Alex Woodall, Interpretation Development Officer, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Metropolitan University
The Mary Greg project at Manchester Art Gallery brings together interpretation, learning and collections care staff together with artist-lecturers, Hazel Jones and Sharon Blakey, from Manchester Metropolitan University's School of Art. They are exploring a unique collection of objects and archives that have been in storage, hidden from the public for over 50 years. Mary Greg (1850-1949) was an incredible character whose collection of 'handicrafts of bygone times' (ranging from rusty spoons, to keys, to toys, to basketwork) is being re-imagined by artists and brought to life through its capacity to inspire new work. The gallery is developing new approaches to collections access, questioning the value of its collections, exploring motivations for collecting, and inviting members of the public to contribute to displays in an open-ended way. Research can be found on the project blog www.marymaryquitecontrary.org.uk, an innovative way of letting go of traditional curatorial authority and opening up the project to the public through the web.