About Creating My Cambridge
Historyworks has devised a public art project for Schools and Museums in Cambridge that is based on historical objects and places, to provide online resources showing a variety of ways for Schools to use drama & poetry, history & music for creative work with primary children to increase the awareness & accessibility of the cultural assets that Cambridge has to offer, especially to give the teachers and children a guide to historical people & places as a focus to inspire creative writing and art work, and at the same time offer deeper sense of connectivity to their area.
This is very timely as local history becomes part of the National Curriculum for History from September 2015, and schools will be looking for resources to use. Although the ethos of the Historyworks project will be very different because the school participants will engage with the past in a more participatory way, we too aim to provide resources for teachers, and we've found a good example of best practice at the British Museum using objects for a new resource for teachers, see Teaching History Through 100 Objects
However, the feedback from Cambridge primary school teachers is that they will find it super useful if Historyworks devises materials that can be used not only in History but useful for teaching other subjects, cross-curricula, and because the project is about place-making it involves not only History and Geography, and because we are asking children to use their voices, to extend their repertoire of creative writing with songs and poems and journalism and words-play, the CreatingMyCambridge project is very suitable therefore for English, Geography, Music, and we've started to develop STEAM resources for going into IT if the children are interested in model-making, engineering challenges, or making animations/their own films.
Historyworks has won funding for 'Creating My Cambridge' in 2015 and 2016 to allow for the development of a range of public history and place-making projects through public art and music funding, which includes Arts Council England, S106 funding managed by Cambridge City Council, building on the previous music awards from John Lewis community fund, and CaMEO at the Education and Outreach funding at the University's Music Department.
The learning in 2014 from Cycle of Songs was that the teachers and the children really liked the Hobson Songs, and enjoyed learning Tudor and Local History via a musical and creative activity because they used Historyworks’ online resources in Drama to act out the story and wrote their own stories in English based on the resources using the songs as an inspirational and fun starting point. Therefore it is suggested that Hobson is one of the first subjects that the team at Historyworks tackles to make into lesson plans with films starring the children singing the Hobsons songs and making dramas and animations and funny stories based on the original sources and artefacts relating to Hobson & the Conduit. Helen Weinstein has suggested bringing several of the team from Horrible Histories who are experts on song writing and how to write jokes into stories, poems and dramas – and this has been warmly endorsed by teachers & children.
The feedback from children involved in our recent projects called "Clicking to Connectivity" is that they really enjoyed learning about the past of their city in a creative context. Also they highly rated singing with others, and peer to peer learning was a memorable activity. We have therefore offered several co-creation art projects whereby children star in videos, performing their poems and songs for others to enjoy or learn. The initiative at Cambridge called "My Cambridge" has an Advisory Board who offered collaboration, and suggested that the pilot at Historyworks could be a project that then could go viral across schools next year which they could support and facilitate our Historyworks “Creating My Cambridge” products being added to the curriculum pages for Cambridge.
The schools have warmly supported Historyworks’ activities, where we've focused thus far on Years 4 to 6 in primary, but would be open to working with older children and young adults; and we've used our funding on each occasion we've run a workshop on new activity, to include these in our ‘Creating My Cambridge” resources so that we are freely sharing what we've produced beyond the partnering schools.
Finally, a very important value of the project is for the children's creative writing and co-created productions should be showcased in their classrooms and school assemblies, and projected and performed at community events and heritage attractions, so we've been adding texts and photos and films of children performing songs, raps, poetry, film making. All those published have consent from their parents/carers and have been a terrific way to share and celebrate all the fantastic work the children have produced in our workshops alongside the poet, Michael Rosen, the historian, Helen Weinstein; the rapper, Inja; the music leaders Tizzy Faller and Mario Satchwell; the CBBC's Horrible Histories songwriters and jokewriters, Dave Cohen and Henri Ward.
Do please browse the resources sections and multi-media sections of this website, and enjoy!