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By Inara Tsenina on

Community consultation: A sneak peek of Sound and Vision designs

At the end of February we hosted our third round of community consultations, discussing some of the visual aspects of the new galleries.

This session was the last time our consultations took place inside the museum, as we prepare to temporarily close in June.

Our community consultations have been helping us shape the Sound and Vision project since last year. Their purpose is to provide local communities of Bradford an opportunity to contribute to decision-making around the new galleries. Find out more in our short video:

From steering our focus towards the themes of Representation, Accessibility, and Interactivity to providing new perspectives on gallery designs in conversations with the architects behind them, the invaluable insight from our community representatives has been directly influencing plans and discussions with the project team.

Three people sit at a table looking at different designs on paper

In this recent in-person consultation, we brought together participants from a variety of sectors and services—including educational, cultural, and creative—and invited them to share their ideas on the visual aspects of the new galleries. We were able to present them with some exciting materials provided by the interpretation team, such as the first designs of the text panels and object labels that visitors might see in the gallery. We created mock-up displays by placing them next to objects from our handling collections—like a camera very similar to the ‘Cameo’ camera used to take photos of the Cottingley Fairies, a famous local Bradford story that will be part of Sound and Vision.

After interacting with these prototypes, our community representatives shared their thoughts on the look, feel and accessibility of the graphics, raising some excellent points. For instance, they mentioned that while the colour combination draws attention, the brightness puts a strain on your eyes.

Another item for discussion was the name for the new galleries, part of the market research conducted by our communications team. The participants discussed the pros and cons of four different titles – including Sound and Vision — and shared their first impressions and their take on the accessibility of each name. They considered whether the name sparked their interest, whether or not it reflected what they would find in the galleries and whether it presented any barriers, particularly for priority audiences with access needs. These initial reactions are vital in informing our communications strategy, as we develop the launch plan for the new galleries.

A group of people look at designs for museum displays, with some making notes or taking photos

The session ended with an opportunity for the participants to take the floor and share some information about their organisation, the work they do and how the museum can support them in return. During this consultation, we were pleased to be joined by the African Caribbean Achievement Project (ACAP), the Rachna Hub and Bradford Museums and Galleries, to name a few. It is our ambition to make this project into a mutually beneficial partnership, and we are working to develop an offer for everyone who has shared this journey with us, to show our sincere appreciation for all the contributions from staff and volunteers across Bradford.

This was the last community consultation to take place at the museum. Our next round of consultations will be at the end of June hosted by a partner venue, as the museum will be temporarily closing after Bradford Science Festival to undergo major refurbishment.

If you have attended a consultation session with us in the last 12 months and have some ideas on how we can support you and other participants, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the team:

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