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Runner up in VC’s Awards for Research Impact and Engagement 2020

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Tuesday 06th October 2020

Baroque feasting table by Ivan Day
Baroque feasting table by Ivan Day

We are pleased to announce that the Feast and Fast exhibition, co-curated by historians Dr Melissa Calaresu and Dr Vicky Avery, were runners up in the collaboration category for the Vice Chancellor's Awards for Research Impact and Engagement 2020.

The collaboration award category aims to celebrate the often collaborative effort in impact and engagement activities. The winners of the category were Dr Michael Weekes from Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, and Dr Steven Baker from Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease. We also congratulate Dr Rosalyn Wade from the Museum of Zoology on winning the professional services award.

The judges had this to say about Feast and Fast:

This is a wonderful project with a lot of thought, consideration, and attentiveness to the needs of all the participants. Really welcome to see the involvement of the different communities and that learning about how to meaningfully involve everyone was evident.

The Feast & Fast exhibiton originally opened 26 November 2019 and finished on 26 April 2020. However, with the emergence of COVID-19 and the ushering in of Lockdown, our Curators and Exhibitions team had to rethink our exhibitions schedule. This included planning the re-opening of Feast & Fast.

David Evans, Exhibitions Manager, said:

We were very happy to re-open Feast & Fast to complete its run during our first month of re-opening after lockdown. The exhibition's re-opening ran from 4 August to 31 August. During that time, we had 695 visitors to the exhibition despite carefully restricted numbers and the implementation of a new ticketing system.

Although there were many lenders who had to be contacted for permission to extend loans, and a great deal of cleaning and re-display, it was incredibly gratifying to see an audience enjoying the final month of the exhibition. The context and wider world had changed profoundly but the relevance and impact of the exhibition had grown and deepened. The timelessness and the opportunity to consider, which only a museum can offer, had more meaning and value than ever. Exhibitions are interactive spaces and it was very important to open up the exhibition galleries as places to safely interact and consider. As no-touch zones, the galleries were safe, and offered a rich, colourful re-entry into the shared space of culture.

Dr Melissa Calaresu, Exhibition Curator said:

I am thrilled that the ongoing and fruitful collaboration between the Faculty of History and the Fitzwilliam Museum has been recognised - this collaboration draws together the curatorial and public engagement expertise of the Museum with the Faculty's research and allows us to engage with more diverse and broader audiences.

Dr Vicky Avery, Exhibition Curator, said:

I am so thrilled that Feast & Fast was the runner up in the Collaboration Category in this year’s Vice-Chancellor's Research Impact and Engagement Awards! It is wonderful high profile recognition from the University for the enormous contribution of colleagues across the museum from curators, conservators and technicians, to registry and exhibitions, Visitor Services for their tours, Comms / Engagement for the public programme. It also recognises the meaningful collaboration we had with the Faculty of History and how we were able to bring cutting-edge research to life for the broadest possible public, making it engaging, relevant and transformative.

Congratulations team! To stay updated on our upcoming exhibitions, sign up to our What's On e-newsletter.

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