Project Lab: Embracing Faces

Noel Denholm Davis, (1876-1950) The Casket, 1924 Oil on canvas NCM 1924-137

Project Lab

The Project Lab is an experimental space where you are invited to try out different activities inspired by the museum’s art collections. In the next few years, and with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Nottingham Castle will be refurbished and transformed. Temporary exhibitions will move to the ground floor and highlights from the Castle’s world-class collections of art, craft and textiles will be reimagined in a series of new displays throughout the first floor: The Power of Art and Making.

The new display planned for the Long Gallery will be a mix of painting, sculpture, drawings, prints, photographs, ceramics, textiles, and jewellery, arranged in six broad themes, one of which will be ‘Faces’. The Castle’s collection was begun in the 1870s to inspire designers in Nottingham’s lace industry by giving them the opportunity to see some of the best art and craft of their times. We want to continue this tradition and inspire our visitors today, encouraging people to tap in to their own creativity.

Embracing Faces
15 May 2017 – January 2018

Embracing Faces is collaboration with a group of Undergraduate Graphic Design and Art History students from New College Nottingham. The group participated in a series of workshops led by industry professionals, including Curators from Nottingham City Museums and Galleries and renowned exhibition designers Casson Mann, to create and develop interactive activities for this Project Lab. The students also spent time viewing and researching portraits from the City’s collections.

The students were briefed to devise new ways to engage families with the ‘Faces’ theme and the artworks that will be displayed in the Long Gallery following the Castle’s redevelopment. Embracing Faces coincides with and is informed by Reportrait, our current exhibition, which can be seen on the first floor. Reportrait features work by 12 artists making contemporary explorations into portraiture through painting, sculpture, video, embroidery, photography and installation.
Following the completion of the workshop programme, students were divided into three groups and presented ideas how to enhance the visitor experience through graphics, design and imaginative interactive displays. Staff from Nottingham City Museums and Galleries selected the most considered, exciting and engaging ideas from each group, pulling them together to form this Embracing Faces Project Lab.

Embracing Faces has been designed by Victoria Ashton, Imaani Bailey, Taylor Byrne, Melisa Cerriku, Marcus Gilmore, Chris Lucas, Scott Meir, Favour Odiogor-odoh, Ashleigh Perkins, Kirsten Seerey, Romanie-Jade Tulloch and Exza Whyman.


Muriel Smith (1903-1993), The Paisley Shawl, 1928, Watercolour painting, NCM 1929-24