Yesterday Nana had the opportunity to audition for the role of elderly-canine-attempting-to-master-new-skills. It wasn’t easy, and it was certainly exhausting….but it was also stimulating, exciting and, above all, fun. Did she get the part? Well…..
This was the first workshop of the Afterlife of Heritage: Research to Public venture; a project organised by Arts Methods@Manchester (an AHRC-funded research hub) and delivered by the combined forces of the University of Salford and the Institute for Cultural Practices at the University of Manchester.
The whole set up is a little like The Apprentice; potential candidates submit a proposal and, if selected, are invited to attend two intensive training workshops, identify a cultural institution to partner them and submit a well-developed bid to bring an aspect of their research to the public through the auspices of said cultural institution. The six or so winners selected from the final bids will receive peppercorn funding to set the whole process in real-life motion.
It’s all very exciting and Nana was awfully chuffed make it to the second round workshops. It was the first of these that saw Nana fretting over weather forecasts and rising at the crack of dawn to take the train from Bristol to the University of Manchester.
The Apprentice analogy doesn’t quite fit, though – mercifully there’s no Lord Sugar, and Suzanne Spicer, Kostas Arvanitis and Emily McIntosh can’t be said to resemble Margaret Mountford, Nick Hewer or Karren Brady.
No, we’re definitely on a safer footing with the canine analogy…. and it was a little like Crufts.
The room was bristling with bright-eyed, alert, best-of-breeds and as the day progressed we were put through our Obedience Ring paces.
Then Best-in-Show guest speaker, Jenna Carine Ashton – a warm whirlwind of creative energy – was brought in to show us how it was really done (see just some of her impressive range on her colourchroma blog).
Lunched like champions, checked and biddable, in the afternoon we were carefully given the scent and drafted out; a baying pack of keen researchers released on the trail….
So, is it possible to overturn an adage? All Nana knows so far is that there’s much joyful learning to be had in the trying…