Talking with Visitors at the Nissen Hut Barn

‘Flock Together’ Exhibition this way!

Over the weekend of the Nissen Hut exhibition in July we welcomed over 100 visitors, prompting many interesting conversations and fascinating feedback. 

The artists were particularly interested in visitors’ thoughts on the exhibition; its location, the work produced, the project as a whole and the supporting material, such as the photographs and videos.

This was one of the most popular pieces in the show, people mentioned how well the work fitted within the environment, especially against the corrugated iron roof and stained walls.

Many people loved the fact that the work was being displayed in the barn and saw this as an apt setting, with comments about the aesthetic of the space complementing the paintings perfectly. Along with the artworks, the farmer, a couple of his rams and his dog were present throughout the day, this added a personal touch to the exhibition and people seemed to really enjoy learning more about his involvement with the artists and his take on the work they were producing too.

Some finished works, framed and displayed against the brick walls.
The Farmer’s family joined us and had fun making their own collaborative drawing, using the film to trace the silhouettes.

I had worked on developing several different methods of collecting feedback from people which meant everyone had a chance to make comments. This included a series of games, a written questionnaire and an interview/conversational style questionnaire. People were particularly drawn to the ‘Guess the Weight of the Sheep’ game and this certainly was a great starting point for opening up conversations with our visitors!

One of Tony’s Rams – ‘Guess the Weight of the Sheep’ proved a popular game!
We wanted to see where our visitors had come from so we asked them to stick a star on the map. Most people had come from nearby although one visitor had travelled all the way from Germany!

There was a relaxed atmosphere in the barn, partly due to the location but perhaps mainly due to the artists being present in the space and available to the audience to ask questions and talk about their reaction to the work. What I found most interesting is that the conversations in the space became a part of the weekend and the overall experience of the exhibition, had we not been actively talking to people as they entered the space I don’t think we would have gained so much of an understanding of how people felt whilst viewing the work and visitors certainly welcomed the conversations to help interpret and understand the works more fully. 

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To help us collect some feedback from our visitors we created some fun evaluation games for people to play.

Of course these pieces can stand alone in their own right but because the project is so intrinsically linked to the process and the collaboration with the farmer, it truly came alive in this setting. It will be really exciting to see how the context of the gallery space changes how the work appears; I wonder what might become most prominent against the white walls of the gallery? I suspect it will have a much more polished feeling and the focus will shift towards the concepts, collaboration and artistic methods used. It would be fantastic to see as many people who were at the Barn Exhibition join us at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery to see the work in its new setting. It would be brilliant to hear some of the same people’s perspective on the work displayed in a different way. And there will be some more sheep visiting too! (Sheep will be there for one day only on 12th September – see you there!)

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Visitors discuss the work, watch the sheep, talk to the Farmer and play some games.
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