Friday, Panel 2, 201 GRAUBALLEMANDEN 11:00 - 13:00


All presentations in this panel:

  • Slow-Looking, Visual Inquiry and Personal Discovery: Joyful Experiences with Art, Claire Bown, Gundy van Dijk, Thinking Museum, Amstelveen; Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Enjoyment and employment in museums: the benefits of apprenticeships and work-based learning, Jenny Pistella, Westminster Adult Education Service, London, United Kingdom

Slow-Looking, Visual Inquiry and Personal Discovery: Joyful Experiences with Art

Claire Bown, Thinking Museum, Amstelveen

Gundy van Dijk, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

The Netherlands


Keywords: slow looking, visual inquiry, personal discovery, thinking routines, art engagement

Museums are exciting, dynamic spaces full of wonders and curiosities for visitors to understand and engage with. However, museums have become very busy over the past decade and with the rise of the ‘blockbuster exhibition’ art viewing has become more like consumption rather than enjoyment.  Given the opportunity to slow down, participate in shared discussions and make connections,⁠ visitors of all ages can have deeper and more enjoyable experiences in the museum with art. It’s very easy to brush off an artwork with ‘I just don’t get it’, but given the opportunity to stay a little longer, look a little harder; visitors will ultimately have a more engaging experience. We will begin this workshop by exploring the 3 foundations for engagement of the Visible Thinking in the Museum method - slow looking, shared visual inquiry and personal discovery. We will explore how to create memorable and enjoyable art experiences through creating connections with us, with others, with art and ideas. This workshop will explore how to move participants from a passive into an active role, happily observing, interpreting and wondering about art.  ⁠We will then spend time slowly exploring a single artwork with a variety of thinking routines to structure deep, enjoyable conversations. There will be time for further reflection, questions and conversation at the end of the workshop. Looking at something slowly and carefully is a really rewarding process – the more you look, the more you see and the more enjoyable it becomes.

Presentation Claire Bown


Enjoyment and employment in museums: the benefits of apprenticeships and work-based learning

Jenny Pistella

Westminster Adult Education Service, London, United Kingdom


Keywords: Apprenticeships, Diversity, Workforce, Educators

Working in museums can be joyful and wonderful but also stressful and under-resourced. How do we encourage a diverse range of young people into the sector to find their own joy and passion for working in museums? The museum and heritage sector needs to embrace and champion more diverse routes people can take to find work in museums and heritage sites. Work-based learning and apprenticeships programs are a great way to diversify our workforce and offer opportunities for people to train, whilst working, so they can offer new skills, experiences and offer new perspectives of how collections, sites and spaces can be enjoyed by all. In this presentation I will talk about the benefits and challenges of work-based learning programs, using examples of the courses we run at Westminster Adult Education Service. We offer a range of Cultural Heritage apprenticeships and work in partnership with organizations like Tate, British Library, National Gallery and the Imperial War Museum. I will talk about how it’s important to encourage young people to discover, celebrate and share what they love to learn and experience in museums.

Presentation Jenny Pistella