Creative Programming

I believe that hands-on, creative activities are one of the most effective ways of bringing museum objects to life. I have a strong track record of generating collections-focused creative programs that encourage audiences both young and old to view museum pieces in brand new ways. I pride myself on my ability to produce programs that achieve a range of learning goals in a relaxed, imaginative, and exploratory environment.

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September 2022

Plaster Casting Workshop

Fairfield University, Connecticut

Undergraduates at Fairfield University have the opportunity to study works of art from the Classical world to the Italian Renaissance, using a collection of nearly 100 plaster casts.

 

In order to demonstrate to students the technical skill required to create such a collection, I was enlisted to run a practical plaster casting workshop. The workshop was set amongst the historic casts in one of the University's store rooms.

Through the workshop, I lead students through the process of making their own plaster casts from a selection of miniature models and 3D prints. 

 

Students were engaged in the hands-on tasks of mould-making using dental alginate, mixing and pouring the Plaster of Paris, and carefully extracting their casts from the moulds.

August 2022

Botanical Casting Workshop

Princeton Academy of Art

In this two-day course, I guided students from the Princeton Academy of Art through the process of creating elegant and detailed reliefs from real botanical specimens while discovering a new sculptural technique: plaster casting.  

Plants and flowers were delicately hand-pressed into clay and removed to create a negative impression. Liquid Plaster of Paris was then poured into the resulting cavity, producing casts that captured the textures and details of nature. Taking inspiration from botanical cameo jewelry of the Victorian era, students were then invited to finish their casts with paint. 


The course was co-hosted at Morven Museum, Princeton, and began with a private guided tour of the Museum's historic gardens delivered by horticulturist Charlie Thomforde.

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October - November 2019

Sculpt, Mould, Cast

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

October - November 2019

Sculpt, Mould, Cast

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

I collaborated with the Ashmolean’s Learning team and local Oxford artist Francesca Shakespeare to facilitate a three-day practical workshop in which a group of adult amateur artists produced pint-sized plaster casts of their own.

Each artist made a preparatory sketch of an object from the Ashmolean's 1000-strong cast collection, translated their 2D drawings into a three-dimensional form using clay, and then cast their clay model in Plaster of Paris. The finished casts were either left white, or painted in vibrant polychromy to resemble original ancient Greek and Roman statuary.

The creative programme was complemented by a series of short talks delivered by myself, which introduced the attendees to topics covered by my PhD research: the history of plaster casts in general and the Ashmolean's collection in particular, ancient sculpture production, and the use of polychromy in antiquity.

July 2019

Festival of Archaeology

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

The Ashmolean's annual Festival of Archaeology event aims to engage families with the Museum's archaeological collections through free activites, talks, and performances.

 

The theme for the 2019 interation was "Daily Life in Ancient Rome" to coincide with the Museum's temporary exhibition on the Roman town of Pompeii.

I collaborated with the Ashmolean's Learning team on a drop-in plaster cast making workshop. Children (and their parents!) were given the chance to make their own plaster ornaments reminiscent of oscilla, circular relief-decorated discs that adorned many ancient Roman peristyle gardens.

As well as casting their oscilla discs using Plaster of Paris, participants had the option to burnish their creations using gold powder.

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February 2017

"Life" Drawing

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

I helped to conceive, plan, and facilitate a life drawing workshop in the Museum's Cast Gallery.

 

The session evoked the historical uses of casts within art academies: they were often employed by young artists to hone their skills in the absence of a live model.

 

A life drawing instructor from Oxford Brookes University led the event with my support.

February 2016

Students Go Potty!

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

In another collaboration with the Ashmolean Museum, I was part of a group of students who invited local potter Charlie Clarke to guide a group of attendees in a pottery-making workshop.

 

We assisted Charlie with guiding our participants through the process of making vessels and small-scale sculptures from air-dry clay.

 

The works were inspired by those within the Museum's wider ceramics collections.

October 2015

Pharaoh's Bucket List

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

I collaborated with a group of fellow students on running a workshop at one of the Museum's regular after-hours events. 

Based in the Ancient Egypt galleries, we encouraged audiences to get creative using their bodies as a canvas! We invited them to dress up as an ancient Egyptian and snap a photo of an object that they would take with them to the afterlife, just as the pharaohs might have!

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