Megan Dowsett is a freelance creative consultant working with museums and galleries.

Through the name Norris and the Flamingo, she shares the sense of adventure that runs through all of life, wherever we are on our journey. A sense of imagination, of possibility and discovery, for children and adults alike.

Her core values come down to two simple things:

People: At the heart of everything she does, people are there – be it audiences of any age or background, volunteers, staff or freelancers and apprentices. She believes that the best projects take everybody with them on a learning journey.

Creativity: In every role she’s taken, creativity has played a key priority. Working in Museums and Galleries, creativity brings a valuable opportunity to think about the same things in a different way.

Museums and galleries are the perfect place to bring the joy of discovery and magic of adventure to everyone who passes through the doors - and to invite those who haven't yet braved these sometimes intimidating buildings, to do so in a dynamic and inviting way.

Over twelve years working in these exciting settings, Megan has developed extensive experience in both managing and delivering creative projects that engage with a wide variety of audiences.

18 October 2017

Homes from Sticks

20170831_110233 Utterly inspired by two days at a Forest School this summer, Feets begged for more.  So when we went camping in Dorset, I took a headful of ideas that would keep up the Forest School vibe.  We spent a glorious morning collecting sticks before seeing what kinds of houses we could make for our sylvanian families.  Feets was most determined to use thread, which kept her very busy, while I carefully stacked sticks up the side.  We were both very content!
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11 October 2017

Checking out the Postal Museum

Postage Stamp Thanks to the Early Years Network, I was able to explore the all shiny-new Postal Museum.  Actually, it's pretty exciting turning up, just seeing teams of postal vans at platforms at the depot across the way - it sets my geeky cogs going ... how does it really all work?  How on earth does my letter, posted in a panic one evening, so often land on the doorstep the next morning?  Especially since these days, I've noticed, so much London delivery is done on foot.

From a learning perspective, the new galleries are, of course, a dream.  They feel similar in aesthetic and layout to the new design gallery at London Transport Museum (LTM)- is this reflective of an evolving style in gallery design?  Or were the same designers involved?  Either way, they are rich with interactives, costumes to try on, buttons to press, lights to light up and a chance to design your own 'selfie stamp'.
Similarly, the beautiful, spanking new 'Sorted', role-play area for children has probably taken inspiration from All Aboard at LTM.  With a beautiful London backdrop, a mini post office and a mini sorting office complete with slide, there will be some very happy, tiny posties soon enough.

4 October 2017

Volcano of Seeds and Pulses

20170907_214159 20170907_112724 Feets has been asking a lot about volcanoes recently.  So naturally, when she said she'd like to make a seed picture and I asked what our pictures should include, she said volcanoes.

So here they are, hers and mine.

We got quite a long way before starting to mix ...! 20170907_214312

26 September 2017

Museums and Participation

Yesterday afternoon found myself and some fifty other professionals from across the heritage world, discussing loneliness on every level.  It was the first meeting of MAP, a new network with a mission to push the boundaries of community engagement and interrogate the ways in which we work with our community.  For me, it was a new way to engage with my colleagues – to start out on a very broad but specific theme, and to interrogate this theme on all its levels.  The MAP team had put together an incredible range of speakers, and ensured that they each took a different perspective on the same theme.  

So we explored the notions of institutional loneliness – of a museum that is separated from its immediate community, for example – as well as cultural loneliness – looking at the invisible borders and barriers within a community.  We considered the more traditional but equally important ways that engagement teams consider loneliness – thinking of individuals from the community who have become isolated through a broad range of circumstances.  And we were challenged to probe whether what we really do is chase the funding - which audience is 'in fashion' now, and how can we find a way toward lasting engagement?  Finally, we were asked to think about something more personal, let's call it professional loneliness – the feeling of bearing the needs of your participants and the burden of a community project alone.

Breakout groups explored each of these ideas – I found myself discussing personal loneliness, among a group who turned out to be almost entirely freelance.  Space here, I think, for us to develop co-coaching (as someone phrased it) or support groups, as well as exploring team building within the organisations where we work.

It was an inspiring session – enormous thanks to the team of some nine organisers (too many to name, I apologise!).  I’m not a tweeter (yet!) but you can find MAP on twitter, from where I have pinched the photographs, here:  #museumsparticipation

12 September 2017

Round and Round the Garden

Round the Garden Small A slow, year-in-the-making project, I decided to illustrate one of my children's favourite nursery rhymes. With time, I hope more will follow ...

6 September 2017

World Illustration Awards at Somerset House

I made it to the World Illustration Awards exhibition at Somerset House - and I'm so pleased to have done so!  Sometimes I feel I spend too much time inspiring myself with illustration exhibitions when I drown myself in children's books at home every day, but this one - well, this exhibition was great.  Not just final images, but sketches in progress, a range of media, and interviews with artists.
And I was reminded of the wonder of illustration across the genre - that I am inspired by it every day in advertising, theatre, magazines ... Sometimes I feel embarrassed to be taking photos of billboards on tube journeys and collecting flyers simply because they're beautiful - this exhibition reminded me that this is exactly why I do that.  Above illustration, Ten Miles East wine label by Sam Pierpoint.
20170826_172123 It's too tempting to share everything, so here instead are the notes from my sketchbook!