Unlocking the creative potential of collections
I began my involvement with New Expressions in 2008, having initiated the programme and undertaken its early development while at Museums, Libraries and Archives South West (MLA South West) and rekindled it two years later at The Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery (RAMM). Between 2011 and 2016 New Expressions was led by Plymouth City Council and achieved national reach.
The aim of New Expressions was to unlock the creative potential of museum collections through working with contemporary artists and offering fresh perspectives for audiences. Across eight years and three iterations, more than 30 museums and historic houses and 40 lead artists collaborated to create new work reaching an audience of over a million people. A programme of professional development events and field visits for museums and artists underpinned New Expressions.
The National Trust and the Contemporary Visual Arts Network helped shape a final iteration, New Expressions 3, which included The New Opportunities Award, enabling artists to make their own proposals for heritage collaboration for the first time.
Between 2011 and 2016 I managed the programme’s communications, advocacy and evaluation work. I also researched and produced a collection of case studies from the programme.