'A Childhood with the Surrealists' (2012)

'A Childhood with the Surrealists' (2012)

Study underlines New Expressions 2 achievements and work still to be done

By New Expressions

09 November 2012

The New Expressions partnership has published an Executive Summary of the findings of an evaluation study looking at the second phase of this regional contemporary art and heritage collaborative programme.

New Expressions 2 ran between 2010 and 2012. It set out to create a culture of joint-working between museums and contemporary artists in South West England, unlocking the creative potential of collections and spaces and generating powerful visitor experiences.

The evaluation study found clear evidence of the programme’s success in building museum staff confidence in working with contemporary artists to develop ambitious creative projects. It found that artists were and stretched and inspired by the chance to engage with historic collections, challenging them to take their creative practice in new directions.

The report revealed that many audience members had their first encounter with contemporary art as a result of the programme – more than 30 per cent of people interviewed at the shows had little or no previous experience of contemporary work. Meanwhile, audience responses were shown to include high levels of intrigue, enjoyment, provocation and captivation.

The evaluation report also highlighted areas where there is still important work to be done, such as building artists’ understanding of the complexities involved in working with public collections and increasing museum curators’ knowledge of high quality contemporary art and artists.

New Expressions 2 was funded by MLA Renaissance South West, the National Lottery through Grants for the Arts and the Museum Development Fund.

Work is currently underway to develop a third phase of the New Expressions programme, New Expressions 3.

The Executive Summary can be downloaded from the New Expressions website downloads page.