Out of the box!

Island Culture during Covid-19

You might feel stuck inside a box, locked down, quarantined… But culture has been liberated! No longer stuck inside the museum or gallery building… Culture is out of the box!

There are so many names/phrases that we’d never have expected to use or perhaps even heard of: furlough, lockdown, Covid-19, social distancing, pandemic… I love language so I guess it interests me. If it interests you here’s an article from Oxford University Press on The Language of Coronavirus.

“What’s that got to do with education, the arts, Lift the Lid, and the Isle of Wight Cultural Education Partnership?” I hear you ask.

We care about the arts (obviously) and we at the IWCEP know that your wellbeing can be nurtured during this time through great arts and cultural activity. Have you seen some of the wonderful access to theatre, musicals, art and museums that’s coming out of this terrible situation? The BBC and Arts Council England have launched ‘Culture in Quarantine‘ which brings up a whole range of activities and experiences online – a wonderful opportunity to take part or kick back in the comfort of your own home.

Did you also realise that your local cultural organisations have so much on offer too? I thought that I’d list here as much information as I can about Island organisations who are offering something online. Many of these are for families with children, but don’t let that stop you, anyone can join in!

  1. Quay Arts

Based in Newport, this Arts Centre is a charity that needs your support during lockdown. They rely on visitors to both the cafe and the two galleries upstairs, let alone the theatre shows, music and other events that the Quay offers.

Quay at Home is their initiative, a blog of creative ideas such as:

  • Home Art – Easy step by step guides to creating art including origami, collages, etc
  • Exhibitions in your home – there has been a tour of the recent exhibition which just happens to have been the finale exhibition from the Lift the Lid project, The Great Leap Forward
  • Throwback Thursday – looking back at past exhibitions and events

2. New Carnival Company

The wonderful team of Carnival crazy experts at NCC in Ryde have adapted their work so that they can present to you online! In order to prepare for a future post-lockdown carnival, NCC are inviting you all to watch and learn all about carnival, and to join in to create your own flags, costumes, mask, dances and junk percussion instruments!

Watch their videos and join in using their new dedicated website, Virtual Carnival Club.

3. Independent Arts

The great team at Independent Arts have worked hard to ensure that their online sessions are free to access and open to all at the moment. They have everything from poems to art and craft all on their You Tube channel and Facebook page. They also have story telling on their Instagram page. They have slightly changed our offer to try and reach anyone who is isolated from home schooling families to older people in care homes and everyone, everywhere in between.

Check out their website for more information.

4. Isle of Wight Heritage Services

Discover more about the sites and diverse collections of the Isle of Wight Heritage Service through a new series of fun-filled, craft-based activity packs. Families are being invited to earn their stripes as a history detective by completing the crafty tasks at home.

New activities introducing further research and projects for all ages will be uploaded to the Isle of Wight Council’s website each week.

The first pack is available now and explores some of the amazing dragon artefacts held by the heritage service. These include a 500-year-old gold ring which depicts the brave St Margaret who killed a dragon with her cross, and a dragon-shaped medieval ear scoop. People would clean their ears using the scoop on the end of the monster’s tongue.

For more information about the heritage service, contact museums@iow.gov.uk

5. English Heritage – Carisbrooke Castle

The local English Heritage Education Visits Officer set up some great activities for school children including a competition to design a shield for Jill the Donkey, who lives at Carisbrooke Castle.

6. Dinosaur Isle

‘Meet Arfur, Arfur Tortoise!’ No really.

I have half of a modern tortoise shell at Dinosaur Isle that I call ‘Arfur’ (Arther), because he’s only ‘arfer totoise and we don’t know where the other ‘arf is!

said Trevor Price, the Museum’s Community Learning Officer.

Dinosaur Isle have set you a challenge to use natural objects to make pictures! A short ‘Bite-sized science’ article PDF is on the front page of Dinosaur Isle’s website for download. Hopefully the last picture in the article makes everyone smile, and will encourage others to follow with a range of smiley pictures created from natural history or heritage objects.

See Dinosaur Isle’s front webpage for the link – click on the pdf logo to download it.


That’s all for now folks, but we’re hoping to bring you something exciting from Ventnor Exchange very soon!

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