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On Tuesday 15 November, Karen Eslea, Head of Learning at Turner Contemporary won one of four inaugural Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education, presented at a special evening event run by engage, the National Association for Gallery Education.
A commitment to learning lies at the heart of Turner Contemporary, who believe that learning, is a lifelong process which does not finish when you leave the education system. For that reason the ground breaking Learning Programme at Turner Contemporary encompasses schools, community group projects and regular activities for families.
Karen has been working closely with local people for over ten years in the run up to the opening of the gallery in April 2011. She says ʻmy role has been to ensure that local people feel involved in the development of the gallery, and see it as a valuable resourceʼ. Over 690,000 people have been involved in the work of Turner Contemporary before the gallery opened. To date over 300,000 people have visited the gallery since opening, with over 14,000 people engaging with the Learning Programme.
Karen said: ‘I am really proud to have won a Marsh Award for Excellence in Gallery Education. It is a privilege to work for Turner Contemporary, and to develop projects with the local community. We know that we have a positive impact on people’s lives, and working with artists and people of all ages is endlessly interesting and rewarding.’
Four exceptional individuals were recognised for their dedication and contribution to making the visual arts more accessible to all.
Jane Sillis, Director of engage, said: ʻWeʼre delighted to be able to celebrate the achievements of colleagues in our sector. Gallery educators are essential to making sure the widest possible audience can get involved with art and artists. The volume and standard of nominations for these awards show just how dedicated people working with audiences in galleries across the UK are.ʼ
The engage conference is hosted by Turner Contemporary. The theme for the two-day event is Work in Progress and is set against the backdrop of the regeneration of Margate, in which Turner Contemporary plays a critical role.