Planning art workshops

Our meeting this week involved planning  some creative art workshops which we will be running on Saturday 2nd December for young people aged 16-18. We worked in small groups to plan practical aspects such as timings, materials, costs, the theme and content of the workshops to create a brief for the artist. We will be working with Ellen Love  to learn about the printmaking process of intaglio collograph. Come along and experiment with paper folding, ripping, refined knife cutting and textural layering to prepare a printing plate and create A4 work to take away.

If you would like to come to one of our FREE  art workshops on Saturday December 2017 at 10-12 or 1-3pm, please email

We finished with an object handling session for us all. Objects included ancient Greek and Roman pottery, thousands of years old and found out how flint axes were made and used. It was amazing to handle them for ourselves.




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


CREATIVES – the Ashmolean’s Young People’s Panel

Following an exciting and varied first year, we meet again this term on the following Saturdays  from 10-12 in the Education Studio at The Ashmolean.  Read back through the blog to see what we’ve been doing.  If you are interested in museums, history, art or archaeology, running events for young people and seeing behind the scenes, you are very welcome to come an join us on these dates: 

Saturday 23 September 

Saturday 14 October

Saturday 11 November

 Saturday 2 December 

To find out more, please email

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Behind the scenes of another Museum…

Our final meeting of the year was a visit to meet the young people’s panel at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.  We handled amazing objects including an elephant’s tooth, fossilized poo and live cockroaches.

A special highlight of the trip was a visit to the spirit store where we saw rare specimens which have been preserved for many years in liquid.

Upstairs in the Museum, we visited an exhibition all about the human brain from birth to death and how it changes through that time period, which the youth panel had been involved in creating and had written one of the text panels.

It was interesting meeting the Natural History Museum’s Panel as their activities are based around science whereas ours are based around arts. We look forward to welcoming them back to The Ashmolean for them to see what we are contributing at our museum.

To end the day, we went on a training course to become Oxford University Museum volunteers. Doing this course is really helpful for us as we can become more experienced in working with members of the public. – Immie

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Today we used our creativity and imaginations to explore paintings in new and unusual ways. We tried out some new resources, discussing our ideas in small groups . We discussed questions like….


>Find a piece of art that feels happy. Enjoy it for a while.

>Look at a painting that you think is boring. Analyse why you think it’s boring and try to make it interesting.

>Find an artwork that needs a soundtrack. Choose a song to listen to while you look at it.

>Find a painting and explore what happens outside the frame. How could the image continue and what happens off the edge of the painting? Did you discover something new?

>Observe how people interact with art. Watch the space between people and art and the space between people.

> Imagine you lived inside a piece of art. Which piece would you choose and why?

>Find a fruit, a flower, a dog and a hat.

>Find a painting that matches your outfit.

We reviewed all of the activities we had tried. We all most enjoyed responding to questions that required an imaginative response, explored emotions and feelings, involved spotting a list of types of objects and made us curious to look more closely at details.

After this, we were really privileged to spend an hour with Arne Richards and Isabelle Knowland who explained how they use museum collections and musical instruments to work with many different groups including people in prison. They played their instruments for us, transporting us to amazing places in our imaginations. Arne introduced us to a range of unusual instruments from around the globe and as a group we created a musical accompaniment to a piece of writing. It was a magical experience for us all. Thank you so much Arne and Isobel.

Isobel told us about a project she is working on for Refugee Week

Waving Hello

is a project challenging preconceived notions about refugees and asylum seekers and exploring our common humanity in a creative and interdisciplinary way. With the Ashmolean Museum as our inspiration the project has involved music, storytelling and poetry, and visual arts.  For our final event, we would like to include as many people as possible from across our community, particularly those of different faiths.

A flotilla of tiny paper boats will ‘sail’ across Bonn Square on Sunday 25th June, 12pm – 4pm,  celebrating diversity, recognising the importance of trade and travel in the history of Western art and commemorating those who have perished crossing the Mediterranean in their bid to escape war and famine.

If you can fold a piece of paper, be part of this temporary art installation, the aim of which is to fill the upper area of Bonn Square with small origami paper boats flowing out from the Tirah Memorial. The boats represent the journeys people make to both come to the UK and UK nationals travelling to other countries to live and work. Boats will be made by groups who have participated in the project to date and also by members of the public, either made in advance or on the day. (A video giving instructions on how to make the paper boats can be found on YouTube  Waving Hello!)







Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Discovering an artist’s response to art

Silver,  gold, ivory, coconut shell, mother of pearl and nautilus shell; these are some of the materials used in the huge range of objects in the Welby collection. Curator Matthew Winterbottom gave us a tour of the finely crafted, highly decorated and often strange and unusual objects in the collection, collected by Michael Welby during the last century when they were unfashionable. Some were surprising drinking cups or decorative ornaments and many combined natural materials with fine, sometimes gilded, silverwork.

We then had the huge privilege of meeting artist Deborah Thomas who explained the thinking behind her stunning glass sculpture which she was commissioned to create in response to the collection. She described the design of the swirling shape and the use of pieces of green glass which linked with the objects on display. We handled the materials she uses- broken glass and strong wire, and saw examples of her drawings and the processes she uses. She told us fascinating stories about some of the projects she has worked on and we saw her sketchbooks. It was clear how passionate  and committed she is to her work. Thank you Matthew and Deborah for sharing your time and expertise with us!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment