Funded by Royal Academy and Artist Rooms

In 2018 the Royal Academy of Arts turned 250 years old. To coincide with this momentous occasion museums and galleries around the country have been exploring the RA through their own collections. For us at Derby Museums this means looking at our very own Joseph Wright of Derby, whose relationship with the academy was turbulent to say the least!

This project is a continuation of a pilot funded by Artist Rooms to work with young people aged 15-25, known as the Young Co-Producers Network (YCPN). As a group we have been thinking about how the existing Joseph Wright gallery might be reinterpreted to appeal to a wider and younger audience. With guidance from the museum’s art curator and various other members of staff, we have spent the past 5 weeks exploring the space, learning about Joseph Wright himself, and thinking about what we could do to encourage people to engage with Joseph Wright’s paintings, and his story.

We had to decide what we wanted, but more importantly, what we needed from the gallery space. Each session started out as an exploration and ended with the formulation of an idea or a lesson learned. So far there has been a lot of playing, shouting and moving around, playing with light and dark, and even a pilgrimage to London to see how some of the other galleries interpret their displays.

As it stands we are only halfway through the project, and we are having a lot of fun deciding what we want to achieve and how. There are many possibilities at this stage so who knows what the second half of this journey will bring!

For more information on the RA250 visit: