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What is Slow Art Day?

Slow Art Day is an international event celebrating looking at art in a different way. This year Slow Art Day is taking place on Saturday 10 April 2021 in nearly 100 venues around the world (and counting...). So, what is Slow Art Day all about? Here's what you need to know. How did Slow Art Day start? In 2008 Phil Terry visited The Jewish Museum in New York and instead of trying to see everything, he found a select few pieces to focus on: just 2 paintings: Hans Hoffman’s Fantasia and Jackson Pollock's Convergence. He wanted to find out what would

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

Information Overload: How Much is too Much on a Guided Tour?

by Claire Bown How much information is too much on a guided tour? When does information become a burden and how much do we actually remember afterwards? Traditional lecture-style 'walk and talk ' guided tours with an expert guide are still all-to-common and a standard way of 'presenting' an historic site, a city or a museum to the public. However, participants on these style of tours will remember very little of the information they are told, less than 5% in fact. They will become exhausted (and sometimes irritated) by the non-stop flow of information. They will leave their tour none

A Brief Guide to Thinking Routines

Interested in thinking routines but not sure where to start? Focusing on thinking routines is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to start working with Visible Thinking. Here is my brief guide: In 2011, I spent a year developing a new programme at the Tropenmuseum using thinking routines from Visible Thinking as a method of engaging and interacting with museum objects. The resulting programme ‘Stories Around the World‘ uses these routines  as the structure around which students can explore objects in the museum in a slow, careful and detailed way. What is a routine? A routine is simply defined as a sequence of actions or

More than a Strategy: Building a Culture of Thinking

I was recently talking to a fellow museum docent about how they were given a 10 minute training on how to use thinking routines (from Visible Thinking) in another museum. A few routines were enthusiastically explained to them and they were told that these routines could be inserted 'ad-hoc' into tours to inject a little more participation and conversation. Whilst this may provide a quick-fix for those moments when you want to enliven a tour, this is not how thinking routines are intended to be used nor how I personally envisage their use or potential for use in the museum.

Reflections on ‘Visible Thinking in the Mauritshuis’

By Lorna Cruickshanks I was recently lucky to have the opportunity to join the special edition two-day ‘Visible Thinking in the Museum' training led by Claire Bown of Thinking Museum with co-host Gundy van Dijk in the Mauritshuis. Having worked in audience participation for a number of UK museums over the years, the practice of facilitating and encouraging interactive and creative engagement with collections was not new to me, but the particular approach of Visible Thinking was. Visible Thinking is a research-based approach to teaching and learning developed within schools by Project Zero in the early 2000s, which Claire Bown has

Working with Families: Thinking Outside of the Box with Play

by Danielle Carter When we think of play in the museum setting, we often think of science museums where children can experiment with scientific concepts through play, or museums that are made specifically for children. With this perception, it seems that play has no role in the traditional art museum; how can we make play attractive for our younger visitors? How can we engage in play that’s appropriate for the museum environment? And how can we get  adults involved in play too? First of all, we need to break down our understanding of what play is and what it can be.