Dr Nick Owen MBE PLUS

Working in and on the Business of Cultural Education

Project Management

I have been employed as Project Manager for Art Gene, the Cumbria based (inter) national arts research facility established and led by artists Maddi Nicholson and Stuart Bastik since 2014 and have managed several significant creative and heritage projects for them:

* Seldom Seen. This project explored the cultural heritage of Barrow and Morecambe Bay through the production of 5 artist designed maps which were the result of consultations with local communities around Barrow and Morecambe Bay. These consultations generated historical and natural information which were incorporated into the artworks. This project also produced 4 mobile phone Apps which, by using film and audio, provide historical and natural information about the landscape through the form of a walk led by local people. Over 500 people participated in this project.

* Fort Walney Uncovered. This project engaged local communities, archaeologists and artists in the exploration, interpretation and explanation of Barrow and Walney Island’s military heritage from World War I. The results are available on a mobile phone App for the site which details a walk around the Natural England Reserve, on North Walney, with video of local people sharing stories of the military and natural history. New artworks have also been produced in this project which provide an interpretation to the site. Over 200 local people were engaged in this project which addressed the sensitive natural and the historic nature of this World war 1 training ground.

* Tracks of the Ironmasters. This was a community consultation project which focused on the interpretation of the two walking and cycling paths on the West Cumbrian Coast from Whitehaven to Rowrah and from Lowca to Upland. Over 700 people were consulted through this project.

* South Walney – Hides and Masterplan. This project involved the design and development of 2 new artist designed family friendly bird hides and the production of a focused masterplan for Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s South Walney Reserve in Barrow. This was developed through engaging with the Barrow and Walney communities, schools and interested parties in the area. Over 150 local people participated in this project.

* Sheds, a multi-funded project which is developing a plot of land on Walney Island into a long term sustainable community allotment with members from across the local Barrow community, ecologists and other local stakeholders.

All projects involve a significant level of volunteer participation and I designed a volunteer engagement programme, Place Makers, in order to deliver this element of those projects. Starting in July 2014, Place Makers has provided volunteer training for over 30 volunteers in a range of research, interview and interpretation skills.

My track record demonstrates our commitment to working collaboratively, both with artists from different disciplines and also between different organisations with different agendas and priorities. Highlights of my collaborative project management work include:

* Midas Touch, St Helens: a creative recycling programme based upon a creative educational approach drawn from the principles of the Early Years work of the pre-schools of Reggio Emilia for early years children in St. Helens. Partners: St Helens Children’s Services; World Museum, Liverpool; St Helens Arts Services; Find Your Talent.

* Gulliver’s Travels, Higher Side Community Comprehensive School, Knowsley: A redesigned thematic curriculum for Year 7 at Knowsley Park Centre for Learning involving film makers, designers, builders and story tellers. Partners: Knowsley Park CfL, Curious Minds, Merseyside.

* Treasured at the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral This large scale multimedia theatre production was enhanced through a range of youth based provision which we fund raised for, designed and delivered a range of innovative activities and enhanced audiences for the main production. Partners: Cut to the Chase Productions, Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, Arts Council England, Knowsley Families First, St Helens Arts Services.

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