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,

How to use the Unveiling Stories thinking routine to Investigate Multiple Layers of Meaning in a Photograph

How to use the Unveiling Stories thinking routine to Investigate Multiple Layers of Meaning in a Photograph SUMMARY Today I’m talking all about how to use the ‘Unveiling Stories’ thinking routine to investigate multiple layers of meaning with a photograph. This is part of a new series of episodes on the podcast where I share a thinking routine with you and all the insights for how you might be able to use it with an artwork or object with groups - either in-person or online. Unveiling Stories was our ‘thinking routine of the month’ for June in the

6 Best Practices for Sharing Information

6 BEST PRACTICES FOR SHARING INFORMATION IN YOUR ART DISCUSSIONS SUMMARY Many of us are experts in our field - possibly art historians, historians or archaeologists - and want to share that incredible knowledge with the groups we lead in our programmes. But knowing what information to share, how to share it and when to share it is often tricky – especially on interactive, discussion-based programmes. And what happens when you add too much information? And how much is too much? Sharing information that is engaging and memorable (without overloading your participants) is a great skill to master.

How to Develop a Daily Slow Looking Practice

HOW TO DEVELOP A SLOW LOOKING PRACTICE Slow looking is not only an important part of my work, it is also a personal practice - something that I’ve been doing regularly for the last few years. I’m really interested in developing my observational skills and I’m also fascinated by what happens when we spend a longer period of time looking at something. Our general approach to looking is, however, flawed and we try to look at things as briskly and efficiently as possible. We need to slow our looking down and give our brain the time and space

Introducing The Art Engager Podcast

The Art Engager Podcast Trailer Welcome to The Art Engager podcast! This podcast here to help educators, guides and creatives engage their audiences with art, objects and ideas. Each week I’ll be sharing a variety of strategies, ideas and inspiration to help you to engage and connect with your audiences and confidently lead lively art and artefact discussions. Trailer Highlights What The Art Engager podcast is all about How and why creating real engagement with art and museum objects can be tricky What is Visible Thinking in the Museum? What we're going to be talking about on this podcast

What are the 8 Key Differences Between Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) and Visible Thinking in the Museum (VTM)?

The idea for today's post came out of a Facebook post and an ensuing discussion in the Visible Thinking Membership. I asked members for thoughts and ideas on the differences and similarities between Visible Thinking and Visual Thinking strategies, VT and VTS. My ‘Visual Thinking Strategies and Visible Thinking’ post, that I wrote in 2013, is still one of my top blog posts ever and this is intended as a follow-up post. Educators often use questioning strategies, routines or procedures to guide participants through the exploration of artworks and objects. These strategies work well if they are easy to remember

5 Ways to Use Language for Positive Effect in Art Discussions

As an educator, do you pay attention to the language you use when you are leading a discussion about art or objects? Do you notice how certain words, phrases and tenses can have a positive or negative effect on a group? Here are 5 ways you can use language for positive effect in your discussions. 1. Use neutral language Staying as neutral as possible as a facilitator encourages feedback from every participant and allows for multiple interpretations. Neutrality is a tricky concept (here's a good read on it) and this subject is always quite a thorny one in my classes

What is mindful looking and how can I get started?

There are many ways to look at and think about an artwork. Mindful looking is the process of slowing down and looking at an artwork or object from the perspective of mindfulness.  But what exactly is mindful looking and how can I get started?  What is mindfulness? Let's start by talking about what mindfulness is. As Jon Kabat Zinn states, ‘mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.' It is about a way of being, or a way of responding to the world. Mindfulness allows us to become fully present in

10 years of Visible Thinking in the Museum

10 years ago, way back in 2011, I discovered the magic of Visible Thinking and starting developing Visible Thinking in the Museum – my method that uses thinking routines to help question formulation and structure, along with facilitation techniques, collaborative learning and museum education practices. Visible Thinking in the Museum is an easy-to-follow method that allows educators like you to confidently design, lead and manage engaging inquiry-led sessions with art, objects and ideas for any audience. But how did it come about? And why should you use it? All will be revealed in this week’s blog post - 10 years