In March and April 2019 Confidance led Creative Movement sessions for 2-4 year olds and their parents. Participants were invited to join Confidance to play, explore and create in a fun and nurturing space accompanied by an eclectic mix of music. In these sessions, space was made to share the love of moving, exploring and being creative together.

Sessions were held in the Learning Lab with integrated visits to the galleries where the children investigated objects from The Collection that were used to inspire movement and promote engagement.

Feedback from both children and parents indicated how beneficial the sessions had been. One parent commented that they: really enjoyed the sessions. We go to a number of groups and I have never come across any groups like this before. I wish there were more sessions as would love to do something like this regularly. Participants particularly enjoyed learning about the museum Collection during the active visits to the different galleries as part of the session: I didn’t observe all the things as closely, and I like the way they became part of the session.

Plus, children’s confidence improved too: I can see that my child is much more confident in leading the ‘copy’ dance activity. They also seem more confident in speaking in a group.

Research by the Scottish Government has shown that those who participated in a creative or cultural activity were 38% more likely to report good health compared to those who did not. For participants in dance, the figure reporting good health leapt to 62% (Leadbetter & O’Connor, 2013).

The arts, including music, dance, theatre, visual arts and writing are increasingly recognised as having the ability to support health and wellbeing (Public Health England – Daykin with Joss, 2016). For this reason, our second Health and Wellbeing project, Music in Museums, which was held in June and July 2019 and focused on the impact that music can have on participants’ wellbeing. 

Professional musician Joe Browne and music facilitator Helen Hendry led music exploration sessions for 2-4 year olds and their parents/carers and participants. During interactive sessions, participants were invited to create musical stories together inspired by the museum’s Collection and to experiment with different musical instruments to make new, exciting sounds. They had the opportunity to experiment with the following different musical instruments: drums, xylophones, maracas, tambourines, claves, bells, rain stick, thunder sticks, guiro, guitar and violin. Each child enjoyed something different – some didn’t like the loud instruments, whereas others loved them!

Parents commented that they enjoyed being in the museum setting: ‘Wandering around the museum, playing a variety of instruments and exploring the instruments.’ Further feedback revealed the benefits of the exclusive sessions: ‘A really lovely relaxed session.  Staff were very friendly and Joe leading it was great with the children.’ There was clear indication that engaging with items from the Collection was important: ‘We enjoyed the sounds from items found in the museum.’

Next up is our Art and Craft in Museums which will be led by professional artist, Xtina Lamb. We will be working with three different closed groups: visually impaired, those with dementia and their carers and a school group to recreate a trinity stained glass window installation. The artwork will be inspired by items from our collection and will form part of our exhibition in 2020 about Thomas Becket.

Please contact frances.chiverton@canterbury.org.uk if you would like any more information.

We have a number of artist commissions that are linked to Health and Wellbeing projects, you will find these listed on our Artist Opportunities page here:  http://canterburymuseums.co.uk/participate/artist-opportunities/