Meet the Nominees: Lakeland Arts
- 29 October 2021
In our Meet the Nominees series, we're featuring guest blogs by five organisations that have been shortlisted for the 2021 Fantastic For Families Awards. Find out why they are fantastic for families, what motivates them and which project they've been nominated for…
Our series continues with Lakeland Arts, one of the largest arts organisations in Cumbria, with Abbot Hall Art Gallery, The Museum of Lakeland Life, Windermere Jetty Museum and Blackwell the Arts and Crafts House as venues. In 2021, in response to the COVID pandemic, the Participation and Learning team developed the MEND project with the intent of connecting with and engaging our communities in arts and culture remotely whilst our venues were closed due to COVID restrictions.
The team told us about this project and how it inspired other family-friendly activities: “We are so proud to have been nominated for the Audience Impact and Innovation Award, not just because it validates our work but because the entire idea behind MEND was to be innovative and have a real and valuable impact on the members of our community. From the MEND project, we developed a kids art club for Ulverston Food Share. We also ran zine-making workshops for a local secondary school, ran online crafting sessions that enabled young carers to socialise with others who were isolated, and we co-created nature hunts and wild crafting activities for rurally home-educated kids. By engaging with young people and families away from our sites we were able to encourage them to visit once restrictions were lifted.”
This year, they started a new project that connects the museum to the outdoors: “On site, at Windermere Jetty, WRECKED! was launched in May 2021. This was developed in partnership with The Knotted Project and Field Studios to create an immersive exhibition, exploring the wrecks of Windermere and climate change. WRECKED! was aimed at 5- to 12-year-olds who entered the museum as investigators searching for clues. A mysterious creature had been seen on site and wanted to give them a message. The journey ends with a request that children make a pledge to take care of the environment. WRECKED! continues until 20 March 2022. Outside at Windermere Jetty our meadow and lakeshore continued to be a haven for families and wildlife during the summer. There are now otters in the boat shed and crayfish in the stream, both indicators of how clear the waters are here and perfect for outdoor exploring.”
In addition, the team shared with us how they brought Japanese art to one of their venues as well as to children at home: “At Blackwell, we exhibited our Japanese collection during The House of the Setting Sun and invited some Yokai to visit! Inko Ai Takita, the manga artist, reimagined these mythical beings and created a monster Yokai Trail inspired by the house. Hiding around the house and grounds, Yokai intrigued our younger guests with their peculiar characters. We ran our Arts and Crafts club online this year, with a Japanese-inspired programme. Children (and their grownups) could have a go at shibori, sashiko, origami, yotsume toji and manga at home. A kit with all the materials was sent by post.”
We asked the Lakeland arts team what family-friendly offers they have coming up. Here's what you can look forward to: ⭐ From October, Class, Covid and Cumbria will be the Blackwell exhibition, showcasing the MEND project and the experiences of Cumbrian children during the pandemic. ⭐ At Windermere Jetty, the learning centre will host an exhibition of our Art Club member’s work. Food Share Art Club continues weekly on Wednesdays. ⭐ After October half term, Little Boats, a new playful wellbeing session for pre-schoolers, will launch. With yoga, stories and craft activities these sessions probably have the best view in England. ⭐ March next year sees us host the first-ever Windermere Science Festival with STEAM activities for all ages, and in October 2022 the wonderful Lakes International Comic Art Festival will also be hosted at Windermere Jetty. ⛵
To find out more, visit their website and sign up to their mailing list.
Curious about the other Fantastic for Families Awards 2021 shortlisted organisations? Check out the list, and look out for when we announce the winners on Tuesday 16 November 2021. 🎉 You can also read about Barnsley Museums, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Oily Cart and Chichester Festival Theatre.