Kerry Garner is an MA Art History student at University of Manchester and has been a We Face Forward Student Volunteer for We Face Forward. Here is her review of We Face Forward and her volunteering experiences.
We face Forward and Volunteering
Manchester is a city I love with a passion, so when the city’s annual parade kicked off on a recent weekend I felt proud to be from here and even more proud to be taking part in the Manchester Day Parade. Colour was blazing along the streets, flaring its way down Deansgate and booming all the way up Cross Street for no less than 2 hours. The atmosphere was stunning and the carnival-vibe had every single pavement filled with bodies, packed to the brim. It was a sight, and a fantastic one to say the least. Further down the road at the tail of the great monster-sized colour-brigade filled with every shape and creation imaginable, bopping along to the sounds of Africa was our humble team of six We Face Forward members and our zippy little art bus, shaking our tail feathers, soaking up the sunshine with smiles all round and experiencing something which, at least for me, was an event I will remember for some time to come. Never in my life can I say I have danced my way down Deansgate before!
The exhibition’s opening had definitely started with a bang! I decided to volunteer for the We Face Forward exhibition because it felt exciting, I felt excited about it, and that’s the feeling that’s being returned to me in participating. Studying for a Masters in Art History, I need work experience to break into the sector; everybody knows that, little did I know however how much fun it could be. What’s great about the opportunities opened to willing volunteers such as myself through this exhibition, was the variety on offer to choose what and where you would like to volunteer, and the chance to feel like you are taking part in something special at the same time as reaping a valuable learning experience. We Face Forward reaches all ages, 5 different venues, and touches on events such as the Manchester Day Parade, the Olympic Torch Relay Celebration. It was inspiring to see families and kids willing to try their hand at print-making at the Manchester Museum on the opening Saturday, again an experience I thoroughly enjoyed thanks to the lovely Museum staff, seeing the visiting artists whose enthusiasm was actually infectious, incredibly cute kids and a vibrancy of culture captured and brought to life by the exhibition. It was nice to see in action how public events can capture the imagination of not just the younger audience, but their parents too, especially reluctant fathers! This is how I feel about the exhibition now and I can’t wait to make my way around the whole of it throughout the coming summer as a visitor.