Scarborough Museums Trust picked for learning scheme to address climate change

Year 4 pupils from St Peter’s RC Primary School, Scarborough, collecting waste plastic from the South Bay beach in preparation for Future Fossils, an immersive family experience run by Scarborough Museums Trust and Invisible Dust at the Rotunda museum in 2019 that saw young climate activists inviting visitors to make a pledge to protect the planet’s future. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

SCARBOROUGH Museums Trust is among 13 museums and heritage organisations chosen to join a nationwide scheme to inspire museums to address matters such as climate change.

The No Going Back Peer Learning Programme is run by the Happy Museum Project, an Arts Council England-funded programme that looks at how the museum sector can respond to the challenge of creating a more sustainable future.

The programme aims to inspire museums and their communities to shape new stories and actions to address the climate and ecological emergency.

Christine Rostron, learning manager at Scarborough Museums Trust, says: “We are delighted to be given the chance to work with museum colleagues across the UK to help us think about how museums can work with local communities and respond positively to creating a sustainable future.   

“We recognise that we operate in one of the most important coastal regions in Europe and are lucky enough to have extremely important geological and natural history collections.  

“We are especially keen to use these objects to tell stories about the environment and support children to learn to love their natural surroundings and to be advocates for positive environmental change.

“We are committed to playing our part in protecting and raising awareness of the environment,” says Andrew Clay, chief executive of Scarborough Museums Trust

“In 2019, in partnership with Invisible Dust, we delivered Future Fossils, a learning project with a local primary school that demonstrated humans’ impact on our environment and supported children to become activists and advocates for our local environment.  

“One Year 4 participant said: ‘It gave me confidence that by working together we can change the world.  It’s not just for Scarborough, it’s something all young people around the world should do’.

The Happy Museum Project will help us to build on and continue this type of work with our community.”  

Andrew Clay, chief executive of Scarborough Museums Trust, says: “As a museum service working on the Yorkshire coast, we are committed to playing our part in protecting and raising awareness of the environment.

“We are also the custodians of a collection of significant environmental and scientific interest and we feel duty bound to make the collection fully available for vital research, and to help the trust itself move to a position where we embrace and declare a climate emergency.”

The 13 museums selected to take part range from the Cornwall Museums Partnership to Oriel y Parc National Park Visitor Centre and Landscape Gallery, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Participating too are Leeds Museums and Galleries, Saltaire World Heritage Education Association, Wakefield Museums and Castles and Yorkshire’s Maritime City project from Hull Culture and Leisure.

Vintage Sitwell photographs at Woodend donated to Scarborough Museums Trust

Andrew Clay, chief executive of Scarborough Museums Trust, with archive material donated by William Sitwell in the Sitwell Library at Woodend, Scarborough. Picture: Tony Bartholomew.

UNIQUE vintage photographs depicting Woodend, in its days as the private Scarborough summer home of the Sitwell literary family, have been donated to Scarborough Museums Trust by a descendant, journalist William Sitwell.

William is the grandson of writer Sacheverell Sitwell, who, together with brother Osbert and sister Edith, spent many summers at the house in The Crescent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The most famous of the three siblings, William’s great-aunt Edith, was born at Woodend in 1887. William writes for The Daily Telegraph, among other publications, and is a judge on BBC1’s MasterChef.

The Sitwell conservatory at Woodend, Scarborough, in the late 19th or early 20th century. Copyright: Scarborough Museums Trust

When clearing out family belongings, he came across photos that show Woodend, now a creative industries centre, in its heyday as a family home, with a spacious entrance hall, busy living rooms and a palm-filled glasshouse.

William Sitwell says: “I’ve visited Scarborough on many occasions and have always relished a trip to Woodend, now a creative hub run by a collection of talented people my ancestors would be proud of.

“But it’s always strange walking around a museum and wondering what it must have been like as a home, with the presence of my eccentric forebears. When I came across these old photographs, the settings looked familiar and then I realised they were of Woodend, fully furnished and looking very Victorian.

The Sitwell conservatory today, now the Woodend Gallery. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

“I knew at once that they should be sent to Andrew Clay [chief executive of Scarborough Museums Trust], who would cherish them and share them with visitors. They bring a wonderful insight to a lost era.”

Clay says: “The vintage photographs of Woodend are delightful. We have often wondered what these rooms looked like when the Sitwell family lived here and now we have a tantalising glimpse of Woodend in that era.

“It is fascinating to see the beautiful furnishings that once adorned these spaces. They conjure up a long-lost age of elegance and remind us today how sophisticated life on The Crescent really was. We are very grateful to William Sitwell for making this gift and we look forward to keeping in touch.”

Scarborough Museums Trust’s venues – Scarborough Art Gallery, the Rotunda Museum and the Woodend Gallery – are closed during Lockdown 3, but the trust hopes to be able to put the photographs on public display as soon as possible.

Another room at Woodend, from the Sitwell archive material donated to Scarborough Museums Trust by William Sitwell

Scarborough Museums Trust’s lockdown digital commissions stay at home online

Estabrak’s Homecoming: A Placeless Place

SCARBOROUGH Museums Trust’s lockdown-launched series of New Digital Commissions from leading British artists is complete and available online.

The project was introduced by the trust in response to the first lockdown in March as a “dynamic new approach to its collections, learning and exhibition programming during the Coronavirus crisis”.

Key to the series was a commitment to diversity, inclusion and equality of access and innovative ways to promote this message. A diverse range of artists – Lucy Carruthers, Estabrak, Kirsty Harris, Wanja Kimani, Jade Montserrat, Jane Poulton and Feral Practice’s Fiona MacDonald – created digital artworks for release online over the spring and summer across social-media platforms.

Lucy Carruthers’ Animal Archives. Copyright: Scarborough Museums Trust

Trust chief executive Andrew Clay says: “It’s been so important this year for people to have access to the arts and culture: for many people, they’re a thought-provoking lifeline and have a proven positive effect on our mental health.”

Curator Dorcas Taylor says: “Museums and galleries have a social responsibility to support communities, now more than ever before. We can provide a platform for creative expression that enables artists to share their messages to communities in lockdown. Their artworks can support personal wellbeing or become an opportunity to consider some of these wider issues.”

Scarborough Museums Trust has provided a range of access tools to accompany the digital content to support as many people as possible to connect. Among them have been visual guides, in the form of “social stories”, by Scarborough illustrator Savannah Storm that give audiences downloadable information on what to expect before accessing digital content. Subtitles and audio descriptions have been used wherever possible.

Kirsty Harris’s Whispers From The Museum. Copyright: Scarborough Museums Trust

The New Digital Commissions all can be found on YouTube at http://bit.ly/SMTrustNDC, other than Jane Poulton and Kirsty Harris’s projects at https://www.scarboroughmuseumstrust.com/stardust/ and www.scarboroughmuseumstrust.com/learning/family-resources/ respectively.

Lucy Carruthers’ film, Animal Archives: Rewilding The Museum explores how we forge connections at a time of distancing. Interested in the relationship between inside and outside, all the more pertinent during lockdown, she asks how social isolation affects museum objects.

Estabrak’s Homecoming: A Placeless Place is a multi-layered touring and participatory project that uses community engagement, film, sound and paint for cross-cultural exchanges around home, identity, and displacement.

Jade Montserrat made a film with filmmakers Webb-Ellis for the New Digital Commissions project

It started in 2019 in Brighton and Hull and saw the social experiment, which invites honest expression and participation through ultraviolet light, invisible ink and dark spaces, introduced digitally to communities in Scarborough. 

Kirsty Harris created Whispers From The Museum, a six-part online and immersive adventure for children and families, inviting them to read George’s logbook, discover amazing museum objects and take part in art and craft activities. 

Wanja Kimani made a film, Butterfly, that follows a walk from a child’s eye view as she spent more time noticing the world around her and sensory experiences became amplified.

A still from Wanja Kimani’s film Butterfly

Jade Montserrat produced a film with filmmakers Webb-Ellis that explores the impact of lockdown and chronicles the process of making, and new ways of being, that encourage mutual support and acts of care.

Jane Poulton produced a series of photographs and text called From Stardust To Stardust, focusing on personal objects she owns as she considers whether those that mean the most to us are often acquired at times of crisis and what comfort they may bring. 

Feral Practice’s film, The Unseesables, explores themes of extinction by focusing on three “unseeable” birds: the great bustard, the corncrake and the great auk. Examples of all three can be found in the trust’s taxidermy collection.

A still from Feral Practice’s film The Unseeables

What next?

Some of the New Digital Commissions artists will be participating in What If? at Scarborough Art Gallery and the Rotunda from April 24 to August 30 2021.

Next year’s exhibition will explore “the civic responsibility of museums and their collections and how we could introduce wider narratives into our spaces to make our institutions relevant to both the world and our local community”. 

Spooky weekend and drawing festival are Scarborough’s big draws for half-term

Emma Hallam, associate marketing manager for Scarborough Museums Trust, sketches out a few ideas ahead of The Big Draw 2020 at Scarborough Art Gallery during the half-term holiday. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

SPOOKY goings-on for Halloween and climate-conscious art are on offer from Scarborough Museums Trust for half-term.

The Spooky Museum Weekend runs amok from Friday, October 30 to Sunday, November 1 at the Rotunda Museum, when visitors are invited to explore the museum in Halloween fancy dress from 10am to 4pm each day.

The spooky weekend is suitable for families, who can follow the trail and make and take a deer or wolf mask inspired by the trust’s Star Carr headdress. 

Booking is essential, either by calling 01723 353665 or emailing rotunda@smtrust.uk.com to book a 45-minute slot for a group of up to six people. Each allotted time slot allows exclusive use of the gallery. 

Drawing you in: Emma Hallam’s handiwork seeks to catch your eye to take part in The Big Draw 2020 at Scarborough Art Gallery. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

The Spooky Star Carr Trail can be enjoyed every day during half-term except Monday. Families are invited to join the wolf tribe and look for the wolves hidden in the Rotunda. “Crack the puzzle and enter our prize draw,” says the trust.

The half-term events include two that form part of this year’s Big Draw, Britain’s annual festival of drawing. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, The Big Green Draw Festival #ClimateOfChange focuses on the relationship between people and our living environments and ecosystems, highlighting how we live today and the ways we do and do not harmonise with nature.

The Big Green Draw: Plant, Grow, Draw! at Scarborough Art Gallery on Monday, October 26, from 10am to 4pm, invites you to be inspired by the trust’s seed collection to create your own drawings. “Have a go at decorating a plant pot and sow a seed to take home and grow,” says the trust.

Again suitable for families, booking is essential for this activity on 01723 374753 or by emailing gallery@smtrust.uk.com for a 45-minute slot for a group of up to six people. Each allotted time slot allows exclusive use of the gallery for this relaxed event, fully accessible for disabled and non-disabled children.

Picture this: Emma Hall does some canvas work to attract support for The Big Draw 2020. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

On Saturday, October 24 and 31, you can tune into The Big Green Draw: Drawing with Nature on the trust’s YouTube Channel at 10am to take part in online drawing challenges inspired by the natural world. To join in this pre-recorded event, suitable for families, you will need drawing materials, scissors and glue.

The Big Green Scavenger Trail will take place every day during half-term, except Monday, at Scarborough Art Gallery and The Crescent. To hunt for wildlife on The Crescent in a special scavenger trail designed by artist Savannah Storm, families will need to pick up a copy from Scarborough Art Gallery.

Scarborough Museums Trust’s learning manager, Christine Rostron, says: “We’re delighted to be able to offer some socially-distanced events for our families, alongside some online challenges.  Our Halloween and Big Draw activities are always so popular and we can’t wait to see families and children back in our venues for lots of creative fun!”

Staff at Scarborough Museums Trust have been trained in post-lockdown safety procedures, and the trust has been awarded VisitEngland’s We’re Good To Go industry standard mark, signifying the venues’ adherence to Government and public health guidance.

Entry to Scarborough Art Gallery and the Rotunda Museum for adults costs £3 for an annual pass; for under-18s, entry is free. For all activities, all children must be accompanied by an adult. Both venues are open Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 5pm.

What does “home” mean to you, asks Estabrak in Scarborough digital project

Homecoming digital artist Estabrak, pictured during a performance of a Live Projection Painting in Morocco in 2018

SCARBOROUGH residents are being asked to participate in a digital art project that explores what “home” means to them.

Led by the artist and former refugee Estabrak, Homecoming; A Placeless Place is the last of a series of lockdown digital commissions from Scarborough Museums Trust in response to the Coronavirus crisis.

Estabrak’s commission is designed to “bring together individual and collective experiences and connect diverse voices and realities from the varied communities of the town”.

Participants are invited to call, text or WhatsApp to leave a message of any length, in any language, around the concept of “home”. Messages can be left anonymously or with a name, age and language attached. Those unable to communicate verbally, or who would rather draw something, can share drawings or illustrations.

The messages will be incorporated into a film that applies concepts surrounding ultraviolet light and invisible ink.

Estabrak is keen to engage Scarborough voices with her own, interweaving individual and collective experiences while also relating these shared realities to recordings and photographs found in the Scarborough Borough Collection.

Homecoming – Social Experiment UV Light Reveal, by Estabrak

Her film will be available on the trust’s website, scarboroughmuseumstrust.com, and social media from late-August.

Estabrak says: “Anyone who resides in Scarborough is encouraged to take part in this project, no matter your experience – both positive and negative; no matter your understanding of what ‘home’ means – whether literal or abstract; whatever your age, race, class, size, gender/s, ability or orientation is. You are all welcome to share your experience.”

Homecoming is a multi-layered touring and participatory project that uses community engagement, film, sound and paint for cross-cultural exchanges around home, identity and displacement.

The project started in 2019 in Brighton and Hull and now its social experiment, Homecoming; A Placeless Place, will be introduced digitally to communities in Scarborough.

To take part, please call 07547 149229 by Sunday, August 16. Providing you have access to WiFi, or an inclusive data plan, all voice notes or images sent via WhatsApp are free. Depending on your data plan, leaving a voicemail also will be free – please check with your provider if you are unsure of this.

“As an independent multidisciplinary artist and progressive facilitator, I am committed to inclusivity, and to participatory arts practice that helps highlight visibility towards marginalised communities and everyday people,” says Estabrak.

Homecoming – A Placeless Place, Social Experiment 06, by Estabrak

“My practice is repeatedly engaged with water and often explores themes related to the intersectionality of my own identity as LGBTQIA+, Arab, mixed heritage, neuro-diverse, culturally Muslim and former refugee.

“Led by the emotive, my aim is to help re-humanise many de-humanised realities, while focusing on alternative ways of safe collaboration, understanding and exchange that encourage the sharing and dismantling of power, helping move towards racial, social, humanitarian and climate justice.”

In her work as an award-winning multi-disciplinary visual artist and filmmaker, Estabrak has been supported by the BBC, Wellcome Trust, Invisible Dust, University of Hull and Ocean Global Foundation. 

She has presented work to the United Nations and worked with numerous NGOs [Non-Governmental Organisations] in television and film, as well as exhibiting internationally and at Tate Britain and the Royal Academy of Arts in London. She also takes part in international fellowships and residencies, latterly collaborating with scientists and academics.

As well as Estabrak, artists Kirsty Harris, Jane Poulton, Wanja Kimani, Feral Practice, Jade Montserrat and Lucy Carruthers have created digital artworks for Scarborough Museums Trust this summer on assorted social media platforms and all are still available to view. More information on these commissions can be found at:  scarboroughmuseumstrust.com.

Rotunda Museum to re-open with chance to go around in your own exclusive bubble

Senior operations assistant Charlotte Mundey prepares the Rotunda Museum for re-opening. All pictures: Tony Bartholomew

SCARBOROUGH’S Rotunda Museum re-opens next week with a new booking system that gives small groups exclusive access.

From August 8, the Grade II-listed circular building in Esplanade Gardens will be open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10am to 5pm.

Visiting slots will be every half hour across the day, allowing groups – or social bubbles – of up to six people at a time to explore the museum without having to follow prescriptive routes.

Senior operations assistant Charlotte Mundey in the Ancient Seas Gallery at the Rotunda Museum

Dating from 1829, the Rotunda specialises in geology and local history and is one of the oldest purpose-built museums in the world.

In the Ancient Seas Gallery, visitors will come face to face with prehistoric creatures that used to roam this coastline. In the Rotunda Gallery are displays of fossils, taxidermy, fine art and ceramics that tell the history of the museum. The shop will be open too.

Looking ahead, the Scarborough Museums Trust team is hard at work on a new display of Mesolithic objects from Star Carr, the important archaeological site in the Vale of Pickering, that will open in mid-September.

Senior operations assistant Charlotte Mundey on the circular stairwell at the Rotunda Museum, Scarborough

Gristhorpe Man, Britain’s best-preserved Early Bronze Age skeleton, is still in controlled storage after a leak in the roof threatened his safety and will be returned at a later date.

Staff have been trained in post-lockdown safety procedures and the Rotunda has been awarded VisitEngland’s We’re Good To Go industry standard mark, signifying its adherence to government and public health guidance.

Andrew Clay, the trust’s chief executive, says: “We’re delighted that we now have all three of our beautiful venues open to the public once again [Scarborough Art Gallery, Woodend and the Rotunda] – we can’t wait to welcome people back into the Rotunda. As always, our top priority is the safety of both our visitors and our staff.”

“We can’t wait to welcome people back into the Rotunda,” says Andrew Clay, chief executive of Scarborough Museums Trust

Please note, the Rotunda Museum has a lift to all floors and is fully wheelchair-accessible throughout, including an accessible loo. Support dogs are welcome. Induction loops are available. The museum is breastfeeding-friendly and staff are trained to be Dementia Friends.

Slots for the Rotunda can be booked online at scarboroughmuseumstrust.com, by phone on 01723 353665 or via email sent to rotunda@smtrust.uk.com.

From August 1, the £3 annual pass system will be re-introduced, giving unlimited entry to the Rotunda Museum and Scarborough Art Gallery for a year. Woodend is always free.

Opening hours for Scarborough Art Gallery are 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sundays; Woodend, 9am to 5pm, Mondays to Fridays, and 10am to 4pm, Saturdays and Sundays.

Rare and extinct animals go wild in the gallery in Lucy Carruthers’ lockdown film for Scarborough Museums Trust

Museum Farewell, from Lucy Carruthers’ digital commission for Scarborough Museums Trust

THE plight of rare and extinct animals has inspired a new animated film by Lucy Carruthers for Scarborough Museums Trust’s series of lockdown digital commissions.

Animal Archives: Re-wilding The Museum presents a playful exploration of what might happen if assorted animals and birds in the Scarborough Borough Collection were to escape and return to the wild. 

The short animation – just over two minutes in length – can be viewed on the trust’s YouTube channel at http://bit.ly/YouTubeSMT from Tuesday, July 28.

Blue Bridge, from Lucy Carruthers’ animation Animal Archives: Re-wilding The Museum

Carruthers’ film follows the adventures of all manner of creatures, ranging from a fox, a tiger, a jaguar and an aardvark to a tunny/tuna fish, a pair of great bustards, a Floreana Island tortoise and a Captain Cook’s bean snail.

During lockdown, all of them escape the confines of the trust’s stores at Woodend and the Rotunda Museum to “re-wild” themselves via Scarborough Art Gallery. 

Lucy says: “Animal Archives is based on observations and speculations about Scarborough’s natural history collection. The historical extraction of species and the current wildlife trade have been at the forefront of my mind in relation to the pandemic. How do we view the natural world during lockdown and will it become normal to see animals roaming the streets?

Park Walk, another scene from Lucy Carruthers’ short film

“This animation portrays the relationships between the species and the place they inhabit, with underlying themes of extinction and conservation, but in a playful and accessible way, which I hope will inspire curiosity.

“Re-examining the collection and sites, through a climate and ecological lens, I wanted to explore how could we better understand our shared environment, and what stories could encourage empathy for a more compassionate multi-species co-existence.”

Suitable for all ages, Animal Archives aims to be accessible to everyone: the film is captioned and boasts a narrated soundtrack, for those who might find this helpful.

Red Bridge, from Animal Archives, inspired by the Scarborough Borough Collection

Carruthers has created her animation in collaboration with London design and animation studio Silver Machine Studios; Dan Savage, of DS Design and Sound,  who spent many childhood summers building sandcastles on Scarborough’s  beaches, has provided the narration and sound.

Describing herself as an “experiential designer”, Lucy Carruthers is a consultant for museums, exhibitions and visitor attractions, now at MET Studio Design. Formerly she was a senior designer at Event Communications, working with St Fagans National Museum of History in Cardiff, M Shed in Bristol and Scarborough’s Rotunda Museum, when it was restored and re-opened in 2008.

As a multi-disciplinary artist, she has curated alternative climate narratives through Floodprood and is co-director of Climate Museum UK.

Valley Section, from Lucy Carruthers’ two-minute animated film

Animal Archives: Re-wilding The Museumis the latest digital commission from Scarborough Museums Trust as part of its response to the Coronavirus crisis. The trust has asked artists Kirsty Harris, Jane Poulton, Wanja Kimani, Feral Practice, Jade Montserrat, Lucy Carruthers and Estabrak to create digital artworks during the summer across a range of social media platforms.

The final piece, by Estabrak, will go online in August. All the others remain available to view and further Information on the commissions can be found at scarboroughmuseumstrust.com.

Scarborough Art Gallery and Woodend are open to the public again after lockdown easement. Entry to Scarborough Art Gallery (usually £3 for an annual pass) will be free throughout July; entry to Woodend will remain free. Scarborough Art Gallery is open from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sundays; Woodend, 9am to 5pm, Mondays to Fridays, and 10am to 4pm, Saturdays and Sundays.

Scarborough Museums Trust hopes to announce re-opening plans for the Rotunda Museum soon.

Lari the Seagull and Jan Bee Brown lead Scarborough museums’ seaside adventures

Jan Bee Brown: Writing weekly audio story for Scarborough Museums Trust

SCARBOROUGH Museums Trust is to present a summer programme of seaside and animal-themed stories, crafts and activities with the help of Lari the Seagull.

From July 22 to August 20, the trust’s learning team will take over its social media pages to add family information and activities based around objects in the Scarborough Borough Collection.

On Wednesdays, from July 22 to August 19, families can enjoy Seaside Adventures, whether “meeting” rockpool creatures or magical selkies – those mythical seal folk – all inspired by paintings at Scarborough Art Gallery and designed by storyteller and artist Jan Bee Brown.

On Thursdays, from July 23 to August 20, Animal Antics will take participants on a journey across the world, inspired by animals in the SMT natural history collections. 

The highlight each week will be a new audio story written especially for Scarborough Museums Trust by Jan Bee Brown, released each Wednesday. The stories will bring paintings from the collections to life, weaving together folk tales and Scarborough characters and landmarks, from Dottie the Donkey to the Hispaniola.  

Are you ready for a Seaside Adventure, courtesy of Scarborough Museums Trust? Picture: Tony Bartholomew

A short video will be released each Thursday showing children how to make one of the art activities and each one will include voiceovers by children from the Stephen Joseph Theatre’s Youth Theatre group. 

Families are invited to share pictures of their artworks with Scarborough Museums Trust, using the hashtag #SummerAdventures 

Scarborough Museums Trust’s learning manager, Christine Rostron, says: “We’re looking forward to welcoming families for some great summer fun online – and our friend Lari the Seagull will be on hand the whole time to help guide them through it. He’s even been taking selfies with some of the objects in our collections.” 

For families without printers, the trust will be providing free activity templates each week that can be collected from Scarborough Art Gallery in The Crescent. Please note, visiting the gallery will be “a little bit different” for a while: social-distancing rules mean only a limited number of families are allowed to visit at any one time and you may need to wait if the gallery is very busy.

The activities and videos will be available on the family learning page at: scarboroughmuseumstrust.com/learning/family-resources/.

Jade Montserrat confronts Government response to Covid-19 in frank digital film

Jade Montserrat in a still from her Covid-19 lockdown film Chronicle ia. Picture: Jade Montserrat/Webb-Ellis

JADE Montserrat’s lockdown film, Chronicle ia, goes online from July 7 as the latest digital commission for Scarborough Museums Trust.

“When 60,000 people are dead and a disproportionate amount are disabled, elderly and black and brown people, that’s a eugenic project,” says Montserrat in her 13-minute film as she considers the impact of lockdown.

Filming during a period of physical and “social” distancing caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, she chronicles the process of making and the new ways of being that encourage mutual support and acts of care as Montserrat searches for a methodology to apply Eve Sedgwick’s theory of “reparative reading in a visual form”. In a nutshell, that means envisioning the interconnectivity of art practice, public space, responsibility and care.

Working with art film-makers Webb-Ellis, Montserrat interprets reparative reading as a “process of decoding, describing and discussing imagery, visual and human relationships, to interrogate and challenge political structures and frameworks”.

“With a title that plays with processes of recording and documentation, Chronicle ia explores the personal and inter-personal impacts of lockdown through the documentation of a collaborative making process, emphasising new ways of co-existing that are based on support,” explains Montserrat, whose films reveals the process of making through making, using the online platform Zoom for a series of digital conversations.

As Montserrat says in the film, in response to the Corona crisis: “When 60,000 people are dead and a disproportionate amount are disabled, elderly and black and brown people, that’s a eugenic project…When is it that we rebel? When is it that we say ‘No’?”

Here’s one she made earlier: Jade Montserrat, working on her The Last Place They Thought Of installation, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania. Picture: Constance Mensh

Within the film are references to Scarborough Museums Trust’s collection of photographs by James Harrison, taken during numerous hunting trips in Africa and India between 1892 and 1910, in particular Harrison’s “debasing images of atrocities towards local peoples and the slayed bodies of innumerable animals”.

As Montserrat prepared to research this collection of photographs, diaries and taxidermy animals, she asked British/Canadian filmmakers Caitlin Webb-Ellis and Andrew Webb-Ellis to explore this with her to sustain her through the trauma of engaging with the material as an act of mutual care. 

“Reflecting on the geographic, experiential, cultural and social spaces inhabited by the artists – filming is located in their respective isolations within Scarborough Borough – the film presents a discussion aiming to define global imaginaries that traverse histories, nations, ideologies and time to help us conceive a new world that is built on principles of equality, support and social justice,” says Scarborough Museums Trust.

“The film’s imagery demonstrates glitches in communication, revealing how reparative reading involves a gradual – and sometimes incomplete – piecing together of practices and subjective viewpoints, but that, ultimately and beautifully, a common goal can be achieved.”

As Scarborough Museums Trust continues to improve access to its online content, Chronicle ia includes audio descriptions embedded in the film as part of the creative process, along with subtitles. Please note, the film contains photographic documentation of colonial atrocities and explicit images of violence and nudity. Consequently, the trust strongly recommends viewing for adults only, or those aged 12 and over with parental or guardian supervision.

Montserrat’s film can be seen on the trust’s YouTube channel, www.bit.ly/YouTubeSMT, from Tuesday, July 7. Chronicle ia is one of a series of new digital commissions from Scarborough Museums Trust as part of its response to the pandemic crisis. The trust has asked artists Kirsty Harris, Jane Poulton, Wanja Kimani, Feral Practice, Jade Montserrat, Lucy Carruthers and Estabrak to create digital artworks for release online across social media platforms throughout the summer.

Scarborough Art Gallery and Woodend exhibitions to re-open from this weekend

John Bedder, senior operations assistant with Scarborough Museums Trust, prepares for the re-opening of Scarborough Art Gallery. All pictures: Tony Bartholomew

TWO of Scarborough Museums Trust’s three venues will re-open on Saturday.

Scarborough Art Gallery and Woodend have been closed to the public since the Covid-19 lockdown started in late-March, as has the Rotunda Museum, whose re-opening will be delayed to “allow more time to work out how to do that safely”.

SMT chief executive Andrew Clay says: “Our dedicated staff have all been working very hard to ensure that venues are safe and in line with government guidelines on social distancing and cleanliness. The safety of all our staff and visitors is our top priority.”

John Bedder, Scarborough Museums Trust’s senior operations assistant, sits behind a protective screen at Scarborough art Gallery

Safety measures introduced for this weekend’s re-opening will be five-fold:

* Protective screens around the reception desks;

* Hand sanitiser on entry to the buildings and on the top floor of Scarborough Art Gallery;

* Disposable hand towels in the loos;

*  PPE (gloves, masks and aprons) for staff when cleaning the venues, plus extra cleaning protocols;

* Staff monitoring at a safe distance to ensure that visitors are following the distancing guidelines.

Andrew Clay: Chief executive of Scarborough Museums Trust

Clay says: “The number of visitors within the two spaces will be monitored to ensure that there is enough room for them to move around in a safe and enjoyable manner. Clear wayfinding and arrows will direct them, and staff will be on hand to provide further support and information.

“The internal layout of our third venue, the historic Rotunda Museum, presents certain challenges with regard to social distancing, so we’re delaying opening that for the time being to allow us more time to work out how to do that safely.”

The exhibitions sent into abeyance under lockdown strictures have been extended. At Scarborough Art Gallery, visitors can see The Printmakers Council 1992-2019 and the William Smith map until September 6, alongside the permanent display of fine art from the Scarborough Borough Collection.

John Bedder, senior operations assistant with Scarborough Museums Trust, stands by one of the new hand sanitiser stations at Scarborough Art Gallery

At Woodend, vintage travel and tourism posters will be on show in A Day At The Seaside until September 27.

Entry to Scarborough Art Gallery – usually £3, which buys an annual pass – will be free throughout July; admission to Woodend will remain free.

Opening hours will be unchanged: Scarborough Art Gallery, 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sundays; Woodend, 9am to 5pm, Mondays to Fridays; 10am to 4pm, Saturdays and Sundays.