A word from our team!

4 02 2011

The Capital Development project will mean a number of exciting changes for the Whitworth. A new expansion at the rear of the building will not only alter the way visitors experience and interact with the gallery, but will also directly affect the gallery staff, as their working environment undergoes some radical changes. We caught up with three members of the team to hear what they had to say…

Chad McGitchie – Head of Visitor Services Manager


How will the new build affect your day-to-day working’s within the gallery?

As our spaces change and expand with the new build, so will the Visitor Services Team. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to engage with our public and having a brand new entrance from the park will be an excellent opportunity to create dialogue with our visitors.  With the new expansion, we will be looking to adapt our services for each new space and help create a place where people come to learn, explore and create.

Are there any issues/problems you’ve encountered at the gallery, that you think will be alleviated by the new development?

At the moment space is a real big factor.  We have so many great programmes running in the gallery raging from activities for families with small children to adult workshops and every age in between.  At the moment, some of these programmes can over lap in space or be in close proximity to one another, which can cause issues with noise levels and interfere with an individuals visit.  Some people want a quiet gallery where they can peacefully look through our collections and other want a place where the’r children and get excited and explore the spaces.

Is there a part of the new development you’re most excited about?

Connecting with the park with a second entrance is what I’m most looking forward to. Also having the opportunity to have bespoke areas for school groups, family programmes and other activities which is greatly needed.  Our park entrance will help us organise large groups more effectively and ensure all our visitors have the best possible experience. Also having a café in the trees is very exciting as well!

What about the new build do you think will be of most benefit to the visitors?

Accessibility.  That word is the key focus on our area of work within the gallery.  The new build will ensure that our existing spaces are opened up and used more effectively and the new areas are equipped to allow all visitors, including people with mobility issues, visual impairments or any other special needs can access all areas and be included in every part of our building.

Any other comments you’d like to make?

The Visitor Services Team are really looking forward the new dynamic the project will bring with engaging with new and existing visitors.  It’s all very exciting!

~

Steven Roper – Early Years and Primary Co-ordinator


How will the new build affect your day-to-day workings within the gallery?

It’s going to be really great having an area set aside for the kids to go when they get to the gallery, somewhere we can sit them down and get them interested in the workshops we’ve arranged without them getting distracted.

Are there any issues/problems you’ve encountered at the gallery, that you think will be alleviated by the new development?

It’ll definitely ease the battle for space within the gallery, which will be nice for both staff and visitors. Having our own space also means we’ll be able to offer a wider range of workshops and activities which we’ve been unable to in the past – specifically, we’ll get to do some painting and other, messier activities, which will be great for the kids!

Is there a part of the new development you’re most excited about?

I’m really looking forward the back of the gallery being opened up more, out onto the park. Having such proximity and easy access to park will mean we can really look at exploring other areas of the curriculum that we haven’t previously – more outdoor learning!

What about the new build do you think will be of most benefit to visitors?

I haven’t been at the gallery too long, but from what I’ve seen I think the new build will definitely help to ease the traffic flow through the gallery for visitors. I also think opening up the back of the gallery in the way they are will encourage visitors to consider their environment in a new way, which will be really interesting.

Any other comments you’d like to make…

I’m really excited about the new build over all, can’t wait until it starts taking shape. Looking forward to being able to better promote the learning provisions we have available.

~

Helen Stalker – Assistant Curator  (Fine Art)

How will the new build affect your day-to-day working’s within the gallery?

Having had a base in the Prints and Drawings Study Room for the past six years I’m looking forward to working in an office with a wall I can pin things to! I’ll miss working in such close proximity to the collection, but I’m hoping a shiny new office space will help me work more efficiently!

Are there any issues/problems you’ve encountered at the gallery, that you think will be alleviated by the new development?

One of the main issues I encounter most often is access to the stored collections. We do our very best to make sure that visitors and researchers who wish to view the collections are catered for, but the only route to the stored prints and drawings is via a couple of large flights of stairs which can be daunting, if not impossible, for visitors with mobility or health issues.

There are also two members of staff who use the study room as a work base (myself included). It’s a little difficult to make a call or have a conversation when there are researchers or study groups in the same room – and I’m sure visitors are also conscious of the fact that we’re there. When the prints and drawings are housed in the new study areas it will be a great asset as we’ll be able to open up this amazing collection in a much more user-friendly way.

Is there a part of the new development you’re most excited about?

I can’t wait to see the new galleries and am particularly excited about dreaming up exhibitions to go in them!

What about the new build do you think will be of most benefit to visitors?

A visitor-friendly building full of interesting and beautiful things with a glorious aspect onto Whitworth Park will, no doubt, become a haven for many in a crazy-busy city such as Manchester.


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