Michael Rosen Events with Historyworks in Cambridge Spring 2018

'Yours Hopefully' Poetry and Song Concert with Michael Rosen & Resound Acappella Choir - Wednesday 7th March

Date: 7 March 2018 
Doors: 7pm Concert: 7.30pm 
Venue: St Barnabas Church, Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 2BD 
Tickets: £10 
Booking Information: Book via EVENTBRITE
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/193653941386461/

This event will be an uplifting concert of poems and songs about the ‘Power of Words’, including some new poems and vocal arrangements, especially commissioned by Historyworks for marking Holocaust Memorial Day 2018 on themes around kindness, migration, racism, refugees.

The poetry written and performed by Michael Rosen describes gaps in his life, about Jewish members of his family who were missing during the Second World War, and how it was for Michael to find out decades later what had happened to them and to recall them through words means that their memory has not been erased from history.  His poems also challenge racism and prejudice against migrants and refugees today.

ReSound Acappella Choir will share their favourite songs of hope, solidarity, celebration and connection, drawn from different cultural traditions, all sung in glorious resonant harmony led by Rowena Whitehead. 

For more information visit: https://resoundcambridge.wordpress.com/

This event will be a fundraiser in aid of CamCRAG (Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group), a registered charity that sends regular convoys of volunteers with donations of clothing and other items to help refugees in Northern France and elsewhere. CamCRAG will have an information stall. 

Hot Snacks and Drinks from 7pm including traditional Andean savoury empanadas (both veggie and meat) from the Vargas Brothers, and an Interval ‘Bring & Share’ cookies and cake table - chocolate cakes welcome! There will also be a fundraiser book stall for those purchasing books for Michael Rosen to sign. https://camcrag.org.uk/

"We are a group of volunteers who live in and around Cambridge who work to help the refugees in Northern France and elsewhere in Europe. As well as sending regular convoys of aid and volunteers to the warehouse in Calais run by Help Refugees, we also organise donation collections, fundraising events and seek to raise awareness of the refugee crisis.

All the money we raise goes towards providing aid or supporting our convoys: We have no employees, and are entirely run by volunteers.

Which means we always welcome some help, whether it’s joining us on a convoy to Calais, donating money, or giving your time in Cambridge."

If you cannot attend the event and would still like to make a donation to this great cause please do so at https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/camcrag

To find out more about the projects run by Historyworks in collaboration with Michael Rosen please find more information on our website about Creating My Cambridge: http://www.creatingmycambridge.com/events

'Please use our flyers to circulate on social media, and please invite friends and colleagues directly to these events using our poster which you can download below'

Michael Rosen's Workshop for Teaching Professionals - Wednesday 7th March

Date: 7 March 2018

Time: 4pm Chocolate Cake social followed by 4.30pm/6pm Workshop with Michael Rosen and Helen Weinstein, supported by Historyworks.

Venue: Trumpington Community College, Lime Avenue (off Long Road), Cambridge CB2 9FD (6mins walk from Cambridge Guided busway Route A from central Cambridge Railway Station) FREE PARKING AVAILABLE

Tickets: £10  Teaching & Education Professionals. Fee covers refreshments plus two books: “What Is Poetry?” and “Poetry and Stories for Primary and Lower Secondary Schools” or £1 (ADMISSION ONLY)

Booking Information:  https://michaelrosencambs.eventbrite.co.uk

In this CPD workshop, author Michael Rosen & public historian Helen Weinstein, will introduce teachers to ways of supporting students to improve their reading and writing of both poetry and prose. Historyworks has made a huge number of free resources with Michael Rosen for Cambridgeshire schools, which we will showcase at the event.  All participants will receive two signed books from Michael Rosen, the latter recently published, aimed at primary and early secondary school teachers.  Teachers will be taken through Michael’s guidance about how students can be encouraged to embrace reading and also improve the content of their writing by evaluating their narrative ingredients using his top tips.  Helen Weinstein will showcase a variety of resources including history stories, walking trails, poetry and songs which have been devised by Michael Rosen and Historyworks, for teachers to use both inside and outside the classroom, to enhance learning across the curriculum. The main aim at the end of a long school day will be to inspire teachers, share practical tips and free resources, have fun with words in poetry and prose, and also eat chocolate cake together!

'Please use our flyers to circulate on social media, and please invite friends and colleagues directly to these events using our poster which you can download below'


Creative Workshop with Michael Rosen at Milton Road Primary - 7th March

There was huge excitement at Milton Road Primary School on Wednesday 7th March because Historyworks had organized a visit with Michael Rosen collaborating as 'Poet in Residence' with the Historyworks team to introduce primary children and their teachers to the Cambridge creative writing project inspired by learning about the past, researched and devised by the Director of Historyworks, Professor Helen Weinstein.

The School Hall was packed with excited children and we were very pleased to be able to welcome KS2 children and their teachers who were invited to join us from the nearby primaries of St Lukes and Mayfield.   On the way to the School Hall you can see that Michael Rosen had visited the school over twenty years' earlier for the opening of the new school premises and the library is actually called the 'The Michael Rosen Library'.  Therefore in the photo you can see Michael Catchpool, Headteacher at Milton Road Primary with the visiting real person Michael Rosen in the Michael Rosen Library looking at a framed picture of a photograph of Michael Rosen when he was visiting the school for the opening - that is a lot of Michaels!

Once we reached the School Hall there were over 400 children, bursting with anticipation, ready to participate in the workshop.  Helen Weinstein, the Director of Historyworks, had talked to the teachers in advance and planned the workshop to resonate with some of the themes we had looked at for Holocaust Memorial Day about the Power of Words and Kindness, in addition to introducing the children to the history trails we are working on together and to showcase how we are using  the 'History Beneath Your Feet' project to inspire the children to compose their own poetry and songs.  There was also the wonderful choir of over 100 singers ready to help everyone sing and to listen to the special lyrics composed by Michael Rosen to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.  Below you can see a wonderful photograph showing the Milton Road Primary Choir with their Headteacher, teachers, plus Michael Rosen and Helen Weinstein from Historyworks.

 There are more photographs taken by the Historyworks team in the workshop, which show everyone singing, composing, and joining in Michael Rosen's poetry performances and the songs composed by Historyworks about Cambridge's history in collaboration with the CBBC's Horrible Histories Songwriters.  You can find these below!

At the start of the workshop, Mario Satchwell from Historyworks warmed up the voices with some roller coster exercises followed by Michael Rosen's Button Bop.  Helen then told the children the story of how Cromwell's Head ended by buried in a Cambridge College before we sung a funny song about it, and then we went on to the Cambridge Coat of Arms to look at the iconography and sing it to remember it!  These are the ways in which the 'history beneath your feet' project gives schools a memorable way of engaging with Cambridge's past.

Michael Rosen introduced his poem about the Fitzwilliam Museum Lions and the legend of how they get up off their plinths at midnight.  From here he started to introduce the children to top tips about how he goes about finding ideas and stories for his poems, and encouraged the children to think up their own.   A set of poems next illustrated how Michael writes poems guided by a rhythm, by a rhyme, and then be a narrative, ending up with 'Chocolate Cake' and 'No Breathing in Class' which had all the children joining in with the actions and words.

Following on the choir beautifully sang Michael Rosen's new poem commissioned by Helen Weinstein for Holocaust Memorial Day called 'The Power of Words - Summoning up the Absentees' about members of Michael's family who were disappeared by the Nazis and then died in the Holocaust.   The lyrics were set to music by the composer Kirsty Martin and the children from Milton Road choir performed this at the Civic Ceremony at the Guildhall earlier this year, and it was wonderful to share this with the whole school and the visitors and to discuss it afterwards.

Helen Weinstein talked a bit about the history of the Second World War and related the concerns then about groups peresecuted and murdered because of their ethnicity or sexuality or disability, and how there are also lots of difficult things happening in the world today that we see on the TV News.

The children all helped by giving examples that they have heard about, of children who are displaced by war, or having a hard time because of persecution.  From this we together started to build some ideas about how to co-create a poem about words of support and empathy we could offer to children in the world to express our values of kindness to those who are suffering or who have had to flee from their homes.   The students had lots of good ideas of welcoming things to say out aloud from different languages from around the world, and acts of kindness to comfort.  Helen helped to gather the ideas from the assembled children whilst Michael showed the children how to use a chorus to help build the poem, and shape the words into verses, with the repeating riff. For the repeating phrase Michael taught them a rhythm to use around 'And That Was Kind' or 'And That Is Kind'.  Here is an example we've saved of a simple verse from the longer poem the children co-created together:

Help me when I struggle
Sei m’gezint! (be well)
Aroha everybody
And that is kind

In the next section of the workshop, Helen Weinstein reminded the children about how she works to research the past using varieties of sources and showcased the history trail project which Historyworks is producing with the participating schools, so that every partcipating Cambridge primary school has a trail leading from their front door into the historic centre of Cambridge, stopping off to learn about interesting places and people, and often link their stories to other objects in the museums or sources in the libraries for schools to explore. And all of the trails are narrated by Michael Rosen!

As an example of a poem to write inspired by a Cambridge history topic, everyone looked together at a slideshow made by Historyworks about the history of Parker's Piece, with Helen showing pictures of football and cricket in the past, and leisure pursuits today, before introducing the children to an astonishing banquet and festive games that took place to mark Queen Victoria's Coronation 1838.   There were pictures from the time showing 15,000 of the poorer sort of people being fed beef and mustard and bread washed down with ale followed by plum puddings, made in industrial quantities for this amazing feast.  The banquet ended with fireworks.  After there were festive games so that young people could win prizes such as shillings, new cloth cap, breeches, shoes!  These were all listed in advertisements of the time for sack races, riding slippery pigs, grinning matches, and wheelbarrow races.  With help from Michael Rosen the children contributed phrases for the verses, which Helen had suggested the put together around the chorus lines to repeat between verses of 'Victoria's Feast, On Parker's Piece'.   The children did brilliantly learning how to co-create a poem or a song together and Michael ended with some further top tips on using rap rhythms and other ways in which they may want to rhyme or not rhyme when they came to write their own poems for the history trail they would be co-producing with him and the team at Historyworks next term.

The workshop ended with the Headteacher, Michael Catchpool, thanking everyone and praising the children for their fantastic work, to Michael Rosen and the Historyworks team, but saving the special words of appreciation for the Milton Road Primary Choir led by Anna-Louise Lawrence, because they had learnt so many of the songs for Historyworks and helped record them over the years for other children in schools to listen to and learn from! 

If you would like to find the songs and poems with links to the corresponding history pages go to:


To find the previous poems about Cambridge filmed by Historyworks with children at Milton Road Primary about Cambridge, go to the links on the multi-media page:


Here are the photos featuring Michael Rosen performing in the School Hall:


Created with flickr slideshow.
Michael Rosen Events with Historyworks in Cambridge Spring 2018


On this page ...