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Building creative communities: How does a university museum work with family learning in a challenging community context?

Author(s): Celine West

Journal: University Museums and Collections Journal
ISSN 2071-7229

Volume: 2;
Start page: 65;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: museum | family learning | object

UCL Museums and Collections have worked with parents and children in the London Borough of Haringey for the past 4 years. The successful partnership between the Collections’ education officer and Haringey’s parental involvement coordinator has led to a sustained program of outreach in the Borough, mainly with parents at family learning workshops in schools, and with parents and primary school children in schools, children’s centers and play groups. Haringey is home to one of the most diverse populations in the UK, with a high proportion of recent immigrants as well as low levels of attainment at school, high levels of poverty and crime. Community cohesion is viewed as key to strategies for improvement; Haringey has been a leader in parental involvement in schools and in creative work with museums partnering schools for the past decade. This paper analyses the special impact a university museum can have in this context, with museum outreach used to engage parents not only in new subjects and their own creativity but also in understanding more of what and how their children learn and raising aspirations. Object handling workshops provide a forum for discussion with others in the community and often act as a starting point for people to tell their own stories for the first time.
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