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We are now Culturebabies…..

21 Feb

Just to let you know that we have a new site and conference coming up on March 18th 2013 at Manchester Art gallery which has a focus on sharing practice with under 2’s.
For details about our workshop and practice with under 2’s visit our blog at:


Engaging under 2’s at Manchester Museum and the Whitworth Art Gallery

12 Sep

Here is the link to our report on the museum and gallery pilot programmes for under 2’s, parents and carers, which were evaluated by Liz and Sara Mair and Adam Billson( March 2012).

Engaging Under 2’s and Parents /Carers Museums and Galleries pilot

Since the report was published Manchester Museum, The Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery have developed regular core programmes for under 2’s .

We currently have a facebook page : culturekids -Stuff to do for 0-5s in Manchester where our sessions are listed for parents and we can share images and comments with them.!/Culturekidsmanchester

We are hoping to deliver a follow up event to culturebaby in the spring which will be to share examples of good practice with under 2’s in museums and galleries nationally and will post when we have date and further details.

Early Years work longlisted for The Clore Award for Museum Learning 2012

15 Feb

On the move, Withworth Art Gallery

The Manchester Early Years Partnership is delighted to have been longlisted for the Clore Museum Learning Award.  Supported by the Clore Duffield Foundation and Art Fund, the Award celebrates quality museum and gallery learning with children and young people (from early years up to the age of 25) in any setting, in or out of school/college. It recognises achievements in learning programmes which develop the skills, knowledge, values and enjoyment of the participants.  The single award of £10,000 will be presented in June 2012 .

The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester City Galleries and Manchester Museum (The Manchester Early Years partnership) are working together to develop social, imaginative and playful ways to engage early years children, practitioners and parents. Project strands include;
Participatory early years learning programmes
Targeted partnership programme with providers
Culturebaby; early intervention with under 2s.

‘The early years partnership work that has taken place in Manchester has been an exciting and innovative collaboration that has had significant impact on early years practitioners, children and their families in Manchester.’

Sarah Murray
(Former Strategic Lead Early Years, Manchester City Council)

The shortlist will be announced on May 14 2012

For more information on the award and the longlist visit

2011 in review

4 Jan

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 58 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

CultureBaby Seminar in two weeks time…

9 Nov

We are looking forward to hosting the CultureBaby seminar in Manchester and the opportunities it will afford to debate policy and research and to begin sharing the practice we are developing with very young children in arts, heritage and cultural organisations.  Bookings have now closed but do get in touch to join our waiting list more info here.

We have been working in partnership with early years and other professionals over the last 5 years to develop programmes and resources for under 5’s and families.  We will be evaluating our pilot activities at Manchester Museum and Whitworth Art Gallery and sharing this with you in 2012 through an Earlyarts professional development session and on a new website which will replace the Culturebaby blog after the seminar. Watch this space…

Thank you to everybody who has contacted us asking for a slot at our seminar to share their practice. We are unable  to accommodate all the requests we have received as we already have very full sessions. However, you are welcome to leave a blog post on the site or to send us a word version of your blog post plus images and links which we can upload and share with everybody.

Manchester Practice: Giving babies a voice in Culture!

6 Oct

Coming soon Manchester Practice: Giving babies a voice in Culture!

We are currently piloting activity sessions in early year’s settings and supported visits to Manchester Museum and Whitworth Art Gallery for mums and babies in partnership with early years and other professionals.

We are linking activities to the Nature Discovery and Play and Learn gallery at Manchester Museum and to the Dark Matters exhibition at Whitworth Art Gallery. We are using these pilot activities to develop our practice in engaging parents and facilitating participation for very young children and will use evaluation to inform the development of core programmes and resources for under 2’s in museums and galleries across the city.

If you work in a setting with under 2’s in Manchester and would like to get involved, please contact
Carol Abernethy, Early Years Coordinator, Manchester Museum / Whitworth Art Gallery,

Image, Exploring the Manchester Museum

Sharing our practice…

We will be sharing our practice and evaluation in early 2012

So why culture and why Manchester?

3 Oct

Cultural context

There has been significant investment in early years learning within the museum and gallery sector.  Strong partnerships have emerged with key early years providers.  In coming months, Manchester’s museums and galleries will be identifying the key areas to focus limited investment.  Early years work, including early intervention is an increasingly high priority across the city (with shared posts across organisations).

Across the cultural sector more widely, work is being developed apace within performing arts, especially theatre for the under 2s. Music organisations are starting to explore this area of work and audience development. However, programmes or dedicated partnerships and work with 0-2 providers, carers/parents or activities with babies are still rare within museums.

Image, Children taking part in activities in Museums and Galleries in Manchester

Manchester context

Early years provision within Manchester is changing rapidly as services are restructured and Manchester is referenced within the Graham Allen report for its approach to early intervention.

Manchester‘s museums and galleries  have developed a strong reputation and track record for engaging young children and families across the city. This has predominantly focused on 3-5 year olds within some of the most socially and ethnically diverse and economically deprived neighbourhoods and wards in Manchester. To find out more please follow the links to Earlyarts for our case studies and publications and to each of the museum and galleries websites for details of current programmes and resources.

Image, Exploring Treasure Baskets

They are now well placed to lead the sector and develop distinctive and enriching opportunities to engage Manchester’s very youngest children (0-2) and those who care for and work with them.

We feel that this is an appropriate time to host this seminar.

  • Early intervention is high on the political agenda
  • Evidence is being regularly published to support the case that this is the best time to make interventions to improve outcomes
  • Manchester has been referenced for its approach to partnership working on the early intervention programme and there should be future opportunities to lever funding and work in partnership.
  • Research has emerged which highlights the value of developing the communication skills and environment of very young children.
  • Museums and galleries have yet to prioritise this audience and there is a gap in provision relating to this area of policy/practice.

We would be really interested in hearing how are policies, research and restructured services affecting your practice?  Please feel free to comment below.