Week 9 – Talking Points workshop with Jack Cornell (and Nicola)

This week the group had a taster session introducing an opportunity to get involved in a wider project:

‘Talking Points is a participatory youth arts project led by artists Jack Cornell and Nicola Hutchison. The project is a place-based artist commission from Essex Cultural Diversity Project. The artists are using the commission to work with young people in Harlow, giving participants a voice and platform to explore diversity issues that are important to them. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn new arts skills on the way. It is a collaborative project in which young people will be allowed to take the lead. Groups involved include Livewire, Young Curators, and Integration Support Services, with support from The Gibberd Gallery and Harlow Playhouse.’

We started with a challenge around building load-bearing structures with limited materials.

And then moved on to some work with resistant materials and tools.

The project will continue over half term, finishing with an event in The Harvey Centre on Saturday 23rd February 2019. Look out for pop-up performances involving drama, humour, sculpture and dance. The project will be exploring issues of conflict between minorities/majorities- who has the power and how does this shape our stories?

Week 8 – Evaluating the first show

An excellent first exhibition, but still lots to reflect on and learn for next time. Here are some of the things the public liked about the exhibition:

‘I liked the welcome. I also liked the variations of artwork’

‘The space and work has been considered and is effective. Love the use of space!’

‘The people talking to us are brilliant- wish I could do that.’

‘The range of different styles- all fantastically executed and lovely to see they started as young curators’

People also responded that the exhbition made them feel:

Calm; stunned; wowed; inspired; thoughtful; intrigued; joyous; interested; enlivened; excited; happy; amazed; entertained; encouraged to want to draw; impressed with the skills; and hopeful for the future of the arts.

What great evidence of the fantastic contribution the young people of Harlow make to their community!

Visitors arrive at the opening event (spot the comments box on the left!)


Week 7 – Opening the exhibition!

Curating Harlow is now open at Harlow Playhouse!

The team planned and hosted an opening event attended by around 50 guests. Many thanks to the Harlow Playhouse team for making us so welcome.

The Young curators did an exceptional job of planning and hosting- everyone contributed to the team effort and the event ran without a hitch. The exhibition itself received much praise, not least from the artists who had contributed their work and were pleased to see it carefully and thoughtfully displayed. Huge congratulations and thanks to the young people and to everyone involved.

Many thanks to everyone who attended the opening. If you weren’t able to attend,  please pop in any time during Harlow Playhouse open hours and see the exhibition- further info on the event page. Remember to let the Young Curators know your thoughts by leaving a comment in the comments box!

Week 5 & 6 – Planning and preparing the Exhibition

Each of the Young Curators has taken on a responsibility of part of the planning, to enable them to show leadership. Of course their roles all interact, so they have been using their communication and teamwork skills too. It has been really exciting to see how well everything is coming together- I’m already extremely impressed with the group’s achievements.

The exhibition is nearly ready to open next week. Find further details (and examples of the excellent promotional materials created by the team) on the event page.

Week 4 – New project: Harlow Playhouse!

On Sunday, Young Curators were treated to magic, creativity and hilarity at the fantastic Harlow Playhouse Panto, Aladdin (that flying carpet! Jaw-dropping!) Then at the Tuesday session, we were given a backstage tour by Commercial & Development Manager, Kirstie. What a fascinating and generous way to welcome us to Harlow Playhouse, which will be our home for the next four weeks- many thanks to the Harlow Playhouse team!

Planning has now started in earnest for the Young Curators’ first public exhibition, ‘Curating Harlow’ – a show of alumni work which will open at Harlow Playhouse on 29th January.

The group chose their leadership roles and started planning straight away. There’s LOTS to do (and I don’t just mean the ‘to do’ list they sent me home with! Um, best get on to that next…) but I already feel confident the team will put on an impressive show.

Week 3 – Curating Team Challenge

We warmed up with a quick look around the Watercolour Collection – what factors help a curator decide where and how to display a work?

Then straight into the challenge! The teams were faced with a table full of postcard-sized art works, and the task of choosing a set for their team to display.

Next, the spaces- which of the panels in the Hideaway Gallery would suit their collection? How would they hang their works?

Some really creative ideas came to the fore, and it was clear a lot of thought had gone into the choice of artworks, the connections between them, andhow these connections could be made visible.

Week 2 – Talking about art


This week, the Young Curators met Kate Harding, Artistic Director for Harlow Art Trust. Kate welcomed us to the Gibberd Gallery and talked us through the current exhibition, STAIR02: Paloma Proudfoot | Metropolitan Wares.

We then did some activities around developing the skills to talk about art. Here’s one of the reasons this is so important, in the words of Alumna Jemma:

‘Before my time here I really struggled to talk about my artwork and this shied me away from ever speaking of it. Since going on this journey I have gained confidence in myself and the ability to talk about my work.’ – Jemma

One of the tasks was an exercise in teams, each team taking a single piece from the collection to look at really closely and write down everything they could think of to say about it. We always use the same pieces for this task, and I love the way the participants always manage to say something I’ve never heard before!

Finally, we started work on exhibition reviews- watch this space.

Week 1 – Getting to know each other

It was excellent to gather the group together for the first time. Very few of the young people had met before, and they did a great job of making each other feel welcome and included. One member commented that the session was less formal than they had expected (and they were pleased.) Another said they felt they were starting to make friends already, which was great to hear.

One of our icebreaker activities involved 3 minute drawings.  What is it like to stare each of a dozen new people in the face for three minutes at a time? By the end of it, we all knew each other’s names, that’s for sure. And we all had a set of wonderful, anonymous drawings of ourselves to keep. Below are some of the drawings of me. I really like the way the different sides of how I was feeling show in the different drawings: I was clearly concentrating, but one picture also captures that I was smiling A LOT! It was a pleasure to start work with such a sincere, engaged group of young people- I feel sure they will achieve great things.

Exciting interviews

Last week we were delighted to interview students from every secondary school in Harlow, plus Harlow College, Leventhorpe School, and Hockerill Anglo-European College.

On the interview panel we were very pleased to be able to include a Young Curators Alumna, Jemma. We were particularly excited to be able to offer Jemma her first experience of ‘being the other side of the table’ at an interview and we hope being part of this process has increased her confidence and skills. She did an excellent job of explaining the project, helping interviewees to feel comfortable, and of course asking one of our set questions. Jemma is Currently studying for an arts degree in Norwich, and could recently be found selling her beautiful prints on Harlow Makers Market.

‘I recently returned to help interview for this year’s young curators, I found this a crazy experience being on the other side of the table as I could feel exactly how my own interview had gone. By experiencing what interviewers are trying to draw out from an interview, this has showed me that interviews should not be feared but an opportunity to showcase someone’s brilliance.’ – Jemma


Every young person we met for interview made an excellent effort- we were so impressed by how articulate and skilled they all were, and we really enjoyed seeing their art work and hearing about their interests. It was exceptionally difficult to choose (we wanted to accept everybody!) We hope everyone who was not offered a place will apply again next year, and meanwhile will check our news pages for other opportunities to participate during the year. We thank all of you for the valuable time and effort you put in.

We would also like to thank all the teachers and families who encouraged and supported their young people to apply, and brought them to the gallery to take part. We look forward to staying in touch with you all throughout the project.

New Website!

Welcome to our new Young Curators website, currently under development. Please check back for news- we will be updating soon.