Guest post: Chantal Condron of the Government Art Collection asks, “Are you sitting comfortably?”

Our latest guest post comes from Chantal Condron, curator of the Government Art Collection in London – their unusual Museums at Night event is themed around bedtime stories!

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Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

‘Tantalising’, ‘enlightening’ and ‘unexpected’ – asked to sum up in one word their experience of moonlight-themed tours at the Government Art Collection (GAC) last year, these were just some of comments left by visitors who came to our Museums at Night evening talks. We were pleased to elicit such a warm response for our first year of participation in the event, so much so that we’re joining in again this year.

People looking at video art on screens

Visitors to the Government Art Collection's Museums at Night event last year

I hope that we can unexpectedly surprise visitors once again when we open our doors for ‘Bedtime Stories’, three talks based upon a display of works from the Collection that take place on each evening of Friday 13 and Saturday 14 May. The display, ‘The Devil’s Acre’, has been selected by Will Cooper, an MA student on London Metropolitan University’s Curating the Contemporary course. Will has collaborated with Sally O’Reilly, writer, critic and currently writer-in-residence at the Whitechapel Gallery, to weave together engaging (and amusing) fictional narratives based upon the characters and landscapes depicted in a selection of historical works spanning 1750–1900.

Will is one of five MA students based at London Metropolitan University who, since September last year, have been working alongside specialist staff at the GAC, investigating the Collection and observing at first-hand the range of curatorial to technical skills used on a day-to-day basis at the GAC.

For each ‘Bedtime Stories’ event, visitors can follow Will through the display, listening to him spinning stories on the way. Afterwards there will be a chance to see behind the scenes in the GAC’s technical workshop and racking area, led by one of the GAC staff.

A man bursting through a door in a blur of excitement

MA student Will Cooper is ready to spin stories for visitors

Booking is essential for our Bedtime Stories events. There will be three talks per evening, starting at 6.30, 8.00 and 9.30pm. Each will last approximately 80 minutes, and is suitable for children 12 years and over. To book or for more information, call 020 7580 9120 or email gac@culture.gov.uk. I look forward to seeing some of you there!

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A woman in a painting storeroom

Chantal Condron

Chantal Condron is Curator, Information and Research for Modern and Contemporary Art at the Government Art Collection, London. You can find out more about the Collection at www.gac.culture.gov.uk or on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/governmentartcollection.

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