Latest News Meeting Point select the Paralympic Heritage Centre to partner with contemporary artists Press release 16th November 2020 Six museums and heritage sites have been selected to work in partnership with artists to commission a new work of art inspired by each venue. Didcot Railway Centre; the National Paralympic Heritage Centre in Aylesbury; Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology in Reading; Furzey Gardens in the New Forest National Park; and ‘a space’ arts and The Brickworks Museum in Southampton will all take part in the Meeting Point programme. Steph Allen is Executive Director at contemporary arts agency Arts&Heritage, which leads the programme. Arts&Heritage works with museums and heritage sites which have little previous experience of commissioning contemporary art. We’ll be working with these six venues to pair each with an artist who will create a brand new piece of work – which could be anything from sculpture to a sound installation – created especially for the venue and inspired by its history and collections. The Meeting Point programme has previously worked with venues in the North East, North West and the midlands, partnering more than 20 museums with artists from across the UK. As well as commissioning a new artwork which responds to their collection, each venue also receives training in best practice for working with artists. Mia Delve, Creative Programme Officer at ‘a space’ arts, said: This is a really exciting opportunity for us to work with an acclaimed and experienced visual artist on a new commission at God's House Tower. I'm really looking forward to working with the artist to uncover and interpret some of our lesser-known, marginalised histories. It will also be great to meet representatives from the other participating museums and hugely beneficial to exchange advice and discuss the challenges we face in the heritage sector, especially in these unprecedented times. Paul West, Treasurer, Bursledon Brickworks Museum Trust, said: This is a great opportunity for us to show the world that we are a modern, outward looking museum. We are relishing the chance to share our fantastic collections with an artist, who will respond, we hope, with something beautiful, unique and inspiring whilst celebrating our industrial heritage. Emma Jhita, CEO of Didcot Railway Centre, said: I am delighted Didcot Railway Centre has been selected to take part in Meeting Point. Commissioning an artist through the programme will enable new audiences to explore the incredible railway heritage we care for and social histories we share. Gaining a fresh perspective on our collection will provide an exciting opportunity for our passionate volunteers and audiences of all ages to discover new connections with this important industrial heritage. Dawn Wood, Director of Development at Furzey Gardens, said: We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with local artists on this project and the timing couldn’t be better as we hope to be able to unveil the work as part of our centenary celebrations of Furzey Gardens in 2022. The gardens exist to support people with learning disabilities to learn new skills that help them live more independent, happier and healthier lives. Furzey is also a tranquil place for thousands of people to escape the stresses of modern life each year. Exploring what the gardens mean to people through art will help us explore the essence of the gardens while producing a fitting tribute to all it has achieved in its 100 years. Amy C. Smith, Curator of the Ure Museum and Head of the Classics Department at University of Reading, said: Meeting Point is a great way to keep museums at the forefront of cultural activity, that is, to help ever wider audiences see the connection between contemporary creative arts and the collections of historical, archaeological and sociological information encapsulated in our museums. We are really looking forward to discover how artists might respond to different aspects of our collection. Vicky Hope-Walker, CEO of the National Paralympic Heritage Trust, said: The National Paralympic Heritage Trust are delighted to have been selected to be part of this imaginative public art commissioning programme. It will enrich the skills set and broaden the views of our small Trust and enable us to explore creative interpretations of our disability sport collections through the eyes of a contemporary artist. Bringing together art, sport and disability will be an exciting journey for us all. Meeting Point is led by contemporary art specialists Arts&Heritage (www.artsandheritage.org.uk). Meeting Point presents artworks in unexpected places and supports small and medium scale museums to commission artists, forging new relationships between the contemporary arts and heritage sectors. Arts&Heritage is funded as a Sector Support Organisation by Arts Council England through its National Portfolio Organisation funding. Notes to editors Arts&Heritage is an agency that supports heritage organisations and museums to place contemporary art at the heart of their programming to bring alive narratives, atmosphere, architecture and history and provide new perspectives to heritage contexts. This approach challenges audience expectations and preconceptions of heritage sites by producing projects that present history in unexpected, imaginative and unusual ways. Arts&Heritage is an Arts Council England Sector Support Organisations (SSO), a category within its National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) funding which awards funding to organisations which play a vital role in supporting the cultural sector. www.artsandheritage.org.uk. Organisations which are awarded SSO funding offer access to expertise and innovation for the cultural sector, driving progress and change. Meeting Point is funded through this ACE funding in order to support the development of skills and expertise in the museum and heritage sector. 'a space' arts ‘a space’ arts supports artists and inspires audiences through exhibitions, studio spaces, professional development and by culturally reanimating lost spaces with arts and heritage. The Brickworks Museum The Brickworks Museum is located in the last remaining Victorian steam driven brickworks left in the country. It is home to a large collection of bricks and brickmaking artefacts centred on the history of brickmaking from early handmaking to factory production. Steeped in authenticity the museum gives visitors the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the Victorian brickmakers learning how a lump of ‘mud’ becomes a brick. Didcot Railway Centre Didcot Railway Centre is operated by the Great Western Society Limited, a registered charity, number 272616. The Society exists to preserve, restore and operate, as a permanent public exhibition, locomotives, rolling stock, equipment, machinery and relics of historical operational and general interest and educational value with particular reference to the former Great Western Railway and its successors. Visitors to the Centre can see almost 200 years of railway history including Great Western Railway steam locomotives, carriages, wagons, buildings and smaller artefacts is based around the original 1930s Engine Shed and Coal Stage. There’s also a section of Brunel's original broad gauge track complete with replica locomotives and coaches. Furzey Gardens Furzey Gardens is an informal woodland garden nestled deep in the New Forest near Lyndhurst. Its winding and meandering paths, rare and beautiful plants and thatched tea rooms offer a tranquil escape from the stresses of modern life. It is a social enterprise of Minstead Trust, providing training and work experience in an inspirational setting where people with learning disabilities can learn new skills in horticulture and hospitality. Minstead Trust, established in 1986, is a charitable organisation whose aims are to support people with learning disabilities to achieve greater independence, lead fulfilled lives and live as full citizens in society. Minstead Trust currently supports over 200 people in Hampshire, Wiltshire, Southampton and Portsmouth. We offer people the opportunity to develop skills for work, skills for life and improve their health and wellbeing. Work-based skills: training in practical skills in a range of work settings, including the expectations of a workplace such as time management and health and safety Health and well-being: physical and creative activities to promote health and leisure skills Life skills: practical training in the skills of everyday living, both in the home and out in the community Training and support is provided through day opportunities, support for people living in their own tenancies or our residential care home, respite short breaks and community pay-as-you-go groups. Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology The Ure Museum conserves and displays art, archaeological artefacts and archives relating to the ancient Mediterranean cultures, for the purpose of research, education, and enjoyment. As part of the Classics Department at University or Reading, it supports all academic disciplines and provides free and open access to all who would benefit from its resources. The National Paralympic Heritage Trust The National Paralympic Heritage Trust was established in July 2015 to protect and share British Paralympic Heritage. Stoke Mandeville is widely acknowledged as the birthplace of the Paralympic movement and the National Paralympic Heritage Centre at Stoke Mandeville Stadium celebrates and explores this unique history.