Friday, 4 March 2016

The fair

My first longer project at Bonniers Konsthall was 'Skola + museum = sant', an annual fair in Stockholm where cultural institutes can present their school programs to interested teachers. Government funded museums need to host a large amount of schools every year to keep their funding, and there are a lot of museums in the area (... in Stockholm alone!) so the fair is usually a big deal.

It was my responsibility to prepare everything for our little booth. I designed a flyer and made a sign-up sheet for our newsletter. I went out to buy candy to give away, which according to Katya was probably the most important thing- Swedes tend to love sweets. To gather additional goodies for interested teachers I was allowed to rummage around in the shop's stock room.

I was rather nervous the day of the fair. Katya had told me that around 600 teachers attended last year's fair. Six hundred! A teachers lounge in the average school holds about 20 teachers and that can already be fairly intimidating. So how was I going to handle 600 of them? Would they be bothered that I don't speak Swedish? And had I brought enough candy?

Of course there was no reason to be worried. Our booth was next to Kulan's, an organisation that aims to bring schools and museums closer together. Bonniers Konsthall is privately funded, so the number of visiting classes is not as important as for the other institutes. The difference became very clear when I took a look around. Our modest set up seemed rather bleak compared to most tables: huge banners and posters, trumpets, free gadgets, robots driving around, competitions, costumes... and loads of free candy.

Meeting all the teachers was great. None of them were bothered I spoke English. I am not sure all of them even noticed, they just switched languages automatically. To my surprise it weren't just the art teachers who were interested in Bonniers Konsthall. Cross curricular thinking seemed to be the standard.

Hearing first-hand what potential visiting schools need from us and being able to tell them in person what we offer was very enriching. I had a long conversation about art in the language classroom with a very inspiring English teacher. Plus, being able to meet so many different museum pedagogues and get to know all their programs in just one day was a great opportunity for me.

Vasamuseet brought a mascotte, while the lovely people of Armé museet opted for a cool outfit.

At the end of the day most of the give aways had been handed out. The candy turned out to be more than enough and we had a list of new contacts and a head full of inspiration to take home with us. What a great fair! They should do this every year! 

Oh wait... they do.

Sally Tallant gave an inspiring lecture.

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