The Schools, Families and Young People’s team in the Learning Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum devises and delivers hundreds of activities every year. Our attention is focussed on supporting and developing our audience’s creativity and we work hard to ensure participants have high-quality experiences inspired by our collections and exhibitions. We rarely find the time to reflect on our own creative process and how we generate the ideas that fuel our programme of talks, tours, workshops, festivals, projects and performances.
A February afternoon with the ImaginationLancaster team was the perfect opportunity to step back from the daily pressure of deadlines and schedules and think about our practice as museum educators. Leon, Laura and Roger introduced a series of discussion-based activities that generated an inspiring mix of solutions –some were improbable and funny (‘vulgarnomics’ was a particular favourite); others were achievable and immediately try-out-able. We spent a lot of time discussing the office environment and how it could be used more effectively to support ideas development.
Within 24 hours of the workshop, the office has been tidied up, redundant noticeboards had been cleared and work-in-progress had been pinned up to encourage input from other team members. A week after the workshop, we instigated a shared calendar – every month, each team member will visit at least one exhibition, collection, event or performance and invite other colleagues along too. The session with ImaginationLancaster turned the tables – we weren’t workshop leaders but workshop participants, and we had the freedom to think differently about our professional roles and how we support our creative development, both individually and as part of the team.