@MarDixon Passionate about culture. Champion for the next generation of Cultural visitors. Defender of Libraries. Glass Explorer. Digital and Tech Enthusiast. Sharing knowledge. Troublemaker and/or advocate, depending on what you need.
  • A Museum Blog about @NHM_London #VEWPY, @BritishMuseum #GraysonPerry & Friends

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    October 22nd, 2011mardixonCulture

    On Thursday, 20th of October I traveled to London for a packed Cultural-filled day which started at the Natural History Museum, moved to V&A, British Museum, Convent Garden and finally Royal Society of Artists.

    The day started with meeting Laura Porter, London Travel Guide (@AboutLondon) and very good friend who I was taking as a guest to the Natural History Museums Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year preview event. Simon Quicke (@Insidebooks) met us at the event.

    The exhibition is the top selection of International wildlife photographers from amateurs to professional.  The preview gave us an opportunity to see all the fabulous photographs before it opened to the public, and also discuss the works with some of the photographers.

    Originally, I must admit I wasn’t sure what I was going to get out of this exhibition.  As Laura, Simon and I walked around, looking at the gorgeous photographs, I just couldn’t help thinking they *had* to be Photo Shopped or modified in some way. We were actually pointing to the deep blue water with no ripples or bubbles shown on‘False Killers, disguised dolphin’ by Clark Miller (USA) when Clark was introduced and explained that no, it was actually not Photo Shopped.  He then went into explaining the situation behind the photo.

    ‘They’re normally very cautious,’ he says, ‘and seldom approach divers,’ which is why close-up photos are rare. But these whales found something fascinating about me, stopping just a couple of metres away.’

    He also explained the specific details used to capture the photo (Canon EOS 7D, etc) but I must admit, I didn’t quite grasp any of it.

    Armed with this information, and inspired by Clark’s passion as he spoke, I went off to look at the photographs through enlightened eyes. ‘In the flick of a tail’ by David Lloyd (New Zealand) is an intriguing black and white photograph that captures a giraffes tail flicking in Kenya’s Masai Mara.

    There was another few photographs that really changed my opinion on this exhibition.  Additionally, using the NaturePlus interactive kiosk, I was able to choose the photos I liked in the exhibition and they are now uploaded to my NaturePlus account which I’m able to access via the Internet. I would suggest they put larger icons as it took the three of us to figure out the photographs from the very small displays.

    The family friendly exhibition that runs until March 2012 and is well worth the entrance fee.

    Laura and I headed over to the British Museum (after a brief stop in the V&A Sackler Centre Arts Education which was hopping with students working diligently on fashion and art projects).

    I met with another good friend Dan Thompson whom I originally met in Leeds.  Dan is an amazing guy who is creative and proactive.  You know the pictures of all the brooms in the air during the UKRiots?  That was Dan. #riotcleanup was THE most important turning point, and stopped the riots rolling into other cities.  Dan has been doing a lot of talks and interviews and promoting the positive people that got involved in the project and ensuring the UK and it’s citizens didn’t get tarred with a negative tone internationally.  (Feel free to donate to help him continue as he’s been paying for everything out of us pocket!).

    Dan and I attended the Grayson Perry exhibition.  I was really looking forward to this as all I’ve read about Grayson Perry meant this exhibition didn’t belong at the British Museum and would have been more at home in the Tate Modern.  But somehow, it worked.  I wasn’t overly impressed necessarily with the artefacts chosen individual, but the exhibition blended very well as a whole.  I don’t think the point of the exhibition was for every object to be ‘perfect’ as the theme is almost an celebration of craftsmanship and the journey it has taken over the centuries.

    Along with the artefacts, there were also some very thought-provoking quotes such as:

    ‘Part of my role as an artist is similar to that of a shaman or witch doctor. I dress up, I tell stories, give things meaning and make them a bit more significant.  Like religion this is not a rational process, I use my intuition. Sometimes our very human desire for meaning can get in the way of having a good experience of the world.  Some people call this irrational unconscious experience spirituality. I don’t.’

    Although I think Charlotte would have enjoyed the exhibition, I’m not sure many other kids would ‘get’ it.  But it was certainly fascinating and colorful.

    The exhibition runs until February 2012.

    Dan then introduced me to a wonderfully hidden area of Convent Gardens called Seven Dials – a fabulously funky and fresh area that is a mixed between New Orleans and Little Italy before we headed to RSA House where he had arranged for an interview on RiotCleanup to be conducted. Listening to Dan talk about all the hard work he put in during the riots, it’s no wonder David Cameron invited him to Number 10 recently.

    London has a lot of cultural for all ages.  It’s very inspiring that even on my way home on the train, I was able to talk to those around me about libraries and museums and hear their love and passion for them, even if they haven’t been in a while.

    One thing that did come out of this day was hearing Laura say she didn’t feel Natural History Museums was for adults.  We decided to let people decide on Kids in Museum LinkedIn page – feel free to add your opinion.

     

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