The Arts Council (England) funded research project ‘Thinking in Three Dimensions’ completed in July 2008, investigated the way in which children experience contemporary, three-dimensional art through participation in sculpture trails. As a background to an observational study of trails in action, the research team carried out a mapping exercise to chart the growth and distribution of publicly-accessible sculpture collections in England. The directory is based on that work and is intended primarily for teachers who wish to give their pupils first-hand experience of three-dimensional art to complement school-based studies.
Not all of the venues are strictly-speaking ‘trails’ and not all are funded to provide formal educational facilities or study programmes. They nevertheless offer teachers a valuable resource to augment the art and design curriculum; in many cases they can provide stimulating activities relating to other aspects of the curriculum such as local history, ecology, environmental studies and industrial and architectural heritage.
The collections of sculpture are varied in terms of size, content and remit; to help users of the directory, each has been designated to one of the following five categories to give an indication of its general nature:
1. Permanent Collections
2. Commercial Open-Air Galleries
3. Recurrent Exhibitions
4. Site-Responsive Collections
5. Heritage and Tourism provision
These labels are merely for guidance; some trails fulfil criteria for more than one category but have been distributed according to what are judged to be the dominant characteristics.
The directory lists the trails alphabetically and gives a brief outline of the collection, the address, contact details, availability of educational facilities, information leaflets, etc. Also, to help identify the most conveniently located venues, there is a separate index showing the geographical distribution of the trails.
Enquiries need to be made at individual venues to ascertain whether admission charges are made or to confirm current charges, including special rates for educational groups.
(Each trail was sent a draft of the information printed and any amendments notified have been incorporated. We would welcome notice of inaccuracies or of any trails which might be added to the directory.) ( E.A.Dooley@warwick.ac.uk Tel: 024 7652 4731)