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Museums and galleries to help adults into learning


John HealeyAdult Skills Minister, John Healey, today announced that four museums and galleries will receive a share of £150,000 from the Government to fund projects to encourage adults back into learning. Museums and galleries have a role to play in providing educational opportunities to adults who have had no experience of education since leaving school.

The new projects benefiting from the funding are –

  • Family Fortunes! A project involving three museums and community partnerships with schools, youth clubs and social services in the Bristol area to develop learning courses for families;
  • Drawn from Memory: Older Learners and Oxfordshire Museums – a reminiscence project to encourage older learners to use ICT as a tool for preserving memories;
  • Sixty Tongues of Bedford – working with young,socially excluded people to raise awareness of the racial and cultural diversity in the town; and
  • Building on Represent – a project that encourages young socially excluded learners across the West Midlands to create exhibitions and activities based around identity issues.

Speaking at the Graves Art Gallery in Sheffield, John Healey, said, “Museums and galleries have a central role to play in providing educational opportunities to adults who have had no experience of education since leaving school. They are located at the heart of their communities and many have the resources and staff to make learning interesting and stimulating. With over 2,500 museums and galleries across the country, there’s a ready-made national network of learning opportunities to tap into.

“I hope these projects will encourage people back to learning and help the Government’s drive to widen access to learning for adults. We’re determined to provide learning opportunities at times and places – and in user-friendly format – that suit the learner.

“Last year’s pilot projects were a resounding success and made a difference to many people across the country who otherwise would not have had the chance to gain skills, confidence, and experience across a range of subjects from IT to music. Some of the participants have now gone on to study for NVQs. I hope these projects will stimulate others to do the same.”

Hannah Gould, Communications Manager at the Campaign for Learning in Museums and Galleries, added, “This funding from DfES provides a really exciting opportunity for museums and galleries to re-engage adults who may have been turned off by their experiences in formal education at school. We are hoping to build on the success of last year’s projects and touch even more lives with the projects announced today.”

Minister of State for the Arts, Tessa Blackstone said, “I am pleased that lifelong learning projects are being actively encouraged in museums and galleries. Many of them have wonderful collections, some of them of outstanding importance to the nation. These can be used to stimulate awareness and learning in every community and across the generations.”

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