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Image & Identity

Image & Identity workshop at the V&A

Image & Identity workshop at the V&A (click image for larger version)

The V&A is the lead partner in the Image & Identity partnership project which includes five regional museums and galleries and NCH, the children's charity which works with some of the most vulnerable and hard to reach young people in the country. Image & Identity seeks to engage and inspire young people in responding creatively to museum collections through the visual arts. Working alongside creative practitioners, young people have been creating their own work in response to collections through the theme of Image & Identity.

Projects at each of the partner museums have had a profound impact in enhancing knowledge and understanding of other cultures, increasing confidence, self-esteem, creativity and self-expression, as well as improving social skills. Image and Identity projects offer young people enjoyable learning experiences and strong role models such as artists and designers, and aim to make young people feel welcomed into museums and galleries.


Image & Identity is a project jointly funded by the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (CSF) under the national/regional partnerships programme for education. It includes: Victoria and Albert Museum; Manchester City Galleries; Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery; Royal Pavilion, Libraries and Museums, Brighton & Hove; Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust; Tyne & Wear Museums; NCH, the children’s charity.

Image & Identity Projects

View a selection of images from projects run by each of the partner museums during 2006-07.

Outcomes for 2006-07

In the fourth year of Image & Identity all the partners museums worked on the collective theme of 'The Year of Islamic Art'. Through shared professional development partners were able to increase their knowledge of the subject and recruit a more diverse team of educators. Young people were invited to make personal connections with Islamic art and their responses featured in a number of dislays in the different partner museums. Partners worked on learning resources based around the Image & Identity theme for wider use by schools and community groups.

Evaluation Findings for Image & Identity

This years evaluation, 'Research on how to most effectively sustain teachers' and group leaders' use of museums and the Image and Identity theme after completion of their projects', set out to identify what teachers and community group leaders wanted in terms of CPD and learning resources to sustain their continued use of museums. The research identified that:

  • Over 70% of teachers/group leaders participating in Phase 4 had never used a gallery or museum with a group and 70% said they planned to visit again after the project
  • The three most popular suggestions for sustainable learning resources to support the theme were teachers' packs, CD's of images and on-line resources

In 2005-6 the evaluation focused on the involvement of teachers and youth workers, both as professional learners and as contributors to the projects with the report 'Broadening the spectrum: An evaluation of the professional development opportunities for teachers and youth workers offered by the Image & Identity scheme'.

There was also a small scale research report produced in 2005-6 that investigated the ways in which young people might develop a sense of their own identity, and the identity of others, through engagement with museum collections. This was called 'Identifying with the Objects: The Image & Identity Project'.

In 2003-4 an NFER report entitled 'A good image of myself: An evaluation of the Image & Identity Scheme' evaluated the impact of the project on the young people involved.

You can read all these reports in full here

Youth Forum 'Vox Box Project'

A new element this year was the Image & Identity Youth Forum which was developed to give young people a voice with the project and to have a dialogue with others across the country. In February and March 2007 a number of young people who had previously participated were invited to make a range of creative response to both their identity and the museum. These were boxed up and exchanged with boxes by young people at another venues.