The MEME is the message

Every year, the Circuit team gets together during a 2 day residential sharing session. This year’s focus was on Creative Evaluation and Reflective Practice.

sharing session 1

With a series of presentations about creative evaluation techniques, including performance, collage, slow mail and Jenga, Circulate – our National group of young evaluators took the lead on our first day. The second day saw highlights from each gallery, provocations from Circuit National Manager Marina Castledine and artist Jess White, and thoughts on evaluation by Young Arnolfini.

sharing session 2Illustrations from the event pack by Wai Wai


Whilst the Circuit team had the option for 1:1s with our National Evaluation Team, I ran a creative workshop alongside. As well as an informal space to catch up over coffee, the session was an opportunity to share tools for digital creativity. I describe them below in the hope these ideas can be useful for others who are looking to engage young people with a fun entry point to digital.

The MEME is the message

Pulling images from the Circuit website of activity from the programme, as well as photos of presentations during the sharing session, participants were invited to add their own commentary. The format of the meme is playful, bold, brief and humorous, and the challenge lies in re-appropriating an image into a new context and condensing a point into two lines of text.

IMG_1402 IMG_1403

As evaluation is key to the Circuit programme, it’s no surprise young people involved chose to make memes which share their knowledge of reflective practice.

sufea meme char


Glitch yo Gallery 

The sharing session is one of the few points during the year when staff and young people from each of the Circuit partner galleries get together. This game investigated glitch art – a way of degrading a file so as to produce a distorted effect. Armed with an image of the gallery they were representing, participants learning about different data-bending processes using simple online tools. Engaging with the architecture of the gallery, each of the images made was capable of conveying a feeling about their space – in the example below, the angular Firstsite gallery has been turned into a rocket in the final image.


Team Digital, Circuit‘s group of young digital producers, have created a guide to glitch art here:

Rapid descent…


Little did I know, whilst I was explaining subsequent activities, I was becoming the subject of glitches and memes myself…

And thus began ‘meme wars’.








Including a creative space for ad-hoc silliness and social games was an important thread within the sharing session. When bringing together young people and gallery staff for purposes of exchange, accommodating common needs is essential – and coffee, inspiration and play are definitely some of mine.