Sunday, 15 December 2013

A Eureka Wonder Wander in Norwich Castle Museum

Eureka in Norwich Castle
In order to view this picture story, please click on image above

The Norfolk Museums & Archaeological Service (NMAS) welcomed Eureka Wellbeing Photography members to the Norwich Castle Museum last Friday. We had a fantastic time! In no time at all we were exploring, clambering, laying down, kneeling... whatever it took to get our own unique angle on this amazing visual feast. 

Gathering in the cafe afterwards, I asked the group the following question:
"Do you feel better now than you did when you walked in here this morning?" 

Members responded unanimously, with an emphatic "yes!". Why might this be the case? One reason is that we were putting all of the Five Ways to Wellbeing into action, by:

  • Connecting with one another and the artifacts
  • Being physically active as we moved about
  • Taking notice of the beautiful artifacts and being present in that moment
  • Learning together about the collections and through sharing perspectives and photographic knowledge with each other
  • Giving - it gave us a feeling of genuine satisfaction to know that our photographs would be given to back to the museum and their staff as our way of saying thank you

I think, though, that there are a couple of other things besides these five key 'actions' that contributed to our feel good factor. Firstly, there is the creative act. In a society in which we are so often placed in passive relationships with institutions, events and our environment(s), it is very empowering be able to make something. In our own way, armed only with our cameras and imaginations, we are transformed from consumers to producers. 

The other element in the Eureka group I would identify is playfulness. Put simply, we have fun together. As Picasso once said,

"All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once (s)he grows up." 

Part of this playful attitude is to dare to be different; to be unhibited; to not fear making mistakes. In fact, as Sir Ken Robinson argues, in order to be creative and to learn it is really important to be prepared to 'fail'. I think it also involves an attitude of healthy humility. So want if we look silly lying down to get that one shot... what a giggle we had last summer, as three of us lay down on the lawn of the Octagon Chapel garden getting an insect-eye view of the world. 

The Picture Story (above) is a compilation of our experience of this visit. Above all, it is a tribute to the work of all of the NMAS staff and volunteers who work together to make this wonderful place 'sing'


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