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museumaker - Richard Jackson at The Lightbox, Woking

  • Date: 15 April 2013
  • Artform: Museums
  • Area: National
geometric outdoors light sculpture by Richard Jackson at The Lightbox for museumaker Exchanging Luminance by Richard Jackson at The Lightbox, Photo: Matthew Andrews

museumaker was a prestigious national project involving 16 museums across the country. The programme encouraged museums and makers to collaborate by providing financial support and expert advice, which enabled them to draw on each other's rich resources, take creative risks and trial new ideas.

Background

The Lightbox is a museum and gallery, working with makers and artists is central to its mission. The specific objective for the museumaker project was to have a legacy that would make the entrance to the building less daunting and encourage more people to come in.

The installation: Exchanging Luminance

The installation, Exchanging Luminance by Richard Jackson, combines glass, stainless steel and LED lighting inspired by the essence of the building and its collections. Jayne Pritchard, the Visitor Services Manager thinks it fit the brief perfectly. She said: 'It gives a 'stepping stone' on the way from the entrance gates to the door, lights the path when it is dark, references the structure and shape of the building as well as specific items in its collection.'

The process

There were no problems in the commissioning or the design. The only problem in the installation was that ground works and materials (aluminium) were more expensive than budgeted. The retail products created by Richard, aluminium tea lights, have not sold. It is not clear why. The shop has reduced the price. The community engagement strand alongside had two groups: one with The Park School, a school for children with special needs, and one with the Moorcroft centre, a drop in centre for the elderly. The two groups made lights using different materials such as wire, bamboo, tissue paper etc.

Lessons

Jayne explained the lessons from the project were: '[That] it is important to understand the process of making, the different stages and how they work.' And to 'Give makers as much support as you can.'

Organisational impact

The legacy from the museumaker project is:

  • The Lightbox liked one of the applicants they interviewed for the museumaker project, James Lethbridge, but his work was not ideally suited to exhibiting outside, so they have now bought his products for the shop.
  • the first Making Connections exhibition showed work by Richard Jackson and Sally Fawkes, contrasting the blade like edges, and complex volumes of Richard's work, with the organic, smooth curves of Sally's sculptures.
  • the retail consultant advised against online sales because experience elsewhere suggested take up would be low. The Lightbox accepted this, not least because it is more important to get people to come into the building than for them to order online.

You can download the full case study by Annabel Jackson Associates Ltd, which includes feedback from participants here.

Copyright Annabel Jackson Associates Ltd and museumaker, June 2011. Not to be reproduced in part or whole without prior permission. Website: www.annabeljacksonassociates.com