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As they take a break for the Summer holidays we catch up with the Horniman Youth Panel to see what they've been up to this year.
We are the Horniman Youth Panel and we create fantastic events for people of all ages in the local community. Here is a review of our experience of organising and running some events at the museum in the last year.
Last November, we hosted our ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ youth event which proved hugely successful with 470 attendees. The event featured live music from local young talent, fortune telling, and much more.
To bring this project to life we had to work as a team. We designed posters and distributed them to local schools to raise awareness of the night, and on the night created a rota to ensure that everyone had a role to play on the night.
To celebrate the opening of the Robot Zoo in March we ran an event for families: ‘Cogs + Claws’.
We used African drums, masks, and puppets from the museum’s Hands on Base to tell fables full of animals, acting out stories with the children. The event also featured a near-impossible buzzer challenge, which one amazing child managed to complete winning a chocolate prize. Children also created the ultimate beast in a messy, but creative, arts and crafts challenge – we rushed around frantically with glitter and pom-poms to help them finish their creatures in time.
Keep an eye on the Horniman’s twitter account on 11 August as we are put in control for Kids in Museums ‘Teen Twitter Takeover’.
Artist Rachel Emily Taylor has been working at the Horniman as part of an Arts Council Award project, Charmed & Hypnotised. The project explores the Horniman's collection of British charms and amulets.
Working alongside hypnotherapist Lorna Cordwell, with the support of Professor Giuliana Mazzoni, Rachel collaborated with members of the local community to explore the benefits of the charms through touch and hypnotic inductions. The participants were not told what the charm was before they worked with it and their experience was audio recorded.
The project allowed for the participants to think outside the standard set of meanings presented in relation to the objects. For example, rather than reading facts about the origin of the item, they could focus on the temperature of the object: was it hot or cold?
The audio recordings can be considered as an alternative “caption” to accompany the Horniman objects.
The research was disseminated through art workshops with the Horniman Youth Panel.
The group listened to the recordings and, without seeing what the object was, drew what they thought it might be. Like a game of Telephone.
The artwork made during the workshop with the Horniman Youth Panel will be included in a publication and an exhibition on the project, which will take place at V22 Louise House in August 2017.
Funded through the National Lottery by Arts Council England.
The Horniman Youth Panel set out to explore how Egyptian culture and history is represented in Hollywood Movies.
We learned to think critically about the film props in these movies while having a chance to experiment with script writing, directing voice acting and basic filmmaking techniques with the video artist Patrick Hough.
The workshop began with a brief introduction to Patrick’s artistic practice, looking at early photography on Hollywood film sets in Morocco, to newer video works that use film props and green screen backdrops. We then briefly looked at a range of short clips from films depicting Egypt, ranging from the fantastical to the historically accurate and discussed the visual elements from the sets, costumes and props, lighting while comparing and contrasting the different ways Egypt has been shown on film.
Later on, we worked with real physical film props loaned from a London prop house that are used in Egyptian movies. We explored their different material qualities – comparing them to the amazing Ancient Egyptian objects in our Hands on Base. We also discussed the varying degrees of accuracy these objects have in portraying cultures.
Finally, we broke up into two groups to develop a short script together. We were given a chance to create our own short film scene that gave a voice to the film prop and placed it in a theatrical context.
Participants directed the voice acting, choose the camera angles, light the scene and create direction notes for the editor.
Here are the final results – we hope you like them!
Find out how you can get involved with our Youth Panel.
We handed our precious Twitter account over to our Youth Panel for the day.
The 12 August 2016 was Teen Twitter Takeover, where cultural and heritage organisations across the UK handed their Twitter feeds over to teenagers using the hashtag #takeoverday.
This year, 73 museums were involved – and we were one of them.
The Youth Panel decided at one of their regular meetings that for this year's Teen Twitter Takeover they wanted to hunt for Pokémon.
The group were interested in using the platform to show how this popular game can link to the Horniman collections by finding objects throughout the museum and gardens that look like the characters in the game.
So, at 12pm we gathered with the Youth Panel and gave them two iPads set up with the Horniman Twitter account.
The group started by asking people to tweet in a name or picture of a Pokémon. They were inundated with tweets asking for Evees and Pikachus almost immediately.
The next step was to find objects IRL (in real life) that looked like these Pokémon.
Luckily, the team know the Horniman really well and knew where to go to find foxes, masks and garden plants. The teens are also very Twitter-savvy and so took to the game like a Magicarp to water. The group were great at using the hashtag to interact with other museums throughout the day.
They also managed to squeeze in some interesting facts about the objects they were taking pictures of. Our Deputy Keeper of Natural History, Emma, was on hand to give the team more information about the animals - for example, did you know the Bittern is one of the rarest birds in the Uk and in its native Norfolk lands is also known as a Butterbump?
Our Youth Volunteering Co-ordinator, Beth Atkinson, said ‘This year’s IRL Pokehunt for #takeoverday was ace. The Youth Panel excelled themselves yet again in coming up with such a hilarious idea, running around like human Zigzagoons and making it actually happen! Well done guys!’
You can read our Storify of the Youth Panel’s tweets as well as Kids in Museums’ Storify of all the tweets from museums across the country.
Find out more about how to get involved with our Youth Panel.
We started off the session with a sneak preview of the Great Animal Orchestra exhibition, which opened at the Horniman on Sunday.
Then we headed outside, tasked with discovering the quietest spot in the Horniman Gardens. The challenge? To see if we could find anywhere where you could hear only natural sounds, and nothing manmade.
Using their knowledge of the Gardens, the Youth panel picked the spots where we might have the best chance, sticking to the Northern side of the Gardens in order to keep away from the noise of London's busy South Circular road.
The first stop was next to the Animal Walk, where the Horniman's Pygmy Goats certainly created a lot of noise, but since these are domesticated animals, was this natural? In any case, there was quite a bit of manmade noise here, from planes flying over to people picnicking.
Many of the Youth Panel chose to record the sounds by drawing a visual representation, taking inspiration from Great Animal Orchestra, where the pitches of different animal noises are displayed in a colourful 'spectogram'.
How would you record the pitch and volume of a bleating goat?
We moved on to the South Downs, creating a 'sound circle' (there was a collective groan) and sitting in silence for 3 minutes to carefully listen and record for any sounds around us.
Beth, our Youth Coordinator, may have been distracted by an overly-friendly moth.
Lots of natural sounds on the South Downs, but they were still overpowered by the noise of traffic an particularly sirens in the distance.
Next stop was the Meadow Field, the quietest place so far.
Another discussion struck up - was the noise of a ring-necked parakeet natural? The consensus was no, since it was an introduced species.
Our last stop was in the far north corner of the Gardens, tucked away by the end of the Nature Trail. The unanimous decision was that this was the quietest place to be found in the Gardens, provided you didn't catch a particularly rowdy game of football in the old boating pond.
By the end of the evening we had quite a collection of hand drawn spectograms, each representing 3 minutes of sound.
Youth can see the full collection of spectograms in the Youth Panel's Flickr album.
Some people may have got a bit carried away with spectogramming.
Some members decided to record the sounds we heard in each spot. Here are Nick's recordings:
Thanks to the Youth Panel for helping us create our own Horniman Sound Map and spectograms.
Our Body Adorned is one of many parts - it explores many different cultures, many different ways of adorning our bodies, and looks at history and the present in London.
One part of the exhibition which looks at contemporary ways of dressing in London is a number of wardrobe studies. Two of these wardrobes show what young people wear now and why.
A few weeks ago, our youth panel went shopping to Westfield in Stratford, along with exhibition co-curator Wayne Modest, to buy a series of outfits for the wardrobes.
Take a look at the video below to see a preview of what they bought.
HYPed - our great music after-hours event designed and run by the Horniman Youth Panel - happened last Saturday.
Some videos of the performances have made it to youtube - take a look at these performances by Kindred and Strings:
As part of the Stories of the World: London project, this weekend, we hosted the Horniman Museum's first youth conference. Challenging academics from across the UK and Europe, more than 100 young people came together to discuss the ways they are represented and how cultural organisations engage with them.