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Melbourne Festival helps members of the public to develop their creative skills at Artist led Workshops.

The aims of Melbourne Festival are to bring the best of the Creative and Performing Arts to Melbourne in South Derbyshire. In addition to the Artists exhibiting each year on the Trail Melbourne Festival has a deep commitment to arranging Creative Workshops for adults, community groups and for children  in local Schools, Guides, Scouts and in Melbourne Library. The workshops are led by professional Artists and the work is exhibited on the Art & Architecture Trail at Melbourne Festival.  

Melbourne Festival Workshops for Adults

Melbourne Festival is committed to persuading artists to share their skills and encourage members of the public to develop their creative skills. For a number of years we have arranged public workshops led by artists who take part in the Festival Art Trail. These are on a “not-for-profit” basis and participants pay a fee to cover the Artists time, room hire, publicity, etc. We are starting 2020 with a series of Saturday workshops so that you can learn new skills at our PopUp Gallery at 2 Market Place in the middle of Melbourne. To reserve a space call 07765 819428 or email


Last Summer passed in a haze of red with Knit & Natter and Sit & Sew sessions to create our 4680 Poppies to commemorate the Grenadier Guards who died in WW1.

Popular workshops have included Great Melbourne Sewing Bee workshops led by Mig Holder. A great chance for anyone who had a sewing machine gathering dust and wanted a bit of help to get started and come along a Mig will help you get update their Summer wardrobe.

“Spring into Colour” Oil Pastel workshop with Laura Donaldson With Spring our artists took inspiration from the bright colours now returning to our landscape and created a vibrant art work with oil pastels in a relaxed and light hearted workshop. Exploring the use of colour and texture to produce layered pieces which are deep rich and vivid.

“Raku Pottery Decorating” Workshop with Andrew Mason was a chance to discover the fascinating art and technique of Raku Pottery Firing in a day workshop with Andy Mason. The workshop brought elements of surprise, light hearted fun and thoughtful artistic expression. Participants created their own unique pottery from the dramatic “live” kiiln firing resulting in sblte tones, vivid colours or metallic surface effects.

Melbourne Festival Children’s Workshops

Each year Melbourne Festival arranges workshops for children in local schools and with local young people funded by Sponsorship from local companies. The Melbourne Festival team feel that if children and young people are encouraged to take part in the arts at a young age they will develop a lifelong love of the Creative and Performing Arts. Each year Melbourne Festival organises workshops for children in local schools and with local young people. We also include performances aimed at children and young people in our performance programme.

Each year the theme of the workshops links to the Festivals theme. Last year our workshops linked into Pop Up Poppies Melbourne – our BIG community project. Children at Melbourne Infant School created full size papier mache ponies and dogs and decorated them with purple poppies to remember the animals killed in WW1. The Melbourne Junior School children made full size silhouettes of Soldiers and poppy field backdrops to commemorate the Soldiers who died in WW1. 

In recent years we have worked on a  Wind in the Willows theme workshops were led by wildlife Sculptor Lynn Hazel Smith who worked with the Children to create woodland creates from clay. The children also created collages inspired by the Wind in the Willows and worked with Peter Woods of Greenwood Days to create a willow rowing boat which was exhibited at Melbourne Festival and is now installed in the Schools’ wildlife garden. Melbourne Junior School – Victoria Brown led a workshop with year 6 to create 6 large canvasses inspired by images from The Wind in the Willows. The canvasses were painted in acrylic and were  exhibited during Melbourne Festival at The Athenaeum. The students also created wood sprites from found materials with Jane Bevan. Melbourne Library – Childrens Wind in the Willows themed Storytelling and Mask-Making workshop to make toad, Badger, Mole and Ratty masks. During the Summer the Festival Team also held workshops with local Rainbows and Brownies to create waterlilies and with Beavers to make toads.

 To celebrate all of the activities for children were based on Alice in Wonderland and we took Melbourne Through the Glass! Watch this space to see what we plan for 2015! Mad Hatters July 2014 – Year Six at Melbourne Junior School and EVERYONE at Melbourne Infant School took part in a Fantasy Landscapes workshop – inspired by C S Lewis’s Alice in Wonderland led by artist Laura Donaldson and a Mad Hatters Workshop with local milliner Joanne Rost. All of the hats were made from recycled materials and the results were AMAZING!  Year 5 at Melbourne Junior School had a VERY MESSY DAY making Mosaics to decorate a wall by the Melbourne Food Forest at Melbourne School’s. Everyone had a great day making a metre pumpkin, huge apples, giant sweetcorn and pea pods with peas the size of cabbages. 

In 2017 Melbourne Festival was undertaking a big project about Melbourne’s Market Gardening Heritage – For the Love of Lettuce. The children st both School grew plants and produce throughout the summer in their gardens and Artists led workshops. Jane Bevan worked with the children to make vegetable sprites and Victoria Brown worked with them to create Vegetable Scrolls. 

As part of our For the Love of Lettuce project artists at The Athenaeum Youth Club created 5 A1 panels illustrating the farming year.  A few years ago ten artistic young people who are members of the Athenaeum took in a series of three workshops with Graffiti Artist Paul Dexter – AKA Caper! The three graffiti panels which were painted are now on permanent display in The Athenaeum.

Another popular project was the Melbourne Sari – created as part of Expanding Horizons, an Arts Council funded collaboration between Melbourne and the Surtal Arts and the South Asian community in Derby. After talking to Gopa Nath about Sari designs the children decided what they felt typified Melbourne – mainly ducks it appears – and worked with artists Jemma Rix to create illustrations and prints to combine into a  design for  a full size sari to tell everyone about Melbourne.