Community Exhibitions (14 January, 2016)

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Lots of HLF projects include an exhibition as one of their outputs - it’s a great way of sharing research, activities, oral histories and heritage stories that your group has been exploring. But what are the key things groups and organisations undertaking community exhibitions need to think about?

Whether you’re planning a display on a single wall, or something much bigger, join us for a live chat right here on Thursday 14 January from 12.30-1.30pm where we’ll discuss the most important aspects relevant to all types of exhibition.

Joining us to offer their expertise and share top tips will be staff from the People’s History Museum (PHM), Manchester, and the Bam! Sistahood! project, based at the Maya Angelou Centre in Newcastle. Please follow along, ask community exhibition questions, and share your experiences.

The team in the North West worked with staff from PHM to develop a toolkit to help groups think about the different steps they need to go through when creating an exhibition based on their heritage.  You can find the tool kit here on the PHM website.

View Louise Sutherland's profile Louise Sutherland Jan 5 2016 - 11:54am
  1. Hello, happy new year, and welcome to our tenth Online Community live chat, and our first for 2016.
    Today we’ll be discussing community exhibitions, and I’m joined by special guests, Rosie, Catherine and Chris (both posting from Chris's account), and my HLF colleague Louise.
    Before we get started, a little bit of housekeeping:

    • We encourage everyone following along to ask questions at any time, but we may wait until the end of the chat, once we’ve got through our over-arching questions, to answer these.
    • The screen will not automatically update as each comment is posted, so we would encourage you to refresh your screen every 5-10 minutes to see the latest posts. (Hit F5 on your keyboard to refresh)

    Now, without further ado, I’ll let everyone introduce themselves.

  2. View Amy Freeborn's profile Amy Freeborn
    Offline | Last seen: 1 day 11 hours ago
  3. I’m Chris Burgess, the Curator at the People’s History Museum. I’m responsible for the museum’s Community Gallery. I’m with Catherine O’ Donnell who is PHM’s Events and Engagement Officer who works with community groups on a daily basis.

  4. View Christopher Burgess's profile Christopher Burgess
    Offline | Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
  5. Hi everyone my name is Rosie Lewis I’m one of the co-ordinators of the BAM! Sistahood! Project and co ordinated its research and development. I am the Deputy Director of the Angelou Centre (a black and minority ethnic women’s centre)- as well as a specialist Black & Minority Women’s Independent Domestic Violence Advocate. 

    About the the BAM! Sistahood! Project:

    The BAM! Sistahood! Project focuses on the cultural, social and political heritage of four generations of Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) women in the North East of England. The project will engage diverse communities, traditionally omitted from many regional heritage projects, in the recovery, mapping, research, digital archiving and promotion of North East BAMER women’s unique cultural and political identities and heritage.

  6. View Rosie Lewis's profile Rosie Lewis
    Offline | Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
  7. The People's History Museum is the home of ideas worth fighting for. We are the national museum of democracy and you can find us in the centre of Manchester. You can find out more @

  8. View Christopher Burgess's profile Christopher Burgess
    Offline | Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
  9. The Angelou Centre - where the BAM! Sistahood! Project is based- is a Black and Minority Ethnic women's centre led bya nd for black women that empowers women to empower themselves- we offer a wide range of services from domestic abuse support and training through to an extensive arts and heritage programme.

  10. View Rosie Lewis's profile Rosie Lewis
    Offline | Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
  11. Hi everyone

    I'm Louise and I am the Development Manager for the North West.  I've worked in a number of museums and galleries before I started with HLF and I'm really looking forward to seeing our discussions this afternoon

  12. View Louise Sutherland's profile Louise Sutherland
    Offline | Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
  13. Hello, welcome, and thank you for being with us today.

    Okay, can we kick things off with each of you telling us about some of the community exhibitions - whether funded by HLF or not - that you have worked on or supported?

  14. View Amy Freeborn's profile Amy Freeborn
    Offline | Last seen: 1 day 11 hours ago
  15. People’s History Museum has a dedicated Community Gallery where community groups and individuals can use free of charge for short-term high-quality exhibitions. As well as the space we also provide a range of support including: curatorial advice, marketing assistance, technical assistance and a variety of display boards, stands and cases to aid display.  The exhibitions are entirely curated by the community groups and we do not have any curatorial input.

    Anyone can apply to exhibit in this space whether you are an individual, a group or an organisation. However, there are certain conditions that we look for when assessing applications:

    Community exhibitions should link to our story – interpreting labour history in its broadest sense, for example ‘people’s history’.
    These exhibitions allow working people and disenfranchised groups a chance to tell and examine their history, encouraging wide access, increasing visitor numbers and raising the museum profile, creating new audiences.
    They will mainly be from Greater Manchester.

    They meet the criteria set out in the Community Gallery Information sheet available at:

    Proposed exhibitions are assessed by a panel of PHM staff and community members and the final programme ensures a balance of varied exhibitions.

    Some of the exhibitions have included Voices of Kosovo in Manchester ( , Made in Eccles ( and  a number of exhibitions by Venture Arts (

    Some of these are HLF funded and some are not. Increasingly we are being contacted by groups before they submit bids, where we act as partners.

  16. View Christopher Burgess's profile Christopher Burgess
    Offline | Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
  17. As part of the HLF funding for the BAM! Sistahood! Project (a community centric digital heritage project that is researching and engaging wide and diverse audiences in black and minority ethnic women’s heritage in the north east of England)- we have held 5 larger exhibitions and 6 community based smaller/mini- exhibitions. These have taken place in museums, universities, libraries and community based settings around the region, but mostly in Newcastle upon Tyne. 

    Two examples of the exhibitions we have organised include the ‘Arrivals’ exhibition at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle that looked at BME women’s journeys and their experiences of arriving in Newcastle and the significance of the BAM! Sistahood! Project in the context of regional heritage. Another exhibition that we held at Northumbria University was called ‘Tapestries’ and was an exhibition of women’s photographs from the project, where they represented themselves rather than becoming the represented ‘other’ that BME women often become in heritage narratives and exhibitions.

  18. View Rosie Lewis's profile Rosie Lewis
    Offline | Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
  19. Hello Catherine here:

    In addition, we have also co-curated small displays and ‘pop up’ exhibitions in partnership with community groups and organisations during our Play Your Part project.  These included Another gentle season with Manchester CND (, Pride in Progress ( with members of the LGBT+ community and an exhibition about local co-operatively owned football club FC United (

  20. View Christopher Burgess's profile Christopher Burgess
    Offline | Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago


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