Wandering around the Wolverhampton web

As a new blogger I have been looking around to see who else is blogging in Wolverhampton.  There’s some brilliant examples, here’s a couple of very local sites.

Wednesfield has its own local blog wv11, I am very tempted by the cake fest (but I should point out that we’ve got the best chocolate cake in Wolverhampton, at the Art Gallery and Bantock House – all baked in Tettenhall!).  This site also appears on the yam yam.

Speaking of Tettenhall nice blog too, including some information on the heritage of the village.  Glad to see that they have made use of images from the Black Country history website, check it out for images of places near you.

Are there any more local blogs that I am missing?  Let me know. 

Update:  Steph has just told me there is a Sedgely blog, I’ve found it, it’s called Sedgeleyscene.

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Museums Association Conference – importance of networks

Great conference, opening in the blazing sunshine which attracted masses of people to Brighton, affording me the luxury of gazing at the sea while siting in a traffic jam on the sea front.

There is something about being beside the sea and hearing the drag of the waves on the pebbles.  Reminded me of Bill Fontana’s fab new commission, White Noise,  outside the Wellcome Foundation on Euston Road.  Fontana uses sound as a sculptural form creating a three dimensional space, without visual barriers, through which you can move.

The most compelling paper for me at conference was given by John Holden of Demos.

Based on the publication Network Citizens, he discussed the power of networks as a new, dynamic, organisational structure.  He argues that organisations with traditional hierarchical structures are good at producing products but that networks, with their fluid structures and emphasis on a complex network of relationships are a stronger model for the future.

I love this model because it’s purpose driven; bringing people together to achieve a particular outcome.  We all know that in reality things happen because people know people who know…. Every member of the network is equally important as each contribution is key to success.  I also like the idea that networks evolve and  disappear as the purpose shifts or is achieved.

Wolverhampton Arts and Heritage has found networks a great way to share expertise and make things happen.  We are part of Turning Point West Midlands, a network made up of artists/makers and visual ars organisations coming together to build and strengthen an infrastructure for the visual arts and crafts in the region.  Check out Matt Price’s new essay.  The Marches Network, formerly the Marches Curators Group, represents museum services  of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and the Black Country delivering joint projects such as the mobile museum bus, available for hire across the West Midlands; it can get to those places that are hard to reach!

Mobile museum bus

The mobile museum bus

 

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Museums Association Conference – why I am going

It’s that time of year again when the conference gives me a chance to catch up with colleagues about the museum sector.  This year it is going to be particularly interesting as I feel that the current uncertainties are making us all think about what museums are about.  Having lived through the economic upheavals of the 1980s I know that from tricky times interesting things can arise.

Talking about upheavals, one of the things on my mind is of course what museums have to offer after the riots. 

Some of you will have seen the Sky footage with rioters sitting outside the Wolverhampton Art Gallery and I was inundated with calls of support the following day.   I have to say that although it was pretty scary leaving the Gallery, I walked back into the city by myself at about 8pm to check the building and everything was fine – I met a lovely lady who wanted to go to the cash machine and I went with her.  We had a long chat about the community work she was doing in Heath Town. 

For many it was a dreadful evening but the media somehow makes these things look worse than they really are.  Even the police were using social media (we used Supt Mark Payne tweets to keep track of what was going on) to counter myths and rumours.   

I see that there’s a session about the documenting of social unrest at this year’s conference.   I think we need to be talking about something else.  We need to make the case that culture and heritage helps to make communities more cohesive.  I think that what we do now will make a difference as to whether there are riots again.

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