a collection handling session, enabling them to study high-quality examples of ceramic, textile, and metal work much more closely than the average museum visitor. This session encourages students to think about issues of memory and identity as these relate to NML’s collections, and students are invited to select one object which they find particularly inspiring. Drawing on the objects and themes of this session, students then work independently to produce their own ceramic, textile and metal work. Students present their completed creations to NML’s decorative arts curators, highlighting the progression of their design and production process, from the object of inspiration to the finished piece. Finally, NML’s curators choose a selection of this work to go on display at the Walker Art Gallery, offering Hope’s Design students an exciting and valuable opportunity to have their work exhibited alongside NML’s premier collection of fine and decorative arts.
Third Year BA Design, BA Fine Art, and Double Major Art and Design History students also benefit from several guest lectures from NML’s curators and exhibitions team, highlighting the significant ways in which the visual and material arts can be used to provoke discussion and debate on important and current issues in society. Among other topics, students have learned how the production and display of portrait photography for NML’s recent Poppies: Women and War exhibition not only served to commemorate the experiences of women in World War One, but also to tell the stories of women who have lived through more recent conflicts right up to the present day. This aspect of the Hope-NML partnership provides students with an understanding of the role and impact that the creative arts can have in society, enabling them to become socially-engaged creative practitioners in their own right.
At postgraduate level too, MA Art History and Curating and MA Museum and Heritage Studies students enjoy unparalleled access to NML’s collections, venues, and staff. Through a series of guided tours, workshops, and guest lectures, students gain an understanding of cutting-edge practices across a comprehensive range of museum and gallery professions. Regular NML contributions to these MA programmes include a session which explore culturally-sensitive strategies of collecting contemporary, non-Western art, and others which focus on techniques for designing exhibitions that are inclusive and accessible for a diverse range of visitors. The Hope-NML partnership also secures a number of work placements for these MA programmes, offering students the opportunity to participate in and contribute to the world-leading work undertaken by NML, while also developing the valuable skills and essential experience needed to build successful careers in museums and galleries beyond graduation.
Contact: Prof. Steve Davismoon
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