Frank Auerbach – Tate Britain, Jan 2016


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As is often the way, being late has actually turned into a bit of a bonus for me today. I rush from train to busy Victoria line tube, hit with squally winds as I dash along Millbank to a media view of Frank Auerbach at the Tate Britain. But being late means everyone has gone and with 20 minutes till the Tate opens up to the public, I get the most wonderful privilege of having an exhibition all to myself. It is for rare beautiful moments like this that I love all the blogging and late nights tapping away.

I am no expert, I have no history of art background and I used to worry about writing reviews of ‘art’ exhibitions. But you know what? I am very much from the ‘say what you see’ school of blogging and if people want to read it then that is an added bonus.

Why I love broadening my blogging horizon is that I am learning all the time and it is just the best thing in the world. So whilst I might be new to Auerbach’s work, having this intimate one to one experience is the best introduction I can think of. Continue reading

The art of Bedlam – Richard Dadd, Bethlem Museum, Jan 2016

Bethlem Museum of the Mind 1930s hospital administration building

Bethlem Museum of the Mind 1930s hospital administration building

This is the first time I have returned to the Bethlem Museum since attending its opening in January 2015. I have come to see a new exhibition on Richard Dadd (1817-1886), Victorian artist, madman and murderer – quite an epitaph.

I have brought my Mother with me, she lives around the corner and an invitation guarantees me a home cooked dinner so it is a win-win situation for me. It is great to be back, greeted by the imposing Cibber statues of Melancholy and Raving Madness. We are also greeted by Victoria Northwood, Head of the Archives and Museum and over a glass of bubbly we catch up on a wonderfully busy first year of the Bethlem Museum of the Mind. Continue reading

A relaxed ‘Wonder Season’ at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on the South Bank, London

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on the South Bank, London

When I first met David Bellwood who is in charge of access at the Globe Theatre, the sun was shining, it was a beautiful day, we sat on the roof terrace with the River Thames running by and talked about access, autism and relaxed performances. I came away with one burnt right shoulder and a feeling that, although it was great to hear about their relaxed performance, they only had one a year and quite frankly it didn’t seem enough.

Now a new artistic director has been appointed and her mission is to see the Globe Theatre and her new 2016 ‘Wonder Season’ become accessible to the widest possible audience. This Emma Rice sounds like my type of woman. This isn’t just about visitors on the autistic spectrum, but families with young children, those with learning disabilities, hearing and sight impairments and also those with sensory communication disorders. Basically anyone who find they often face barriers on visiting the theatre. Continue reading

Saying goodbye

A year has passed since I began volunteering as the Blogger in Residence for the ‘First World War in the Air’ exhibition at the RAF Museum in Hendon. This is my 11th and final blog and it has been great fun to look back to my 1st blog written on the 8th December 2014. I clearly remember my excitement at being able to see the exhibition in the final stages of completion before it had opened to the public.

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Continue reading

‘Night Owls’ at the Science Museum, Autism Late

2015-11-28 19.04.33The thing about autism, the thing that makes me most sad, is the misapprehension that it is a childhood affliction. That somehow if you have a child with autism they will ‘grow out of it’. Not true, I am afraid, a child with autism will become an adult with autism. But what about that bit in the middle, the teenage years, those years full of hormones, the difficult years trying to work out who you are, where you are going, trying to understand the body you are growing into. Yes, teenagers still have autism too. But what they don’t have is a lot of support.

My daughter, who has autism, is 11 years old. She is getting nearer to those teenage years and I worry about the future, I try not to spend too much time worrying about the future or I just wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning. Now museums are doing more and more for visitors with autism but most of that support is aimed at children. We visit regular events at the Science Museum, the Museum of London and the London Transport Museum. But what happens when we outgrow those child focussed sessions? Continue reading

2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Crime Museum Uncovered at the Museum of London in 5 objects

2015-10-07 11.39.25.jpgI have already written a review of the Crime Museum Uncovered at the Museum of London, which opened in October 2015, but it is one of those exhibitions that stays with you, it is unsettling and thought provoking. So I am returning to the exhibition with a shorter blog on five objects from the near 600 on display that caught my attention. Continue reading