UCL Museums & Collections
Research Impact Offers - Case Studies
Art By Animals
Slade school graduate Mike Tuck and artist Will Tuck approached the Grant Museum with the idea to create the first exhibition of artworks by multiple animal species and to use the unique setting of the Grant Museum to display paintings by elephants, chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans next to remains of the species that created them. The exhibition challenged definitions of what counts as art as well as raise issues of ethics.
The exhibition was co-curated with the Grant Museum manager, Jack Ashby who used his expertise in interpretation and marketing to deliver an engaging and accessible exhibition to the widest audience possible. UCL’s Exhibitions Co-ordinator Susie Chan mounted the works on paper and installed objects and display equipment in the museum. Grant Museum Curator Mark Carnall arranged borrowing objects from other museums to support the exhibition.
The exhibition was incredibly successful, receiving extensive national and international press coverage including radio and televisioninterviews, exhibition reviews and listings. Art By Animals featured in over 40 publications reaching millions of people from BBC radio, television and web coverage to The Sun newspaper and Spanish, French, German and Irish interest.
The exhibition attracted thousands of visitors to the museum and was extended due to demand. The total cost of the exhibition was £850 and 1-2 weeks of staff time.
Object Retrieval was a mass participation art project that took place from 15-21 October 2009 on a converted Routemaster bus in the main UCL Quad on Gower Street, London.
Object Retrieval was a project by internationally renowned artist Joshua Sofaer and UCL Contemporary Projects Curator Simon Gould, in association with UCL Museums & Collections. It was funded by the Wellcome Trust.
A single object from the UCL Pathology Collections was exhibited on the bus and explored by thousands of people from their own personal or professional perspectives for 7 days, 24 hours a day. These explorations were recorded on the project website in a wide range of media. The results were astonishing with contributions ranging from the hyper-scientific to childhood memories via the Gospels, Jack Kerouac, psychoanalysis and pretty much everything in between. While the event only lasted a week the knowledge and ideas that surrounded the object are still being generated to reveal new meanings.
Short-listed for a Museums & Heritage Award for Excellence in 2010, Object Retrieval worked equally well as an art project, public engagement, educational initiative, experimental research methodology, meditation on museum interpretation or a fun day out.
UCL Museums & Public Engagement run over 100 events per year from public lectures through to debates, comedy evenings, hands on sessions and film screenings that are attended by hundreds of visitors. The events are programmed, marketed and evaluated by staff at the museums to deliver high impact engagement to UCL’s key audiences in the campus and beyond.
By working with museums and collections to run an event you will receive guidance on how to plan an event to be as engaging as possible as well as accessing the established audiences of the events programme. Furthermore, the established marketing channels used by the museums bring the events to the widest possible audience and are regularly marketed through Timeout, UCL Brain Food and many online listing sites.
Beyond the event itself, UCL Museums & Public Engagement has expertise in undertaking evaluation to demonstrate success and there are options for follow-up activities including event write ups on the UCL Museums Blog or the UCL Events Blog.
The UCL Museums are some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring places on campus and play host to a number of receptions be it a book launch, AGM or networking event. Hosting a reception with a twist can be a great way to facilitate networking adding a sense of grandeur to proceedings in the relaxing atmosphere of a museum.