Six museums in the North East, Yorkshire and the North West of England have been selected to take part in Meeting Point, an Arts Council England funded programme that partners museums and artists, resulting in the creation of new artworks, each inspired by an individual venue and its collections.

The programme, which is led by contemporary arts agency Arts&Heritage, aims to attract new audiences to the participating venues by placing contemporary artwork in unexpected spaces, and also helps museum staff to gain skills in commissioning and working with artists.

The six participating venues are Colne Valley Museum in Huddersfield; Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh, Northumberland; Port Sunlight Village Trust in Merseyside; Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust; Warrington Museum and Art Gallery; and Washington Old Hall in Tyne and Wear (pictured).

Judith King, Creative Director from Arts&Heritage said: “This is the third time we have run Meeting Point – a year-long action learning programme for museums and heritage organisations.  Each participating venue will gain new skills from the experience, resulting in the creation of six new site-responsive artworks, each produced by an artist working closely with the museum team, its collections and the local community.”

Melanie Williams, Trustee at Colne Valley Museum, said: “We are delighted Colne Valley Museum has been chosen as one of six museums to take part in the project. This gives us a fantastic opportunity to commission contemporary artists to produce new work inspired by the experience of visiting the museum and its setting. Building on the museum’s recent redevelopment, we hope to take full advantage of our great new exhibition space and allow the community to experience the museum and its collections in new and exciting ways.”

Helen Featherstone, director of Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust said: “Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust is thrilled to be part of Meeting Point. We’re really excited about the prospect of being able to commission contemporary art in our heritage setting, and we hope this will delight our regular visitors whilst also appealing to those who may not ordinarily think that we are a place for them.”

Katherine Lynch, Director of Heritage at Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT), said: “Meeting Point has come at an ideal time for Port Sunlight Village Trust. In 2018/19 we will launch an exciting new five-year plan and the programme directly supports our ambitious plans relating to community participation and the development of Port Sunlight as a visitor destination. For us, it presents an exciting opportunity to appeal to new audiences, to take a fresh approach to telling our story, and to animate the village landscape. We are really excited to work with an artist and our community on this very special project.”

Sarah Murray, Operations Manager at Washington Old Hall, said: “Washington Old Hall has seen a tremendous amount of history and people so we’re thrilled to be involved with this project. It’s an exciting opportunity to work alongside artists and will enable us to tell the stories of this special place through a new and different creative lens. We hope to involve the local community, developing partnerships through the fantastic team and volunteers.”

The museums will participate in a series of workshops and visits to artists’ studios, before working with Arts&Heritage to commission an artist to work with them on the creation of a new piece of artwork. The artists will be selected by the museum teams from a range of submissions put forward by interested artists and nominators.

Steph Allen, Executive Director from Arts&Heritage added: “We have a group of absolutely fascinating museums, ranging from converted 19th century weavers’ cottages at Colne Valley, through to an entire village and its residents at Port Sunlight. In previous years’ we have seen venues and artists work together to create a huge floating sculpture, film installations and even a beer brewed using elements of a local recipe, so I can’t wait to see what this group of museums will inspire.” 

This is the third Meeting Point programme, building on the success of two previous programmes which have seen a total of 19 museums working with 24 curators to create 19 new artworks and over 100 workshops.   

Arts&Heritage is funded by Arts Council England.

Find out more at www.artsandheritage.org.uk