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Three Dimensional Design

Manchester School of Art


Bryony Robins

Graduated 1992

Museum and Gallery Learning Project Manager
Renaissance East Midlands

I am involved in the development of learning programmes for galleries and museums. I currently manage the e-learning project for Renaissance East Midlands, a government funded initiative to develop regional museums.

Learning programmes support both formal education (schools and colleges) and informal learning for young people and adults. Programmes comprise of a variety of activities from; artist workshops to seminars, online learning resources, object handling boxes and special events. All of these aim to promote understanding and enjoyment of museums and galleries, and encourage audiences to become actively involved in and value museums.

Most galleries and museums have learning programmes that aim to engage and inspire, and provide a link between visitors and the organisation to better provide for audience needs. I enjoy seeing the results of my work; involvement in gallery learning encourages people to explore their creativity and can build confidence in understanding our culture. The rewards are in seeing the excitement of pupils or the surprise of visitors when they have created something they're really proud of.

Having attended a rather traditional school where girls were taught cookery and needlework whilst boys had fun with metal and woodwork, I had little experience of making. I only really got to find out just how exciting making could be on Foundation course. However, this left me realising how little I knew, so I chose a mixed media course in order to learn more about different materials and processes.

I really enjoyed both the practical side of the Three Dimensional Design course, but also the opportunities it opened in finding out more about contemporary arts work and practice; designing for industry, working in schools and visiting museums and galleries. All of these opportunities provided me with invaluable experience when it came to considering my career path and in applying for jobs and interviews.

Three Dimensional Design provides an excellent introduction to materials and techniques that was useful in the design work I did for industry. The broad range of media covered also enabled me to develop an understanding of objects and artworks. My first job was in a craft centre and involved interpreting work within temporary exhibitions – I didn't have time for a great deal of research so had to rely on knowledge and experience gained.

The course encourages students to develop their own projects and work plans, unlike curriculum driven school education. This helped me to develop an autonomous way of working that has proved invaluable in project management, notably in the areas of time planning and resourcing.

It has also been recognised that the creative processes used in designing are valuable problem solving skills that are essential in the workplace. Working through issues and coming up with creative solutions is a key skill in an active workplace that has to change and develop along with government initiatives.

After graduating I set up as a designer maker and worked for 5 years supplying craft galleries, exhibitions and undertaking residencies. I also worked part time in galleries and museums, developing complimentary experience.

My advice for students is: make the most of the opportunities on offer – you have access to fantastic studios and resources plus a wealth of opportunities to meet and work with designers, makers and within cultural organisations. It's a unique experience; enjoy it and make the most of the people you are working with.

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