Monthly Archives: March 2011

Trapezius: Lisa Gunn’s Blog

 Lisa's studio

At this stage all works for the Trapezius exhibition are in the final stages of production. Each piece is being finished off, cleaned and polished, ready to be transported to the Herbert on 31st March for the final installation process!

I am currently feeling quite enthusiastic about the work, and looking forward to seeing how each piece will look once everything is placed in Gallery 4. I am also excited at the prospect of exhibiting alongside Flora. I am interested to see the contrasts and similarities in our works once they are finally placed next to each other.

At the moment I am following up and collecting all of the work that needed to be outsourced. This includes: 

  • Laser cutting materials for the light box
  • Duratran printing process
  • Laminating, mounting and finishing
  • Cutting of bronze and aluminium
  • Final tidy and polish of bronze casting

I am also going through all of my personal checklists to ensure nothing is overlooked, and I have contacted my guest speakers to confirm the dates that they can come to give talks in the gallery throughout May and June.  

I have acquired all materials needed, drawn up new plans for installation, and I am drawing up diagrams for the larger pieces to be built. These works have been dismantled, packed and are ready for transportation to the Herbert where they will be reassembled. 

I have visited the Herbert on several occasions over the past few weeks to test the projections, and meet with Dom and the technicians to discuss the exhibition plans and building process. 

Flora and I have kept in touch throughout, and have frequently discussed the exhibition in its entirety, including planned talks, events, artist’s master classes and our ambitions to tour the exhibition in the future.

Attached are some images of the work in progress in my studio. They are dated from early January because I don’t want to give away too much information about the final exhibits and spoil the surprise!  

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Lisa's studioLisa's studio


Georgie’s Work Experience with Herbert Media!

11th March 2011. Georgie Clark. Harris School, A Church of England Sports College.

I’ve had such an interesting week with Herbert Media but unfortunately today is my last day! I completed various different tasks such as filing, photocopying, researching, printing, shredding! ect. Although, not once was I asked to make tea! As well as these small tasks, I also took part in many other activities such as sound recording, filming and podcasting.

Monday, my first day, was mostly an induction. Rich and I took a look around the galleries. I learned many things about the history of Coventry which I was not aware of before, for example, there is a lot more to learn about Lady Godiva than what I originally thought!  I particularly liked the Two Tone and Coventry City Football section of the exhibitions as I am a CCFC fan and also interested in old Two Tone bands like The Specials and Selecta! ;D

The ‘All Dressed Up’ exhibition was extremely eye-opening to me as I am studying fashion in my artwork at school, the exhibition consists of clothing from the 1890’s, 1920’s and 1950’s, so the pictures I have taken of the vintage clothing range will be a big help with my Historical Fashion Project. As well as this, Jo kindly donated an early 1980’s American Durian dress for me to borrow to wear in the ‘Eco’ round at the Miss Junior Coventry finals this weekend, thank you Jo! Wish me luck! 😀

The first half of Tuesday I was in the Video Editing Suite with Jim helping him with.. (believe it or not) editing a film! He showed me how to use the editing software on the computer and what needs to be done in the process of editing a long lecture and cutting it down to make a shorter, more to the point, informative film. I realised that film editing takes a great deal of time and has many factors to it which makes it quite tedious! During the second half of Tuesday I researched prices of film recording equipment and Technic Decks for Den. After, I sat in on a sound recording for a podcast, which will be on the Herbert website, with Daz, Rich and Sally. I think, the fact that The Herbert produces podcasts and sound files enabling blind people to hear and listen to the events that are happening in the near future is a great idea.

On Wednesday I had more of a hands on practical look at the goings on in the recording studio. I spent the whole day with Daz and the students taking the Star Course who aim to gain a better understanding of music production and sound engineering. This was great for me seen as I am hoping to be a sound engineer in my future career. Daz started off the day by recapping the students about last weeks work and then did a few recordings in the band room of each instrument individually. Throughout the day each student had a go at adjusting the sound of the instrument on Cubase, using techniques such as compressing and reduction with noise gates. The final result was a four-minute reggae style song.

Thursday was an interesting day! I took part in some filming with Simon, we went to the Drug Clinic – CDT (Community Drug Team). We were filming a short informative programme which lasts for about five minutes. It consists of information for drug users about how to be safer when using, for example; not sharing needles, washing hands, ect. In the afternoon I accompanied Rich and Daz in the recording studio where they held a talk with nine of the students from Herewood College, a school which specialises in education for students with disabilities, diverse and complex support requirements. The students are all aspiring sound engineers, producers and performers. We spoke about; genres of music, recording in the studio, musical careers, advice about talking to performers, the social skills used and aspects of music needed for an artist to ‘make it’ in the music industry. For me, it was inspirational to see just how passionate the students are about music. The course they are taking allows them to express themselves through creative ways in which they feel they have independence, yet still the support needed.

Although my weeks work experience placement was with Herbert Media, I also learned a great deal about The Museum and Art Gallery. In my opinion, I think that The Herbert uses a variety of different ways to successfully interest young students and make learning about the history of Coventry enjoyable through an easy, fun and creative way!

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to spend time at Herbert Media, It has given me a better understanding about what goes on in the media section of the world of work!


Creating a museum app

Screenshot of the Herbert App

Screenshot of the Herbert App

Part of the Herbert 2.0 project involves creating ways for our visitors to access content about the museum and its collections as they make their way around the galleries. We’re working with the Serious Games Institute  to develop a new app for iOS and Android operating systems and deciding what content this should involve and the level of detail to go into is not as straightforward as you might think.

We starting by commissioning Fusion Research + Analytics  to carry out some initial evaluation with gallery users to help define the initial content we would need to develop. Top of the list for our visitors was an interactive map that would help them find their way around our galleries. This was closely followed by highlights tours for fixed periods of time. So that’s where we’ve started.

At the same time Jim from the Media team has been working with our curators to film video introductions to all of the permanent galleries. These will set the scene for the other content we have been creating – mainly text and images. Our aim is to complete a film and several other pieces of content ready for when the app is publically launched at the end of March.

To help us along the way we recently carried out some initial user testing to find out if we’re progressing on the right track in terms of the content we’re producing and the usability of the app itself. The results have been good with a number of changes being suggested that are now in the app itself including a search function and the option to highlight new content so repeat users can see this at a glance.

We’ll be continuing to add new content up until the middle of March at which time the app goes off to Apple for approval and hopefully will be live in the app store from early April.


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The Prince’s Speech

Midland Daily Telegraph 11.6.1920

A young Prince. Midland Daily Telegraph 11.6.1920 (taken from microfilm version available to view in Coventry History Centre).

Apologies to anyone who has heard enough about the Oscar-winning film The King’s Speech, but almost twenty years earlier one of Prince Albert’s first official duties was the opening of Coventry Council House.

The Council House had already been in use for some time but the ornate oak Chamber within was completed only a few days before the Royal visit on 11th June 1920.

Looking at newspaper articles about the opening ceremony there is little mention of Prince’s Albert’s speech impediment as portrayed in The King’s Speech. The Prince was described as being nervous but having “evidently learned the value of speaking clearly and distinctly” (Midland Daily Telegraph 12th June 1920). 

It was also reported that the Prince enjoyed his visit to Coventry. His route into the city was lined by cheering schoolchildren and he was presented with a souvenir key to the gates of the Council House. Much was also made of him owning a Coventry manufactured car, most probably a Daimler.

Prince Albert made a later visit to Coventry to open the Technical College in 1935. He went on to reluctantly take the throne on 11th December 1936 and become King George VI following the abdication of his elder brother King Edward VIII.

As King he made a morale boosting visit to Coventry following the November Blitz in 1940.


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Object of the Month – March 2011

HMS Coventry
Model of HMS Coventry, a destroyer which fought in the Falklands War.

Model of HMS Coventry

This is a scale model of HMS Coventry, a type 42 destroyer. This was the fifth of six ships named after the city. The name was first given to a ship captured from the Spanish in 1658. This 28-gun ship served in Oliver Cromwell’s navy before being captured by the French in 1666.

The second ship was a 48-gun ship launched in 1695. She too was captured by the French but was soon recaptured. She was broken up in 1709. The next HMS Coventry, a 28-gun ship, was launched in 1757 and was also captured by the French, in 1783.

After a gap of over 100 years, another ship carrying the name was launched in 1917. This was a light cruiser which was later converted to an anti-aircraft cruiser. In the Second World War the ship carried out anti-aircraft and convoy duties around the coast of Britain and then served in the Mediterranean. In September 1942 she was hit by four bombs during the assault on Tobruk, on the coast of Libya, and sank.

The fifth ship was a destroyer launched in 1974. This ship fought in the Falklands War in 1982. On 25th May she was bombed by Argentinean aircraft and sank with the loss of 19 lives.

HMS Coventry detailThe most recent ship to carry the name was launched in 1986. This was a frigate which was sold to the Romanian navy in 2003.

This model was made by John Glossop Model Makers. It was presented to the museum by HMS Mercia, the naval cadet training college in Coventry, when it closed in 1994. The model is on display in What’s In Store, where you can also see the battle honours board that was rescued from the wreck of the ship off the coast of the Falklands. 

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Visitor-Fluff index, Bean-bags and Improvisation

So much for thinking things would calm down once Secret Egypt was launched…. The place is heaving, which is great, but the resultant fluff-balls are trying very hard to get the better of us – and it’s not as if there’s hundreds of woolly coats and scarves around to shed in this weather. I’ve noticed for a while that the Eliot piano in the old foyer needs dusting daily when we have families queuing nearby to get into make & take sessions, but its plinth has never needed the same treatment before. And as for Secret Egypt itself, you’re talking pan-fulls of the stuff! Quite apart from other factors, with all the organic materials on display in there we don’t want to encourage insect pests – which love to eat fluff, hence my ‘interest’. I’ve not gone quite as far as trying to work out how many grammes per 100 visitors, but I could certainly make a stab at a back-up visitor count if the automatic system went down!

My role in Secret Egypt turned out to be rather different from planned, but was mostly enjoyable and, um, stimulating – to find ways of supporting previously unseen objects, which could be produced more or less on the spot from materials to hand, as many of the items could only be handled while a courier from the lending institution was present. My colleague was full-time on perspex mounts, so I got to play with plastazote foam, polystyrene beads and even cardboard tubes when some of the pots which were expected to stand firm on their own turned out not to. Conservators’ squirreling instincts came to the rescue several times over, I’ve renewed my acquaintance with the sewing machine and progressed to funny shaped bean-bags; 3D ones would have been better still in places, but there wasn’t time to ‘play’, and converting between 2D & 3D fries my brain! I just hope I’ve managed to keep the poly beads under control: one of my early projects at the archives (20 years ago) was increasing their stock of book cushions. As a result, I was looking forward to freedom from haunting by small, round, white, floaty things. I’m not just making this up – after 10 years or so of finding them every time I went behind or under, I thought I’d exorcised the last of them; but when we dismantled the benches there they still were, along with loads of fluff. Oh dear……

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Introducing Flora Parrott

(Pictures show examples of the artist’s work.)

My name is Flora Parrott and I am one of the two artists showing work in the ‘Trapezius’ show at the Herbert from April to June.

I have been developing the work for the show for around about a year now and am currently making final changes and adjustments in my studio space at home. Lisa and I are going to be writing a couple of blog entries each to give you a sense of how the ideas for the project have come together and to document the work before it is delivered to the gallery in April.

Lisa and I met in our final year of our MA course, we live very near each other in London and so have stayed in touch and began talking about the continuing parallels between our work and how great it would be to have a show together.

My work is a combination of images and objects which I try to place together and strike a balance which describes a particular process or sensation. Work I have made in the past has dealt with breathing or pressure within the body; I looked at forms within nature and architecture that mirror and enhance these ideas. The principles of the work I’m making for Trapezius are the same: I want the pieces to act as a diagram of a process or action, but in this case I have been thinking about the muscle structures around the spine, how bone can knit back together, how muscles can stretch and contract.

I read a piece in a book called ‘The Inner Touch, Archaeology of a Sensation’ by Daniel Heller Roazen (The Circle and the Point), in which the author describes the ‘central sense’. I was interested in describing the idea of instincts of perception within the body – the idea of a point at which 5 senses meet. I made an instant and obvious connection with the five-pointed shape of a vertebrate which protects the spinal column and so decided to make a work to illustrate the idea.

The work is about 4 feet tall and consists of 5 pentagonal pillars cast in concrete. These have been cast in my garden (!) and all the elements are so heavy that I have had to have some help with the lifting and mixing. Plywood moulds in support structures were lined with paint and silicon and bolted together. The concrete is made from kiln dried sand and cement which has a fine, pale look and a bone like surface. The 5 pillars are going to be joined together with steel strips and stand in a pentagonal formation in the space.

There are also going to be two large-scale combinations of objects and images in the space too. Tree stumps have been treated in different ways and combined with metal and paint to represent how I imagine some of the material combinations within the body work. I have cast soap and used various images and arrangements to try to find a frequency between the objects.

There will be 3 works on the walls which act in a similar way. By referencing objects from the natural history collections and using a configuration of images and objects, they will, I hope, describe a movement within the back and shoulders. For example, a diagram of what it feels like to hunch your shoulders.

These are large-scale works and so have to be made in pieces from plans and then constructed in the space. The pieces will have the actual objects from the collection as part of their fabric – this is incredibly exciting for me! An amazing opportunity to use original source material in the work, I can’t wait to see how it affects the dynamic of the pieces.

Finally I have made a series of 24 images (one for each of the main vertebrae) of which 8 will be shown in the show. We were lucky enough to have access to the museum’s natural history collection and I have used objects which seem to have a similar make up to bone – (coral, shell, minerals) to make diagrams of different pressures on the spine. The images are worked and reworked  – the process reminded me of grafting. We are going to project images onto the Cathedral ruins in May and I am looking forward to seeing how to the natural forms look on the architecture which so closely mimics them.

I hope this gives you a sense of how the work for the show will be.


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