Shadow Lab: studio thinking and the Whitworth Learning programme

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Groups engaging with Shadow Lab, Whitworth Art Gallery. Image by Steven Roper


The Whitworth’s learning team are looking ahead to the opening of their new learning studio and are busy developing ideas of how the space will be used. One way of gaining inspiration for the future has been to reflect on projects the team has worked on in the past. The Whitworth has a long history of trying new things and doing things differently, and the learning department is no exception.

Previously the learning and engagement team have been restricted by the amount of space they had to create their projects, however that hasn’t stopped them from building immersive environments for creative learning to take place. In 2011 the Whitworth hosted an exhibition called Dark Matters: Shadow. Technology. Art. In connection with this the Learning team designed Shadow Lab, a space where visitors could get hands on with the themes of the exhibition. Shadow Lab saw the learning team transform the Gallery’s storage area into dark space with a series of projectors and abstract shapes for participants to interact with. The result was a constantly changing art work that highlighted the creative and theatrical possibilities related to light and shadow.

The Shadow Lab project was a hugely successful venture for the Whitworth’s learning team, and demonstrated how a space could be transformed into a unique and creative environment for visitors to engage with. The possibilities for this type of immersive and conceptual learning will be increased once the Clore learning studio opens. By reflecting on Shadow Lab the learning and engagement team are able to develop plans for work they would like to do in the future that embodies these creative ideals

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Playing with shapes in the Shadow Lab, Whitworth Art Gallery, image by Steven Roper


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