Making an Impression

Dulwich Picture Gallery,  2019 

In 2019, I collaborated with Dulwich Picture Gallery on a unique outreach project titled "Making an Impression." Working alongside artist Rosalie Schweiker , we engaged with a diverse family group through the gallery's outreach programme, which primarily targeted individuals from global majority and working-class backgrounds. Our goal was to create an accessible and interactive resource for families visiting the gallery.

The project began with a series of workshops where we invited a select group of families from these underrepresented backgrounds to participate. These workshops were instrumental in helping us design and develop the publication, "Making an Impression." By observing and interacting with these families, we gained insights into how they engaged with the activities and the gallery space. This feedback was crucial in shaping the content and format of the publication.

One of our key workshops involved creating life size self portraits, inspired by the traditional classic portraits in the gallery. Families painted their own portraits, which we then displayed alongside the posh old-world paintings, making a powerful statement about inclusion and representation. We also conducted shadow puppet workshops and facilitated portrait sessions where participants dressed up and took photos, encouraging families to see themselves within the context of the gallery's historic environment.

The publication was designed to be an accessible resource for other families visiting the gallery, helping them interact with the exhibitions in a meaningful way. Activities within the publication included a circular viewfinder cutout to focus on specific details in the gallery, and suggestions for at-home projects like painting portraits, making shadow puppets, and creating origami inspired by the gallery's exhibits.

Our aim was to break down the intimidating atmosphere often associated with formal galleries, making the space feel more welcoming and inclusive. By providing free tickets within the publication, distributed locally, we also addressed financial barriers to entry, ensuring that more families from working-class and global majority backgrounds could access and enjoy the gallery.

The Risograph printed resource, "Making an Impression," was designed to be truly accessible, encouraging children and their parents or guardians to participate together. This made the gallery experience a bonding activity, ensuring that everyone, regardless of age, could engage creatively and actively with the gallery. Our goal was to create a safe and friendly environment within a traditionally formal space, welcoming families who are currently underrepresented.