Community Platforms

Our Community Platforms are exciting displays curated by community groups in Reading. Groups create exhibitions inspired by our collections, working with members of staff to showcase their own artistic and dynamic responses.



The Sew Engaging project was funded by the Ashley Family Foundation and was inspired by our Festival of Britain wall hangings, one of which is now on display in a new, purpose-built gallery. We asked community groups and individuals to stitch their contribution based on what they like and dislike about the countryside. A group of volunteers led by Jan Butler sewed all the contributions together into a beautiful wall hanging.

The ‘Move up Group’ at the Rising Sun Arts Centre created an entire wall hanging themselves, spending a number of weeks thinking about what the countryside means to them and then creating a vibrant and very personal piece.

The Sew Engaging exhibition featured in the Community Exhibition Case in The Nook, a new social learning space created as part of the Our Country Lives project.


This display showcased the artistic work of a group of women from the Elizabeth Fry House charity in Reading, with whom we have been working since 2015. The charity provides accommodation and support to women, mostly on licence from prison.

A group from Elizabeth Fry House visited the Museum to view the University’s Art Collections. The project used individual artworks to introduce and discuss the themes of journeys, stories and identities. Favourite artworks were selected in terms of subject matter and medium. Some women chose to recreate original work. Taking inspiration from the collection, personal stories were explored and identity thought about. Participants created artwork using a variety of media including pottery, drawing, painting and collage. The women also documented their interests using photography.

This exhibition builds on the Arts Council England (ACE) funded project, Journeys and Stories, which was a collaboration between Reading Museum, Thames Valley Partnership, The MERL and the Elizabeth Fry Charity, which culminated in an exhibition at Reading Museum in 2016. That project saw artists Christine Wilkinson and Carla Conte work with residents to create artworks inspired by their own life journeys and museum visits.


If you are part of a community organisation in Reading and are interested in creating your own exhibition in relation to the themes of the museum, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Phillippa Heath, our Audience Development Project Manager, at