Last week, The Gryphon interviewed committee members, Sam and Laura, of the fairly new Museum and Art Gallery Society.
Why did you join the society?
Sam: I joined because I think that there’s a lack of museum trips, especially in my department, I study History of Art, and, obviously, that’s because of budget restrictions. But I think that students should have the opportunity to be able to visit galleries across the country for a relatively low price.
Laura: I joined because I come from a different department; I’m actually in the School of English, but when I heard that the society was looking for new committee members, I thought that it would be great to have someone on the committee that could bridge the gap between different departments. I also wanted to get involved in making people more aware that there are loads of opportunities, especially in Leeds, for museums and galleries.
What are the aims of the society?
Sam: To encourage people to realise the cultural capital we have, not only in our local area, but as a country as a whole. This country is so rich in culture, and we just want to make that as accessible as possible.
Laura: Since we’re a new society, at the moment we’re focusing on trips, but we’re hoping to start broadening out into other areas of art. We want this society to be for everyone: fine artists themselves, lovers of art, and for people who don’t know much about it but wish they knew more.
What do you like most about museums and galleries?
Sam: For me, art galleries can be these magical places where you can be transported anywhere. I think that art is really important for society and for ourselves, because, naturally, we tend to look inwards and think that we are the only person and everyone else is like us. I think that art is really great at puncturing that false barrier and making us realise that there are multiple different perspectives.
Laura: I think that art can be impactful. For example, I was just reading about some art activists who were approached because of the US election, and they talked about what the future is for art activism now. For them, the outcome of the election is futile; it’s still part of this great web of deceit and corruption, so art has to be the mechanism that dismantles all the lies and deceit that have been built up around these candidates, and instead, bring to the fore the wider political issues. I think that the wider impact of art is sometimes overlooked.
Do you have any events coming up?
Laura: We are currently in the midst of planning our next big event. We’ll be going to Liverpool on the 26th of November. Details of the event can be found on our Facebook page (LUU Museum and Art Gallery Society). It’ll be great because Liverpool is a really vibrant city.
Sam: It was the European City of Culture last year, or the year before. There are lots of stuff going on there; you’ve got the Tate, little local galleries and tons of other stuff.
What would you tell someone to convince them to join your society?
Sam: I would say that we have a lot of fun. We enjoy talking to people and seeing what people’s differing opinions on art are. This should be a forum for creativity, but it’s also not something that’s meant to be intimidating. If you don’t know anything about art, it doesn’t matter. It’s just about making human connections, having some fun, and looking at some art.
Laura: We’re just a group of people who are really interested in art, and enjoy chatting about it and having a drink afterwards. It’s a great space to be engaged in art in a way that isn’t intimidating, or that isn’t remotely to do with the way that it’s perceived academically. We’re also very international, if you look at our members, and we have loads of people from different departments, like Science, Maths and Languages.
(Image courtesy of yorkshire.com)