mini festival of making, ideas & conversations 2015

Open To Create… were commissioned to re-imagine Hackney Museum as part of AntiUniversity NOW. The aim was to draw in new audiences plus still appeal to existing Saturday visitor groups i.e. families and tourists.

In collaboration with Hackney Museum's Heritage Learning Manager, deep:black, Jennifer Kavanagh and Penny Stanford the Museum was re-assigned new spaces - The Common Room, The Library and Games Room.

deep:black launched their Birds Crossing Borders postcards project inviting visitors to send messages of peace and hope to those living in the Calais Jungle on artist made postcards.

Journey Home Game was facilited by Jennifer Kavanagh. A board game designed to take you on a voyage of self discovery working with your game players to find creative and collaborative ways to get 'home'.

Visitors self authored hand made folded books using upcycled and reclaim paper with book artist Penny Stanford. Her work re-presents objects and text gleaned from the home and urban environments, everyday familiar items to which stories and memories can be attached.

Participation levels were higher than on usual Saturday sessions in the Museum with a wide range of new visitors taking part who told us they would not have either visited before or stayed so long to take part in a making session or a conversation that was inspired by their visit that day.

Feedback from festival partner;

"I gave a demo of my boardgame, Journey Home, as part of a mini-festival at Hackney Museum. One session was so remarkable that I wanted to record it. The aim of the game is to “go home”, which is achieved, as you move through events in the different stages of life, by accumulating counters representing the different strands of “home”. Four of us played: a young woman who joined us later on, and two men, a younger man, a Jamaican, whom I’ll call A, and O, a quieter older friend, an Eritrean with not much English. A was enthusiastic, competitive, and in the game had an eventful and positive journey.

It was only after we’d finished that I asked O where he lived, and learned that both men were homeless, moving from one church shelter to another. That was where they had met. There are no words."

Read more HERE about Jennifer kavanagh's blog about her experience


Key Facts: 

Client:  Hackney Museum

A council led local history museum service located in, and celebrating, one of the most culturally diverse areas of Europe, which investigates the nature of immigration through objects, interactive displays, computer programs and oral-history recordings.

AntiUniversity NOW started as an experiment in community engagement at Hackney Museum in 2015. It aims to explore alternative education through new ways of sharing knowledge and collaborative learning.

Venue: Hackney Museum

When:  November 2015



More about festival partners;

deep:black via

Journey Home Game via

Penny Stanford, book binder & printer via