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Museum of Boundless Creativity nominations

boundless creativity and ahrc logos

We asked people that are passionate about the cultural and creative industries to make some suggestions for what they’d like to see in the first collection of the Museum of Boundless Creativity. You can read their nominations below and then make your own suggestions and then share them on twitter using the hashtag #BoundlessCreativity.


Science Museum

The Science Museum, London
(Credit: Tom Brook on Flickr)

“As Secretary of State, I had long felt that the great national museums and their collections were the storehouses of our art and culture and science and history and the things of beauty that we had cherished through the centuries. They were how we reached out to explore our sense of identity as a community and as a nation. And there should be no barrier of income or affordability to prevent anyone from visiting and having that experience. So I was immensely proud to bring in free admission. The Science Museum invited me to cut a ribbon and throw open the doors on the morning they went free. And half an hour later I was wandering through the foyer of the museum, and a young man carrying his little daughter on his shoulders made a bee-line towards me, and as he approached, he turned to his daughter and said “I want you to say thank you to this man; it’s because of him we’re able to be here today”. That I think was the moment when I realised that a career in public life had been worth it after all.” Nomination by Lord Chris Smith, Former Culture Secretary.

“I nominate 14-18 Now for completely reinventing an anniversary commemoration. With enormous creativity, and over four years, the organisers recruited some of our best artists to captivate the whole country. I want particularly to celebrate two brilliant elements. The first is Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, the placing of around 900,000 ceramic poppies at the Tower of London in 2014. This was the most memorable, moving and accessible art installation of my lifetime. It was conceived and executed by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper. The second is We’re Here Because We’re Here, an event conceived by Jeremy Deller and performed on the hundredth anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. 1600 volunteers were rehearsed by the National Theatre and the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. They marched into stations and squares, all dressed as Tommies from the First World War. When asked what they were doing they simple handed a card to members of the public with the name of a soldier who died that day. Many wept when they read the cards.” Nomination by Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chairman of ITV.

“I’d like to nominate ‘A history of the world in 100 objects’, a BBC Radio 4 series launched in 2010 by Dr Neil MacGregor, then Director of the British Museum. It spawned a book and a million imitations of its highly original premise. One hundred museum objects, from the earliest surviving human artefact to the 21st Century were used as prisms to view the past. Neil MacGregor showed the significance of each object – for instance how Spanish ‘pieces of eight’ could tell us about the emergence of global currency, immersing listener or reader in a past world. It also showed how the past could resonate with the present through an object. It made for compelling radio but also showed the relevance and importance of collections.” Nomination by Vivienne Parry OBE, Writer and broadcaster.

Swavesey Primary School Space Frog

“To the Museum of Boundless Creativity, I submit this video which shows the children of Swavesey Primary School in Cambridgeshire launching their frog mascot to the edge of space with a helium-filled weather balloon! To me this reflects our theme of boundless creativity on multiple levels: the way in which Raspberry Pi computers have unleashed the creative potential of millions; the unfettered creativity of primary school children; the liminal space between our planet and the universe and, of course, the wonderful and enduring images captured. That these images are available to anyone with an internet connection demonstrates the potential for creativity in one corner of the world to spread freely, digitally and rapidly to others: a very twenty-first century representation of the importance of creativity to our lives, communities and – I hope – our digital heritage.” Nomination by Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive, UK Research and Innovation.

“I would like to nominate the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and specifically how they have been promoted through crisp and clear creative design. This is a wonderful example of the power of design to capture the essence of an idea and communicate to nations around the world. The 17 coloured boxes, each with their own image, but presented together, emphasises the fact they are global goals. Goals that affect all aspects of society, the economy and the environment. Goals that are highly interdependent. But goals that together have the power to create a better world by 2030. The SDGs are the most far reaching and fundamental attempt to rethink how to lift people out of extreme poverty and acute hunger since decolonisation and the idea of a new international economic order: they are radically relevant to the problems of the early twenty first century. They draw our attention to the growing inequalities that are responsible for much of the unfairness, unrest and unhappiness in the world; inequalities — whether by generation, gender or race — which COVID-19 is set to make much worse.” Nomination by Professor Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

“I nominate Blakean Abstract, a 2014 collaboration between Professor Kostya Novoselov (the Nobel Prize winning scientist who discovered graphene) and the artist Cornelia Parker. This work was the first cultural use of graphene and was commissioned to mark the reopening of the Whitworth gallery in February 2015. The Whitworth is part of the University of Manchester and this collaboration provided a unique opportunity to bring the scientific research capacity of a university together with the creative mind of an artist.


The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester
(Credit: Steve Parkinson on Flickr)

Working closely with Cornelia, Kostya created a graphene sensor by extracting tiny flakes of graphite from some of the Whitworth’s finest drawings; including those by William Blake, Turner, Constable and Picasso.

On the opening night, the sensor was activated by Kostya breathing onto it which triggered a display of fireworks laced with meteorite (sourced from Manchester Museum) to rain down over Whitworth Park. The display was conceived and choreographed by Cornelia to paint the sky the colour of William Blake’s famous drawing The Ancient of Days, held in the Whitworth’s collection. As Kostya observed, this was artist and scientist working ‘at the cutting edge of creativity’.” Nominated by Dr Maria Balshaw, Director of the Tate Art Museums and Galleries.

“Free Access to our National Museums: Free entry to the permanent galleries at all DCMS-sponsored national museums began on 1 December 2001. The policy has been a tremendous success: visitor numbers to national museums have more than doubled since 2001 and four of our national museums are in the top ten most visited in the world. Our free museums and galleries drive tourism and great economic benefits, but this is only half of the story. The objects in their collections allow us to better know ourselves: they tell stories about people, communities, our collective memories and the world around us. For many, they are their first memories of art and cultural experience and subsequently they provide a bedrock for generations of creative practices and innovation. In 1857, the then director of the Victoria and Albert Museum Sir Henry Cole said “This museum will be like a book that is open and not shut.” Today, through free access to museums and galleries, we are able to keep this ambition alive and we are all made the better for it.” Nomination by Neil Mendoza who is Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal and Provost of Oriel College, Oxford University.

Amanda Solloway MP, Minister for Science, Research and
Innovation, shares her nomination for AHRC’s Museum of
Boundless Creativity

“The boom in Birmingham's art has not been void of the city's distinctive character. Today, Brum boasts its own Banksy. Mohammed Ali Aerosol is becoming an international player whose unique street art, merging Western graffiti with touches from his own faith and culture, can be seen in California, Casablanca, and Melbourne. But his enthusiasm lies in colouring the streets of his own urban hometown to the extent that it's hard to imagine Birmingham without his murals and stencils. Ranging from the overtly political to the more abstract, his works provide a sophisticated and fascinating provocation on the relations between culture and art on one hand, and our identities and lives on another. 'Green Eyed', his artistic response to Shakespeare's Othello, is an example of linking past with present. Ali has recently opened his studio to schoolchildren and is working collaboratively with a number of cultural projects and institutions.” Nomination by Dr Islam Issa, AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinker and Lecturer in the School of English at Birmingham City University.

“In terms of my nomination I’d go for the ipod which was really the precursor to Apple Music and Spotify – the ability to download music straight on to a device was a revelation and my ancient CD collection is languishing in a drawer now never to be looked at again!” Nomination by former Culture Secretary, The Rt Hon the Baroness Morgan of Cotes.

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