COLUMN: Behind the scenes...with The Hepworth Wakefield

Half term activities at the Hepworth Wakefield.
Half term activities at the Hepworth Wakefield.

Introducing our new monthly glimpse inside the world of the city’s acclaimed gallery.

Happy New Year! I’m delighted to welcome you to the very first of our monthly columns.

We’ll be sharing stories and bringing you news from behind the scenes at The Hepworth Wakefield and introducing you to our staff, volunteers and the artists and organisations we work with.

Three months ago I joined The Hepworth Wakefield to manage the work of the Learning and Exhibitions and Collection teams.

For the past 25 years I’ve been based in London, where I’ve worked with a range of the UK’s leading arts organisations, including the Royal Academy of Arts, British Film Institute, The National Gallery, The British Library, V&A, The British Museum, and most recently, The Foundling Museum.

I’m passionate about making art accessible and looking at ways to integrate art into local communities.

When relocating to Yorkshire to join The Hepworth, I decided to live in the centre of Wakefield, to learn about the city and discover more about the communities that live on the gallery’s doorstep.

I was especially interested to find out about some of the fantastic projects the gallery is involved in with schoolchildren and teenagers across Wakefield.

I thought I’d share just a few of these projects coming up in the next couple of months:

Next week we will open a new display to tie in with Wakefield Artwalk on 25 January. Peace: People, Places and Pots is curated by Art & Social, a group of young people aged 16 to 25 years old who meet weekly at The Hepworth Wakefield.

This important project gives them the opportunity to, in their own words, ‘build skills, develop friendships and confidence’ through creative art projects that will hopefully help them to enter employment and future training opportunities.

During February half-term we’ll be hosting another opportunity for children to achieve the nationally recognised Explore Arts Award qualification.

Over the four days, children aged 7-11 years old professional animator Sheryl Jenkins will be helping children to make their own animation, using digital cameras, animation software, sound and narration.

We’re also continuing the excellent work of our Out and About project.

Together with three secondary schools in Castleford, Knottingley and Wakefield, we’re introducing children aged 11 to 13 and their families to the landscape and sculptures across Yorkshire through class visits and artist-led workshops at Brimham Rocks, Nostell Priory, The Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. They’ll also be learning about Barbara Hepworth’s early life growing up in Wakefield.

In the coming year, we want to get out and about more in Wakefield.

We’re planning exciting new projects in the local communities that we’ll reveal throughout the year, including our major spring exhibition, Disobedient Bodies: J.W.Anderson at The Hepworth Wakefield (March 18–June 18 2017).

I’m keen to hear what you have enjoyed at The Hepworth Wakefield and what you would like to see here.

You can contact me by emailing