Richmal Mangnall: Q & A is a new display in the Wakefield One upper atrium inspired by the life and work of Richmal Mangnall, a schoolteacher and writer, who became headmistress of Crofton Hall School in 1808. It was co-created by artist Guy Schofield and a group of local young people.
Richmal Mangnall (1769-1820) was originally a pupil at Crofton Hall school and became a teacher there in the 1790s. As well as teaching hundreds of young people, she also wrote the textbook Historical and Miscellaneous Questions for the Use of Young People. At first, the book was intended for use at the school in Crofton but later it became an influential textbook used at schools across the country. By 1857, it had reached 84 editions and ‘Mangnall’s Questions,’ as it became known, was referenced by many influential writers and social commentators, including Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, and James Joyce.
The book was made up of a series of questions and answers in which Mangnall covered geography, science, literature and religion. This might seem strange to us now but in the late 18th Century, learning by rote (memorising facts and figures) was a common way of educating young people.
In this project, a group of young people from Wakefield and surrounding areas worked with artist Guy Schofield to think, talk and make art about Mangnall’s life and ideas. They thought about how the concept of asking and answering precise questions and answers connects with the modern world, especially in fields such as education, coding, and AI. They also discussed how women’s roles have changed in teaching and learning since Mangnall’s time. Over several sessions they made digital artworks using a range of different techniques, some of which feature in the display.
Please note: The Wakefield One building is closed on Sundays. This display is just outside of Wakefield Museum, up the stairs on the first floor of the wider Wakefield One building.
Discover more about the project in an online talk with curator John Whitaker and artist Guy Schofield on Thursday 27 April.
Click here for more information.
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