Coming to a living room near you…

Charlotte Spink, a Learning Assistant in our Learning and Engagement Team, reflects on transitioning Little Dragons under 5s group from a multi-sensory museum-based programme to a digital session families access from home during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Charlotte presenting Little Dragons from the Galleries at the Oriental Museum
Creating digital content in the Oriental Museum galleries

Lockdown brought with it many changes to ways of working in museums, especially when it comes to engaging with our very youngest visitors – preschool children and their families. Little Dragons, the Oriental Museum’s group for children under 5 has been running as a weekly gallery-based session for over 8 years, attracting an average of 15-20 children per session.  Each session is themed around exploring an object the children can see on display, with craft activities, songs and sensory stories. All these activities were very much based on sensory engagement, communicating directly with each individual child and personalising the session for them.

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RLUK Collections: a virtual tour of our shared treasures

Durham University Library and Collections is a member of Research Libraries UK (RLUK), a consortium of the most significant research libraries in the UK and Ireland. As many members entered lockdown in March, Dr David Prosser (Executive Director of RLUK) took a virtual tour of RLUK member’s special collections via Twitter (#RLUKCollections), including those at Durham University, to highlight just a small selection of the extensive, diverse, and unique collections held within the member libraries and archives.

We have (with permission) highlighted here Durham’s brief entry, and provided links to each of the others, as an opportunity to quickly sample some of the many treasures held within the British Isles.

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Multicultural Amman: Engaging Jordan’s Youth (Part 1)

إشراك جيل الشباب الأردني في التعلم عن ماضي عمّان وتعدد ثقافاتها (ممول من المعهد البريطاني

Ross Wilkinson, Learning and Engagement Manager, reflects on an ongoing collaborative learning project which stretches from Durham to Jordan:

Back in the heady pre-lockdown days of August 2018, I received an email from a colleague in Archaeology, Dr. Arwa Badran Arwa asked to meet as she was putting funding towards a project to help youth engagement in museums and needed the support of the Learning and Engagement Team. I had worked with Arwa previously on the Museum and Artefacts MA course, and at this point I assumed a simple engagement with local partner museums in the region or possibly wider, nationally…  

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A Virtual Tour of Norman Cornish: The Sketchbooks #CultureinQuarantineMW

Norman Cornish: The Sketchbooks was an exhibition held at Palace Green Library from 23 November 2019 – 1 March 2020, forming part of the programme to mark the centenary of the birth of the celebrated County Durham artist. Colleagues from the Museums, Galleries and Exhibitions team worked closely with the Cornish family to present a selection of around 60 of the artist’s little-seen sketchbooks, along with carefully chosen finished paintings to provide a rich insight into Cornish’s working practice and development as an artist. The exhibition was designed to offer an intimate look at Cornish’s life and work, touching on his career as a miner, how his family encouraged and inspired his art and the many subjects for drawing and painting provided by the community of his home town of Spennymoor.

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Learning Online #MuseumFromHome

In a pre-coronavirus world, we at the Learning and Engagement Team spent our days engaging school children; families; community groups and those with access requirements to enjoy and use the truly amazing collections of Durham University. We were able to work with all walks of life in amazing buildings – with equally amazing collections –  Durham Castle, Palace Green Library and the Oriental Museum and hopefully, raise aspirations for young people in our region to go to university and have as much fun with researching collections as we do. 

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Calligraphy Support Scheme #MuseumsUnlocked

Gillian Ramsay is an Assistant Curator at the Oriental Museum, part of the University Library and Collections family. She kindly shared her recent blog post for the Islamic Art Subject Specialist Network about the work being done in partnership with them from our collections. Thank you so much to all of the staff at Museums for sharing the fascinating collections during lockdown; this is an especially well-timed post as it touches on Ramadan, which is currently being celebrated by Muslims all over the world. 

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Escape From Durham University Library

Last Friday – Valentine’s Day – Durham University Library and Collections welcomed a class of 35 year 10 pupils (and 3 teachers) from Southmoor Academy in Sunderland. The pupils were there to learn about who we are and what we do, as well as sampling a little of what life at university is like when it comes to finding and using resources.

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A visit to an academic library on Valentine’s Day – whats not to love?!

This was my first experience of accompanying a group of this age. As the Faculty Librarian for the Business School I work with undergraduates, postgraduates and staff. But not schoolkids. I have two teenagers of my own. I come to work to get away from them…!

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An Audience with Bill Bryson

On Wednesday 29th January, we welcomed acclaimed author and former Chancellor Bill Bryson back to the Library that bears his name.  Bill hosted a Q and A in Small Island Coffee which, fittingly, was named after one of his books, Notes from a Small Island.  He has been quoted as saying,

“I couldn’t believe that not once in twenty years had anyone said to me: ‘You’ve never been to Durham? Good God, man, you must go at once! Please – take my car’.”

We were delighted to welcome Bill back to the town he so loves!

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Using Art To Create A Conversation For World AIDS Day

If you have visited the Bill Bryson Library in the last few days you may have seen the neon sculpture 36point7 on display at the Help and Information Desk.

The artwork is part of the University’s Art Collection and is on display until 13th December to mark World AIDS Day. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and takes place on 1st December every year. It is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Continue reading “Using Art To Create A Conversation For World AIDS Day”

Christmas Wish Tree

Christmas has arrived! Well, actually it hasn’t – there’s still 3 more weeks to go. But you’d never know that, given the number of Christmas trees that have sprung up over the last few days. From where I am sat in the Bill Bryson Library shared office I can count seven that have appeared on the desks of various colleagues in the last few days! SEVEN!

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