Showing the best in Sheffield

Nov 27 2012

This week Kirstie Hamilton gives us an insight into her role as Museums Sheffield's Exhibitions and Displays Manager.

As Exhibitions & Displays Manager I’m the first port of call for enquiries from artists, academics, organisations and individuals all wanting to talk about their ideas for exhibitions. Good ideas are always coming our way, but with limited time and increasingly tight resources how do I deal with all of these and not overlook them?  How do I progress the ideas already on the table or buzzing around our own offices? I love the fact that the concepts behind our exhibitions can and do come from all over the place but I do find it both exciting and daunting to be faced with such a wealth of possibilities and so many practical considerations. How do I move this on, where do I begin?

The starting point for our cross-departmental group tasked with discussing future exhibitions is always what might our visitors think? How might this tie in to our overall strategy, which is about bringing the best to Sheffield while championing the city’s own collections and talent? How might an exhibition or collaboration be funded and would it represent good value? What are the practicalities around timing and installation? I always like to discuss projects with colleagues; to create something successful it’s important to have a wider viewpoint than your own. I always keep information in case there is an option that I have not seen yet and something can be created where I have previously thought not. I then review our whole programme over the next few years to assess its balance, and to make sure that it encompasses different strands to appeal to our different audiences.

As I look at our plans for the next few years (we tend to programme at least three years in advance) I see connections with themes and collections that we are planning to work with. Moving into 2013 I think we are offering an exhibition programme which very much fulfils our aim to balance national touring shows with home grown exhibitions. We’re all very excited by the Leonard Beaumont exhibition which opens at the Graves Gallery in December – shedding new light on a neglected Sheffield artist. At Weston Park we’re hosting a V&A touring exhibition of Japanese enamels which connect with Sheffield’s own artisanal craft history and will drop jaws – they’re beautiful.

And of course, I never know what will drop into my inbox next week.


Image - Leonard Beaumont, Grinders, 1932, Linocut. Photo © Museums Sheffield


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