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March 2022

Tips for facilitating meaningful discussions around sensitive subjects

TIPS FOR FACILITATING MEANINGFUL DISCUSSIONS AROUND SENSITIVE SUBJECTS In the light of recent world events and the troubled times we live in, in today’s episode I’m going to share some thoughts about facilitating discussions with artworks and objects around sensitive subjects in difficult times. Some programmes, tours or sessions specifically involve sharing difficult narratives and directly addressing challenging subjects. Other types of programmes might touch on subjects that can be contentious and/or sensitive. Or you may visit artworks or objects that can surface and bring up emotions, feelings and more. Particularly now with the devastation occurring in

How to Read a Group

HOW TO READ A GROUP In today's episode I'm exploring ways to read a group. This is the ability to understand the mood in the room and how receptive people are.  When you’re working with groups in the museum or online, it’s extremely helpful to be able to know how to ‘read the room’. Paying attention to others and listening for clues can pay dividends.  Being able to read a group and see how engaged they are, whether they are enjoying the programme, following along or even whether they are listening is extremely important.  It's important to

February 2022

12 Reasons to Get Started with Slow Looking

12 REASONS TO GET STARTED WITH SLOW LOOKING Slow looking is simply the art of learning through observation. As I mentioned in last week’s post, slow looking has become hugely popular recently with many museums and individuals offering virtual sessions for lockdown. But, why would you want to slow down and spend time with just one artwork or object? Why is it important to practise paying attention and noticing more details? Looking at something slowly and carefully is in itself a rewarding process – the object or art work becomes more interesting the longer you look at

5 New Thinking Routines to Try in 2022

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5 NEW THINKING ROUTINES TO TRY IN 2022 Have you been using the same thinking routines for a while now? Maybe you’ve got a few core routines that you’re comfortable with and now you’re looking for some new routines to add to your repertoire? Sometimes it can be reassuring to stick to the same methods and techniques that you’ve always used. At other times, I feel it’s good to do a little bit of experimentation - this helps me to stay curious and to be always looking for new ways to work with the same artworks and

How to stay curious in your practice

HOW TO STAY CURIOUS IN YOUR PRACTICE As we get older, we ask fewer questions. We wonder less. We are less curious.  We don’t lose the ability to be curious, we just don’t use or ‘exercise’ it as much. Further on in life people tend to expect answers rather than questions. Staying curious and wondering keeps your mind active and strong, makes you more receptive to new ideas, opens up new worlds and possibilities and brings excitement into your life. Likewise in our work as educators, guides, teachers and creatives, we need to keep curious ourselves in

3 Key Ways to Foster Curiosity in your Programmes

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3 KEY WAYS TO FOSTER CURIOSITY IN YOUR PROGRAMMES So in today’s episode is the first of 2 episodes devoted to a subject close to my heart: curiosity. This week I'll be exploring what curiosity is and sharing 3 key ways you can provoke curiosity and wonder with your audiences on your tours and programmes. Next week, I'll be discussing how we can stay curious ourselves as educators, guides and teachers. Curiosity is notoriously difficult to define and it’s even harder to work out how to harness and foster it. It could be defined as an eagerness to

January 2022

How looking at art can improve your mental health with Yaël van Loosbroek – Speck

HOW LOOKING AT ART CAN IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH WITH YAËL VAN LOOSBROEK-SPECK INTRODUCTION  This week on the podcast: I’m delighted to be talking to Yaël van Loosbroek-Speck about art and mental health Yaël believes, like me, that everyone can engage with art, and that it all starts with looking - hence the name of her company, ArtSee. About ten years ago Yaël herself suffered from depression and severe anxiety disorder. The only place she could find peace of mind was in front of an artwork. This experience motivated her to create Art as Perspective for people going

Quick ways to improve your questioning technique

QUICK WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR QUESTIONING TECHNIQUE The ability to ask powerful, relevant and incisive questions is one of the most useful skills you can have.  With a good questioning technique you can instantly engage people, provoke their curiosity, find out what they already know and make your programmes more interactive. Questioning is not an innate talent for most of us - we have to work hard at developing a good questioning technique.  It’s a skill and, like all skills, we need to actively work on it to improve it.  So, how exactly can you get better

9 Ways Art can Make you a Better Writer

9 WAY ART CAN MAKE YOU A BETTER WRITER Today we’re exploring 9 different ways that looking at art can make you a better writer.  Throughout the ages, looking at art has been a unique way of finding inspiration and creativity. If you go as far back as the Greeks, you can find examples of writing inspired by art, called ekphrasis, which means “a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art” Art is a frequent source of inspiration for many writers and poets over the centuries. John Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn”

December 2021

3 SLOW LOOKING ACTIVITIES FOR THE HOLIDAYS

3 SLOW LOOKING ACTIVITIES FOR THE HOLIDAYS For our last episode of the year, I'm sharing 3 slow looking activities for over the holidays. It’s a busy time of year and we’re all rushed off our feet. There’s also still a huge amount of uncertainty around right now just to add to the levels of stress and anxiety. Slow looking is a wonderful antidote to life in the fast lane. Looking at something slowly and carefully is in itself a rewarding process. More than that, slow looking improves your observational skills, helps us to become less distracted

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