A nightclub and marriages made in dessert heaven: Museums at Night 2012 reveals Connect10 results

By Ben Miller | 06 March 2012
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Poll results for the Museums at Night 2012 Connect10 competition

a photograph of two naked men with glasses hiding their modesty behind a cut out display of chandeliers and feasting items
Bompas & Parr are in for a maritime Museums at Night 2012© Image and Illustration Carl Palmer and Emma Rios
The polls have closed, the votes have been counted and the results are in: Connect10, the new escapade for this year’s Museums at Night sending some of the best artists to some of the finest venues in the land, can reveal who will be going where.

More than 21,000 votes were cast during a frenetic month – had there been a swingometer, it would have been well-used as the race for a date with figures such as Rolling Stones confidante Terry O'Neill and jelly magicians Bompas and Parr chopped and changed.

Twitter is rarely a meek place to be if you follow museums and galleries, with a frenzy of supportive messages and pleas for backing exchanged between venues, followers and new allies (“we want #Parr4Wedgwood”, Stoke’s Mecca of pottery implored, while General Election photographer Simon Roberts called on the public to decide his Museums at Night fate as the final day of polling drew to a close.)

So who got the majority decisions? The Towner, in Eastbourne, will be thrilled that their plan to transform the award-winning gallery with a little help from Bob & Roberta Smith will go ahead, having promised voters “the first ever Museums at Nightclub” in a night “unlike anything this town has seen before”.

Surly bouncers aren’t invited, as the interactive dance-off with the man they call an “iconic signmaker” will also be an “exciting interactive event” for all ages.

The Wedgwood launched an impassioned Twitter campaign to earn an audience with Martin Parr, who they called “incredible”. They just edged out the People's History Museum, which won particular backing from its loyal following across Manchester.

At least the museum can take solace in the triumph for their friends at the city’s Working Class Movement Library, where organisers thanked their “brilliant supporters” – including revolutionary local football club FC United of Manchester – for securing the one-off services of Simon Roberts.

Bompas & Parr will make a mischievous pairing with Brunel's ss Great Britain, in Bristol. The world’s first luxury liner had urged supporters to “get a wobble on”

“The jellymongers have taken inspiration from the Victorians and combine technology, engineering and food science in their art,” said Rhian Tritton, the Director of Museum and Educational Services at the ship’s Trust.

“As far as we are concerned it is a marriage made in delicious dessert heaven.”

Wolverhampton Art Gallery has been rewarded for a tenacious campaign (“let’s win this thing!”) with a visit from Susan Stockwell, and Scottish sculptor Claire Barclay is heading to The Old Operating Theatre – a London museum lauding gristly bygone surgical techniques which can always be relied upon for a singular night out.

The Victoria Gallery & Museum in Liverpool will find out why Damien Hirst called taxidermist Polly Morgan “Britain’s hottest bird-stuffer”, and another of our most acclaimed young talents, writer Jon McGregor, is bound for Discovery Point, a maritime marvel in Dundee.

Terry O'Neill is off to the atmospheric Ragged School Museum in London, and Ryan Gander's presentation at poll winners the Oliver Holt Gallery and Sherborne Museum, in Dorset, is sure to be a highlight of this year’s festival.

“The Connect10 competition has been amazingly popular with venues and audiences,” reflected Nick Stockman, of Museums at Night.

“I'm delighted that so many people took the opportunity to vote and I'm really looking forward to seeing how these unique collaborations between artists and venues work out in May.”

All ten winners will receive £500 to help lay on their night with a star. Eighteen runners-up across the length of the country will also be giving visitors an evening to remember, receiving £100 to plan a new event.

The Connect10 results in full:

Towner, Eastbourne - Bob and Roberta Smith

Bob and Roberta Smith will be working with members of the public to fill the gallery with art and signs for Make Art Not War. At night, Towner will become the first ever Museums at Nightclub with interactive art and music coming together on the dance floor.

SS Great Britain, Bristol - Bompas and Parr

Bompas and Parr will be flooding the glass plate around the ship's hull with highly diluted jelly, upon which they will float luminous jelly models of Brunel's illustrious ship.

Old Operating Theatre, London - Claire Barclay

The work of Scottish sculptural installation artist Claire Barclay illustrates her fascination with the body and architecture and her interest in historical and anthropological artefacts, making her the perfect match for the Old Operating Theatre. The museum of surgical history is one of the oldest surviving operating theatres in the world and will provide scientific inspiration for a special artist evening talk launching the museum's 50th anniversary celebrations.

Discovery Point, Dundee  - Jon McGregor

With his Antarctic connections, author Jon McGregor is a perfect match for Discovery Point, home of Captain Scott's famous Dundee-built research ship - the RRS Discovery, which took him to the Antarctic on his first expedition in 1901.

Wedgewood Museum, Stoke-on-Trent - Martin Parr

The history and development of photography in Britain starts with Tom Wedgwood, the third son of Josiah Wedgwood - founder of the famous ceramic manufactory. World-renowned photographer Martin Parr will be talking about his take on the documentray photography tradition in an engaging lecture.

Victoria Gallery and Museum, Liverpool - Polly Morgan

Polly Morgan's live taxidermy demonstration will be surrounded by Victorian bottled creatures, taxidermy and 19th century ornithological paintings by John Audubon of the Victoria - a true cabinet of curiosities!

Oliver Holt Gallery with Sherborne Museum - Ryan Gander

Loose Associations X: Provocative installation artist Ryan Gander works with associations and codes that build routes through imaginative spaces. The Sherborne Museum will act as the central point for the talk which will be supported by a series of short tours (including a blindfolded route) acting as a passage from the real world to the world of the imagination.

Working Class Movement Library, Salford - Simon Roberts

From strikes and protests to tailors and the Spanish Civil War, the Working Class Movement Library tells the story of 200 years of campaigning. Photographer Simon Roberts will help the library celebrate the image, drawing inspiration from the stories of past campaigns archived in the library. These, and the public's photographic responses, will be used by the library to debate the power of pictures and writing to move and to persuade.  

Wolverhampton Art Gallery - Susan Stockwell

A talk and demonstration from installation artist Susan Stockwell where the public can get creative making small sculptures from maps, paper and recycled materials.

Ragged School Museum, London - Terry O'Neill

East London born photographer Terry O'Neill is legendary for documenting 1960s fashion and rock icons. He will be talking about his life and his work at an evening event at the atmospheric museum in Tower Hamlets that was once home to Dr Barnardo's famed Victorian' ragged school'.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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