All Aboard for Family Learning

4 December 2017

Programmed as part of the Arts Council Collection National Partners Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s (YSP) All Aboard programme introduces local families to works from the Collection, through supported visits and a range of family-friendly activities.

In our latest blog post, we hear from Becky Harlow, Exhibitions Engagement Coordinator at YSP on how All Aboard gives families from local schools the opportunity to visit YSP for the first time.

The trips are developed in partnership with teaching and support staff, to identify families who would benefit the most from a weekend visit to YSP. As Becky explains, "Myself and Artist Educator, Jo Blaker, have been visiting schools in West Yorkshire to get to know some of the families before their visit, to let them know exactly what is needed when visiting the park– and prepare them to face all types of weather!"

"On the day of the trip, to help with any nerves, Jo travels to meet the families at school before boarding the minibus to YSP. This helps so that they have a familiar face, and someone who can answer any questions."

"Each of the families are given a backpack with a sketchbook and quality colouring pencils which they can use throughout the day, and take home to continue their sketching."




"All Aboard families are given an introduction not only to YSP but also to the Arts Council Collection. Each family is given time and tools to explore the work of Roger Hiorns that is on long term loan to the park for 10 years. The families use colourful transparent paddles and torches to examine the crystals as well as change the colour, and play drawing games related to the artwork. This is a fascinating work for all ages and is the biggest science experiment the families had ever seen – it wows all who see it."

"Roger’s work is called Seizure and was originally made in London in 2008 by pouring copper sulphate into an abandoned bedsit in Elephant and Castle. The bedsit was sealed up for a month in order for the solution to start its chemical transformation. Once the seal was broken and the space drained the art/science experiment was revealed; a series of rooms thick with vibrant blue crystal formations. Arts Council Collection acquired the work in 2011 and had it transported to YSP as a temporary home."

The Arts Council Collection : All Aboard for Family Learning

The Collection at YSP

The Arts Council Collection : All Aboard for Family Learning


"As well as a visit to Seizure, families are invited to explore Arts Council Collection exhibitions at YSP and to take part in public family workshops. This ensures that families know that there are always new and engaging activities to get involved with at YSP if they come back for a visit on their own. Families are also gifted with a voucher in order to select a postcard of their choice, to help remember their day at YSP together."

"One parent shared the value of the visit: ‘(I) Got to spend one on one time with my daughter. Met other families. Learn about art. See art as something different, not just painting and pictures. Nice to hear other people’s perspectives of how they see things."


‘Today allowed me to have quality time with my daughter. It has shown me a new side to art. I will look at art with more open eyes. I think I will appreciate it more.‘ (Parent participant.)


"All Aboard is a programme that allows a parent and child a special trip together, to a place they may have not heard of before, or planned to visit. It takes the worry out of getting somewhere new and enables the family to focus on having fun together, learn together and be creative. The emphasis is on family learning styles so that children can take the lead at times and teach the parents a thing or two, as well as encouraging parents to try something new with their child."

All Aboard is part of Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s outreach programme, working with schools in the local area. Find out more from participating local school Field Lane Junior, Infant & Nursery School, Kirklees, on their blog page.

The Arts Council Collection : All Aboard for Family Learning

The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.