Future Views for Flow

We in Flow UK are going through a nicely productive patch, working on some projects that really help us live up to our name – getting us into a state of flow. As well as longer term projects such as the National Maritime Museum’s Travellers’ Tails, the Ashmolean Museum’s community projects around their Manet acquisition, and running the Cultural Education Challenge project called Cultivate, we also have some new projects.

We’re helping the Science Museum develop an activity programme for their new Medicine Galleries, including provision for families, schools, hard-to-reach audiences and people with dementia. We’re evaluating a programme called Arts-Friendly Archives, led by playwright Jefny Ashcroft, working with archives in the West Midlands. We’re evaluating the contemporary environmental art projects, and the organisational development, of the arts organisation Invisible Dust.

One new project that is really exciting is called Future Views. The three ACE bridge organisations Royal Opera House, Artswork and Festival Bridge have commissioned us to carry out a process to imagine the next generation of cultural learning. Working with young people, Local Cultural Education Partnerships and experts in cultural, digital and educational futures, we are using a Speculative Design approach in a series of online and real-world discussions. This will result in a Toolkit that any local cultural education partnership can use to think about the future and come up with a Route Map to 2036. There will soon be a website and Twitter feed about the project, so watch this space.


Graphic Information design intern needed

This summer, to celebrate our 10th anniversary, we – the Flow UK team – want to offer a paid internship for a talented visual designer who is looking for some developmental experience in the cultural sector. This opportunity could provide you with a stimulating challenge, new contacts and insights, access to innovative models of thinking and material for your portfolio.

Description of the role

Your work would contribute to the visual development of our company, working across a range of projects to ensure our materials are clearly presented and consistent, and that our models are well defined. This may include designing creative tools and resources to use in workshops, and visualising the insights and data we collect. We would also welcome a critical review of our current brand.

Current projects include ‘Future Views’ a speculative design project imagining the future generation of cultural learners; ‘Cultivate’, supporting collaboration between educators, developers and creative practitioners in the built environment within the Nine Elms regeneration area; devising and delivering training materials in Experience Design and Narrative Theory. Other clients include arts and ecology producers Invisible Dust, and several museum and heritage organisations including the Science Museum and the National Maritime Museum.

This is a full or part time paid internship, for up to 10 weeks between June and August, we can offer up to £250 per week including all expenses and VAT.

Flow does not have a dedicated office as we prefer to co-work in various spaces in South East and Central London. We most regularly work in the Members Lounge at the Royal Festival Hall, so we will pay for the successful candidate to become a member, valid for a year. Work hours are flexible and some work may be done at home.

Following the internship there may be further opportunities for freelance work on an ad-hoc basis.

What we can offer

This opportunity would suit a Design-based MA or PhD student or graduate at early career stage, of any age, looking for an experience that gives a chance to shape an organisation that gets people more engaged with arts, science, history and heritage sites. You will benefit from our insights based on decades of experience in the cultural sector, will be able to learn about working with a variety of organisations such as national museums, arts policy bodies and science institutes, and explore new emerging areas of cultural work such as in regeneration areas.

Your skills

The main skillsets for this are:

Design Thinking, and experience of Service Design and Experience Design

Excellent Graphic Design skills, especially diagrams/infographics

Digital skills, for example with WordPress

Writing and editing text

Fluent in English

You will need to have your own access to computer equipment and design software, ideally the Adobe suite. It would also be very useful to have access to Microsoft Word and Excel.

How to apply

Interested applicants should email [email protected] with the subject line ‘Visual Design Intern’ by 6th June. The email should include a link to your portfolio and a cover letter describing your interest in the position, and availability to work in London for several days a week over the summer. We would particularly like to hear what you hope to gain from the role, and what excites you most about the opportunity. We will be holding initial interviews on 9th and 13th June in London.

We are led by our values in Flow – and are committed to equality, social justice and environmental sustainability. We will not discriminate on any grounds.


Old_woodland_copse_at_Mossend_Farm_ruins News

Managing Cultivate

Flow has been contracted by Enable to manage an exciting programme called Cultivate. We have been setting up the project for the past 4 months, after consulting and designing it earlier in 2015, and now we’re ready to spread the word.

Cultivate is one of seven ‘Cultural Education Challenge‘ projects around London part-funded by A New Direction. Cultivate has been awarded two year’s funding, matching contributions from Wandsworth Council and Nine Elms developers. Its aim is to create a bridge between the cultural opportunities being created through the regeneration and local young people aged 7 to 19 who would most benefit from them.

As the transformation of Nine Elms on the South Bank unfolds, a cultural strategy is creating vibrant new venues, creative workspace, public art and festivals. Cultivate will support this work through art and design workshops and hands-on participatory projects. These will raise young people’s awareness and aspiration in relation to creative and place-related study and professional paths.

Cultivate aims to support relationships between this changing area and schools nearby, to nurture quality projects and ensure opportunities to be involved are shared effectively. This will result in a place that is seen as both a cultural destination in the making and a starting point for a future creative generation.

The funding has enabled a dedicated focus on collaboration with developers, cultural organisations and schools to offer: project coordination, quality guidance, evaluation support and relationship brokerage as well as sharing learning and best practice.

Current projects include:

  • Creative Hoarding Project at St Mary’s School, led by artist Orly Orbach and the Pumphouse Gallery, working with cultural consultant DPQ and developer Taylor Wimpey
  • Nine Songs for Nine Elms with Griffin Primary School, led by artist Lucy Cash and Up Projects, working with the Vista Development site and developer Berkley Homes
  • Edible Avenue with St Georges Primary School, led by artists Edible Bus Stop, working with cultural consultant Aida Esposito and developer Vinci St Modwen, related to developments around Thessaly Road and the New Covent Garden Market.
  • Exploring Nine Elms at Chesterton Primary, St John Bosco College and John Burns Primary. This project is not fixed on one development site, but is directly commissioned by the Cultivate team to explore new ideas, build relationships with schools that have been offered fewer projects so far, and trial our planning approach. It is supported by ReachOutRCA to source practitioners and explore study routes and careers through the projects.

Cultivate is led by Enable on behalf of Wandsworth Council and the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership. It is hoped to expand the project into Vauxhall in the near future.

For more information contact Ana Ospina: [email protected] or 077327 87423.

Follow the Cultivate.London website to receive news updates in emails, and follow us on @Cultivate_ldn on Twitter.


Summer update

Here’s a quick update on some of our latest projects in Flow UK:

Working for Girlguiding UK to review their framework of outcomes and programmes across all the levels, and develop recommendations for a revised approach

Evaluating the Shuffle Festival, an exciting art, science and placemaking festival in the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.

Evaluators for Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, as their building closes and planned redevelopments take place.

Working with Wandsworth Arts to develop a creative learning programme about placemaking and design, linked to the major Nine Elms on the South Bank development.

Devising and delivering Lighthouse Songs, enabling Orford and Aldeburgh Primary School children to compose and perform songs as part of a significant concert, celebrating the Orfordness Lighthouse as it comes to the end of its life (due to rising sea levels and erosion). See link here.



Only Connect

Screenshot 2015-06-25 18.02.40

I’ll be chairing the morning session of Culture24’s conference, Connecting Collections (link here Connecting Collections) at the National Maritime Museum on 29th June. This should be a really stimulating day, as it goes beyond talking about digital tactics, to exploring how best to connect learners with cultural collections and stories. I’ve been chewing on this question since first helping to set up Tate’s website in 1995, when I argued that its structure should reflect needs of audiences (and especially curious, learning audiences) rather than our internal silos. I then worked on digital access to the British Library’s millions of collection items, including the Sound Archive. The British Library is currently doing inspiring work with young people exploring digital rights and democracy, as part of the Magna Carta celebrations. Since setting up Flow in 2006, I’ve worked on a large number of projects exploring ways to engage learners with cultural collections, using digital means, working for many national and regional museums, ACE, English Heritage, the BFI, HLF and more.

More recently, Flow UK has been working on a few projects that continue chewing away at this issue. For example, we conducted the digital strand of the ACE-funded Stronger Together project. This explored how schools and museums could move beyond a ‘vendor’ model of education delivery towards more rewarding co-development of initiatives with richer outcomes for all participants. For the digital strand, we looked at the role digital technologies are playing in museum learning around the world. We then explored how this practice can be incorporated to strengthen partnerships between schools and museums. You can read our report here Stronger Together Digital research

Also we’ve worked with Artswork South East on their initiative, Extending Digital Practice. This included three projects in Eastbourne, Margate and Oxford, drawing together museums/galleries, schools and digital practitioners or agencies to deliver innovative work with young people. As part of our evaluation of these projects, we carried out some background research to:

  • Define what innovative digital practice in learning looks like now in terms of principles and behaviours
  • Explain what initiatives and practice exists already, especially in Cultural Education partnerships, and in the South East
  • Identify any gaps or weaknesses, which could be supported by sharing learning.

You can download the background report on this link 

There’s also a handy infographic (link here) which we commissioned recently condensing some of its key concepts.



A quick update: Here are lots of links to good projects and research, from a Digital Learning Network chat about connecting learners with cultural collections.


Flow-er needed

Our team in Flow UK is looking for a ‘paid volunteer’ who wants early career experience in arts, heritage and science engagement. We’d like to hear from students or graduates, of any age, with lots of enthusiasm. You might have some knowledge of areas such as museums, market research, teaching, community arts, graphic design, experience design or science communication.

The main work coming up is supporting workshops where we consult with audience groups and evaluate events such as festivals.
The main skillsets for this are:
– able to chat sensitively and confidently with all kinds of people (while also being unobtrusive)
– able to take and transcribe notes, use a camera and document events as they happen
– able to help make posters, handouts, displays etc.
We can pay £50 per day plus travel costs when attending events (e.g. in London, Cambridge, Oxford). You will benefit from our insights based on decades of experience in the cultural sector. Because we are a business that depends on winning short contracts, there is no guarantee of work.
Please email [email protected] with an online CV, your website, or a CV attached, as well as a very brief note on why you’d like to work with us.
We are led by our values in Flow – and are committed to equality, social justice and environmental sustainability. We will not discriminate on any grounds.

Busy times

Here’s a long promised update on our latest work in Flow UK so far in 2015. We’ve been collaborating with established friends such as Vivienne Reiss, KCA London and Guerilla Science, and with new associates, including service designer Daniela Ivanova, and Anna Salaman, former Head of Formal Learning at Royal Museums Greenwich.

Some new projects include:

Developing an evaluation framework for Encounters Arts, for their Connect and Inspire programme of projects.

Evaluating Travellers’ Tails, the programme of exhibitions, events, volunteers and a digital tool, accompanying the funded acquisition of two Stubbs paintings of a kangaroo and a dingo.

In a similar vein, evaluating the programme of events, tour and community projects surrounding the funded acquisition by the Ashmolean Museum of Manet’s portrait of Mademoiselle Fanny Claus.

Evaluating the process and partnerships of the ACE-managed national Museums and Schools Programme, and developing an outcomes-based evaluation framework for the next phase.

Working with Guerilla Science, the Festival of the Spoken Nerd, and Ravensbourne on running the Super Human Academy for secondary school pupils to encounter exciting future technologies, supported by Intel.

Evaluating SMASHFestUK, a unique kind of science festival for young people produced by The Registry and hosted by Lewisham organisations such as The Albany Theatre and Deptford Lounge.

Supporting the Maritime Greenwich WHS learning group to sustain and grow its cultural learning partnership, working with schools and arts, heritage and environmental organisations across the borough.

Continuing to develop The Story of the Crick, the heritage activity programme for the new Francis Crick Institute.

We also have four or five more exciting projects in development, with Flow India and associates, and more news about these will come in due course.


Turning of the year

It’s traditional to write a newsletter or year’s reflection at this time. We had wanted to be a bit less traditional, but there hasn’t been a moment to draw breath. It’s been a really lively Autumn for us here in Flow UK. Susanne Buck joined us in the summer as a new director, bringing some fresh ideas for the future and ways of doing things. We’ve added a few new projects to our portfolio, including:

Working with artist Paul St George on an exciting project for World Heritage Sites

Evaluating a contemporary public art project led by Modus Operandi, for the transformation of the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter in Oxford

Working with Guerrilla Science on workshops exploring biofuels and seeds in creative ways

Working as part of KCA’s team to develop the heritage aspect of the public programme for the new Crick Institute at St Pancras. This brings together the heritage of several major medical organisations, and will reflect the health-related heritage of the local area.

We’re also still working on two research projects into digital cultural learning, one for Artswork SE, the other for the ACE-funded Stronger Together project. Bridget is coming to the end of her year helping co-ordinate the Maritime Greenwich WHS Learning group.

Flow India has been busy running transformative programmes in schools and museums in New Delhi and Indore. Several projects this term have using contemporary art and local heritage to explore environmental themes such as gardens, trees and water.

New projects are already brewing for 2015. Hopefully, we’ll find time to let you know about them soon.


A bit of history, looking to the future

This new website heralds a new phase of sharing between Flow UK and Flow India, under a new umbrella of FlowGlobal.

This means building bridges to work on a more international basis and with a stronger mission of creating futures. In part, it’s a new phase as we’re delighted to welcome on board our new co-director Susanne Buck, with whom we will develop a strong foundation to the business and a new strand of Experience Design. Mark Stevenson will continue his association with FlowGlobal but is giving more time to an exciting new venture, We Do Things Differently.

It’s a clean slate in a way but we’re not eliminating our history. Between our small team in London and a bigger, growing one in Delhi, we have spent countless hours on Skype, email and in person, developing Creative Enquiry to suit education in both national contexts, forging methods for evaluation using Theory of Change, and adapting Service Design for digital projects in the Cultural sector.

We’ve delivered so many projects since we set up Flow in 2006 that it’s easy to lose track of the detail sometimes. However, there is still plenty of free-flowing knowledge between us, and it’s not trapped in the sediments of archived reports.

This is a bit of reflection on some of the cultural sector consultancy projects we’ve done in the past 2 years. As well as consultancy, and especially in India, we have also delivered courses, workshops, summer camps and culture labs in schools for many thousands of children and young people.

Bridget has led cultural consultancy projects working with Flow India’s directors and other associates including Susanne Buck, Mike Ellis, Rebecca Birch, Joanna Holland, Sarah May, Wendy Earle, Dr Lindsay Keith, James Aldridge, and others.

These are are our main consultancy and research projects in the UK over the past two years.

Currently we’re working on:

  • Co-ordinating the Learning partnership across the World Heritage Site of Maritime Greenwich.
  • Evaluating the outreach and education programme supporting the Ashmolean Museum’s acquisition of Manet’s portrait of Mademoiselle Fanny Claus
  • Evaluating the Extending Innovative Digital Practice programme, led by Artswork South East, with clusters of schools, arts organisations and tech companies in Oxford, Margate and Eastbourne
  • Researching digital innovation in school and museum partnerships, exploring possibilities for a Remote model of digital learning

And recently we’ve done:

And a few highlights from the previous year or so:

  • Audience research and a digital strategy for the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum at the University of Exeter, which led to a new brand, website and engagement plan
  • Audience research and evaluation of the Heritage100 website which serves museums and their audiences across Hampshire and the Solent
  • Scoping and market research towards a Digital Collections Prospectus for researchers for RAMM in Exeter
  • Evaluating the schools projects of Resident artists and designers at the V&A Museum in their work with schools
  • Recently, we’ve also worked for the V&A to evaluate a guide to African collections and to evaluate a training course for Indian museum professionals held at the V&A
  • Three research projects on making in museums, on libraries and creative literacy, and on creative outreach strategies, to help development plans for The Children’s Museum London
  • Producing Caring for Reef and Shore (educational films and resources) for St Abbs & Eyemouth Marine Reserve
  • Evaluating the Caribbean Through a Lens community projects and web collections for The National Archives.
  • Research into needs of educational users to scope the digital education offer for the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, for English Heritage
  • Evaluation of the contemporary art programme of the Canal & River Trust, including research into evaluation of public art and environmental outcomes
  • INIVA and A Space, market research and marketing strategy for a new Creative Learning brand and an exciting toolkit of Emotional Learning Cards
  • A strategy for outreach, public participation and digital engagement for the successful HLF bid to develop the National Army Museum
  • Evaluation of a learning project called Spacemakers and the overall visitor experience of Kettle’s Yard, and a plan to evaluate their HLF-funded developments
  • Evaluation of the National Museums Online Learning Project. This is a major partnership project between 9 national museums, which resulted in Creative Spaces and WebQuests.

If you would like to find out more about any of these projects or discuss how we can help you with similar work, do get in touch. For a longer list of consultancy projects, see this.