October 2021


3 THINKING ROUTINES FOR SLOW LOOKING AND DRAWING INTRODUCTION This week’s episode is inspired by recent classes in the Visible Thinking Membership where we've been exploring the concept of using drawing and sketching for slow looking and observation. We’re also been talking a lot about how people feel about drawing, sketching, doodling and scribbling as well. Now when you introduce any activity into a guided tour, museum programme or class that involves drawing you almost certainly get a few people in the audience who have objections - normally along the lines of ‘I can’t draw’. It quite often

Using art and objects to learn wellbeing skills and improve mental health with Louise Thompson

USING ART & OBJECTS TO LEARN WELLBEING SKILLS & IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH WITH LOUISE THOMPSON INTRODUCTION  Today I’m really excited to be chatting to Louise Thompson - a museums and wellbeing consultant as well as the health and wellbeing manager at Manchester Art Gallery for the past 9 years. We’re talking how about art and objects can be used to learn wellbeing skills and improve mental health. Louise has over 12 years experience of arts and health practice and is hugely passionate about using culture and creativity to improve people’s wellbeing. We discuss: Louise’s work and some of

How to get over a ‘tumbleweed moment’ (and avoid one in the future)

HOW TO GET OVER A 'TUMBLEWEED MOMENT' (AND AVOID ONE IN THE FUTURE) WHAT IS A 'TUMBLEWEED MOMENT'?  Have you ever asked a question that was greeted with nothing but silence? You look around and all you can see are blank faces. The silence is scary because you don’t know what people are thinking. It could mean anything. You wait a little longer and still nothing happens. Just the sound of tumbleweed rustling by…. You've just experienced a 'tumbleweed moment' - a period of dead air or silence.  And it’s awkward and uncomfortable - not just for you

September 2021

13 Tips for Getting Started with Thinking Routines

13 TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED WITH THINKING ROUTINES INTRODUCTION  In the past week I’ve just started teaching my Visible Thinking in the Museum Online course (VTMO) to a group of international educators excited to start confidently leading discussions around art and objects. There’s always a buzz when we get going and an enthusiasm to learn as much as you can as quickly as possible. But I always try to slow down participants, so that they can take it one step at a time and build up their practice (and confidence) slowly. So this week’s episode is for all

How to use your voice to engage your audience

HOW TO USE YOUR VOICE AS A TOOL TO ENGAGE YOUR AUDIENCE INTRODUCTION  Today I’m really excited to be introducing our first guest chat on the podcast. Today I’m talking to voice actor Samantha Boffin - we are exploring tools and techniques that will help you develop a more reliable and consistent voice. Samantha Boffin is a voice actor working with clients on voice technique, voiceover and communication. I invited Samantha to lead a masterclass on voice in the Visible Thinking membership and it was so well received that I invited her back on to the podcast to

The 6 core elements of my VTMO course (& why they’re important)

THE 6 CORE ELEMENTS OF MY VTMO COURSE (& WHY THEY'RE IMPORTANT) INTRODUCTION  Today I’m talking about the 6 core elements in my popular Visible Thinking in the Museum Online (VTMO) course - elements that you should also have in your toolbox and repertoire as key factors for connecting with your audience and engaging them with art and objects. I'm also talking about the history behind the course and how it came about - at the start of the pandemic in 2020! THE STORY BEHIND VTMO In March 2020, like many people I lost all my in-person

What to Expect from The Art of Engagement Challenge

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE ART OF ENGAGEMENT CHALLENGE INTRODUCTION  Would you love to learn how to design and lead engaging discussions around art and objects in just 4 days? On Monday through to Thursday next week (13-19 September 2021), I’ll be sharing 4 principles that are key 🔑 for creating engagement and connection when you're designing and leading art discussions. ⁠ In this BONUS episode of The Art Engager podcast you’ll learn everything you need to know about what happens when you join the challenge, who it's for and how it will work. Join in the 4

Success-Factors for Leading Discussion-Based Programmes Around Art

SUCCESS-FACTORS FOR LEADING DISCUSSION-BASED PROGRAMMES AROUND ART INTRODUCTION  Today I’m sharing some thoughts about how you can successfully lead engaging discussion-based programmes around art. I’ll be talking briefly about the difference between conversations, discussions and dialogue before moving into 11 tips for successfully creating and leading conversations around art and objects. Don’t forget last week we covered 6 common fears about leading art discussions and I shared some tips on what you can do to overcome these! So do go back and listen to episode 18 as a podcast or read the blog post, if you haven’t already. 

Common Fears Around Leading Discussion-Based Programmes ( and How to Deal with Them)

COMMON FEARS AROUND LEADING DISCUSSION-BASED PROGRAMMES (AND HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM) INTRODUCTION  Leading tours and educational programmes that are based on discussion, inquiry and interaction can be a scary business. Both for you and for your participants. And if you’re about to take your first steps, it might seem really daunting. However, do remember that any concerns you have are perfectly normal and you’re not alone (we’ve all been there and had to start somewhere). Take it one step at a time and with time, practice and guidance, it will get easier (I promise!). In this post,

August 2021

13 Ways to Make your Online Experiences More Engaging and Interactive

13 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR ONLINE EXPERIENCES MORE ENGAGING AND INTERACTIVE SUMMARY Although I’d love to have a crystal ball and see into the future, I can’t predict what is going to happen in the next 6 months any more than you can. Although things are opening up now in some areas, I can’t say for certain that we won’t at some point be restricted in the way we gather and hang out together at some point in the coming months. And if you work regularly with audiences in-person - whether in a gallery, museum, heritage or outside