An interpretation seminar took place at the Women's library on Monday 13th March.
The seminar was facilitated by Nick Dixon, senior consultant (museums and heritage) for ABL Cultural Consulting. Others in attendance were, from the London Metropolitan University Pages team- Nici Oxley, Rosemary McGoldrick, Babette Pauthier, Lynda Brockbank, Francesca Vilalta, Claire Muldoon, Clancy Davies and Annie Spinster, and from the Women's Library - Antonia Byatt, Gail Cameron, Fiona Moorhead, Fiona Duffy and Teresa Doherty.
We began with a detailed PowerPoint presentation by Nick, around the themes of audience development and exhibition interpretation, supported with statistical data from the Women's Library on attendance figures and audience profiles for past exhibitions. We were asked to think about and discuss the questions - Who is Pages for? and What is Pages about?
Attention was drawn to the Pages concept displayed on the blog and current publicity leaflets, in particular the following sentences:
"The principle is to exhibit an anthology of collected work from women practitioners of the highest calibre in the widest variety of disciplines"
"As a large exhibition with many platforms in different venues, Pages will provide the first opportunity in a generation for women to record and proclaim, in highly visible public arena in a world city, the influence of other women as tutors, guides exemplars and seers."
It was felt by some that these particular sentences should be given more prominence in the way we describe what Pages is about.
We discussed the Women's Library's stated aim to provide access to archive material on women's issues and women's history, and how Pages relates to this. We also discussed the role of the Women's library website - a portal to searchable resources, and the proposed Pages website - a place for discussion and a virtual Pages venue.
Following a short break, we had an open-floor discussion on the proposed project development, in terms of timescale and priorities. While fundraising was felt to be an urgent priority, the following areas were also identified as important immediate concerns, some of which will facilitate fundraising:
Project Management - it was suggested that a steering committee be set up with members from the LMU and the Women's Library
Research - the ongoing generation of potential content and potential Pages participants, including research delivery scheduled for the end of May.
Vision - identifying the scope of the project and programming development
Identification of potential venues
Evaluation methods - we discussed the possibility of beginning evaluation very shortly, the process continuing for the duration of the exhibition and afterwards. It was suggested that one or more of the student researchers could take on the job of project evaluation, providing them with valuable experience and saving precious funds.
Communication - we discussed ways of improving communication between the Women's Library and the LMU team. The Women's Library team are all very welcome to join the blog. It was suggested that there should be a second "nuts and bolts" blog, but on reflection it seems more practical to rely on group email for day to day communication. We also discussed opportunities for the Women's Library team to attend some research presentations at LMU.
The interpretation seminar lasted approximately 4 1/2 hours.