Workshops

Just as field visits offer ‘spirit of place’, I believe passionately that holding or wearing artefacts offers a tangible connection with their stories and with their original owners. Let historical imagination rule!

Though Nottingham based, I will travel just about anywhere. Established in 1999, so far these workshops have grown entirely by word of mouth and I am very proud of the regularity of my repeat visits to many schools.

In the Trenches

This interactive and hands-on workshop takes student participants (of both genders) through possible experiences of WWI. In particular, we follow one ‘under age’ recruit to the Western Front and explore his experiences there. A typical format for an hour’s session would be:

  • Introduction/Safety and Care/Recruiting
  • Work with rifles
  • Dispersal of all participants to rotate around perhaps 3 of 7 focussed collections. These are:
    • “PBI” – British infantryman
    • French
    • British and Australian Officers
    • The Home Front
    • German/US
    • British and German artillery
    • Battlefield archaeological evidence
  • The Western Front (10 minute playlet)

Students may expect to see, handle and wear as appropriate: deactivated weapons, uniforms, webbing, periscopes, shells, bayonets, domestic items, preserved rat and carrier pigeon, gasmasks, personal ephemera, etc.
A two-hour session is altogether more comfortable and should allow rotation through all 7 collections.

 

"We Said We’d Meet Again"

This highly "hands-on" workshop offers students opportunity, through investigating extensive belongings, to recreate a range of characters from WW2. (Some of these were real individuals whose stories are known to me.) A typical format for an hour's session would be:

  • Introduction/Safety and Care/Skeleton 'Pegs'
  • Dispersal of all participants to rotate around perhaps 3 or 4 of the characters. These will be a selection of 6 or 7 from:
    • Maurice King, Naval Rating
    • Alice Lawson, ARP Warden and her 'extended' family, including Land Army Girls
    • Mr Flower, pigeon keeping Home Guard
    • Mavis Gutteridge, WRAF Plotter
    • The 'show off' Army Officer
    • Tommy – thwarted? Schoolboy
    • Joan – the harassed housewife
    • Betty – ATS girl
    • David Main, Lancashire Fusiliers Chaplain
    • 'Jack the Lad' – teenaged aircraftsman
    • Other characters are in development
  • This workshop has been well received not only in secondary but by Years 5 and 6 primary school students, and can contribute to ‘transition’ events. It has also been deployed for Years 12 and 13 ‘Theory of Knowledge’ workshops at Impington Village College, Cambridgeshire.
  • Debrief – the characters laid bare.

Students may expect to see, handle and wear as appropriate deactivated weapons including Bren and Sten Gun, uniforms and civilian clothes, domestic items, gasmasks (made safe), personal ephemera, strirrup pumps and gas rattle, toys, etc.
A related workshop – Assistant ARP training – is offered which is especially suitable for younger students.
A two-hour session is altogether more comfortable and should allow rotation through all 7 collections.