Cutting edge creativity at Derby Silk Mill

December 1, 2014

Cutting edge creativity goes on show as Museomix UK 2014 puts Derby Silk Mill on the world stage.

The trust which runs Derby’s historic Silk Mill says that the venue has proven itself to be at the cutting edge of world museum practice after it successfully hosted the UK leg of the international Museomix 2014 event last weekend.

The venue, which is built on the site of the world’s first factory, attracted visitors from as far afield as Italy, Russia, the Philippines and the USA during the three day “makeathon” event, which is held every year to encourage people to experiment in order to find new innovative ways to develop and improve the museum visitor experience.

Around 70 people, which included artists, digital creatives and engineers as well as museum professionals, took part in Museomix UK, working in teams to create prototype schemes designed to interpret a number of the museum’s exhibits, including its Rolls-Royce RB211 jet engine, its steam-powered Grasshopper engine and a 19th Century Midland Railway signal box.

The event coincided with other Museomix meetings at museums in Lille, St Etienne and Arles in France, Geneva in Switzerland and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Canada, with participants at each venue connecting with one another and sharing ideas over the internet.

Jonathan Wallis, head of museums for Derby Museums Trust, said that the event, which was being held in Derby for the first time and for only the second time in the UK, was a tremendous coup for the Silk Mill.

he added that the Silk Mill, which has already earned a national reputation for innovative practice thanks to its ground-breaking volunteer-led Re:Make programme, is now gaining a place on the world stage thanks to its approach and its facilities, which includes a publicly-accessible workshop containing equipment such as a laser-cutter and a 3D printer,

It also boasts a high speed free WiFi connection, which was installed as part of the Government’s SuperConnected Cities project and allowed people all over the world to engage with Museomix UK.

Mr Wallis said: “Museomix UK was a wonderful event which brought together 70 extremely passionate and creative people to generate ideas and design prototype projects that brought some of our most-loved exhibits to life in some extraordinary ways.

“As a trust we are now regularly asked to host visits and give talks here and overseas about what we have already achieved at the Silk Mill. Museomix was another sign that the museum is now internationally important, which is a wonderful endorsement of the skills and resources that we have in Derby and in the UK as a whole.”

Prototypes Generated

Among the ideas generated over the weekend was “Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow” which describes the processes inside a jet engine and was used to interpret the RB211 by projecting a graphic on the floor beneath the engine and requiring visitors to blow into a tube or squeeze a giant pump in order to bring the corresponding section of the graphic to life.

Photos: ‘The Derby Silk Mill’s Rolls-Royce RB211 engine is given a new interpretation with a prototype scheme called Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow, which was devised to describe how the engine operates at the recent Museomix UK event’,  credit: Derby Silk Mill, 2014

Find out more

Find out more about the prototype outcomes of Museomix 2014, on the Museomix website.

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