Thank you Mid Pennine Arts!

Today is my last day volunteering at Mid Pennine Arts, having taken on the role as Project Assistant a year ago today in order to complete a year in Industry as part of my Art and Design degree at the University of Leeds, I just want to say a massive thank you to Mid Pennine Arts for such an amazing and worthwhile year!

I have absolutely loved being a part of the MPA team this last year, working with such lovely people who are all so amazing at what they do has been very special.

When I applied to extend my degree to four years at University so that I could complete a year in industry I never imagined that I would get so much out of it! Thank you for giving me so much confidence in what I enjoy doing.

I remember sitting down with Nick (Creative Director) during my first couple of months and speaking about what it was that I wanted to achieve whilst working at Mid Pennine Arts. After helping artist Cath Ford a few weeks prior, running some primary schools workshops, I said that by the end of my placement I wanted to be running such sessions myself and to have brought something new to MPA. Thanks to the brilliant team who have given me lots of responsibility and trust I have been able to achieve this.

Over the past few weeks for example I have been running my own project ‘Banners, Protests and Campaigning with a group of high school pupils and this week we celebrated their hard work with their own pop up exhibition. It was lovely to see the girls faces when they saw there work displayed and being viewed by members of the public, they have worked so hard and have listened so amazingly to the advice and support I have given them.

Helping out with this years Todmorden Treat, artist Cath Ford gave me the confidence to lead several sessions. Hearing and seeing the children really enjoy the sessions I was delivering was great and I felt so confident interacting with them and helping them with what they were doing.

There have been many more highlights: Working alongside the brilliant Spodden Valley Revealed project manager Diana Hamilton in order to organise several events and seeing my proposal for ‘Character bags’ come to life has exceeded my expectations of what I would be doing as an intern. Helping to organise a very successful and sunny Burnley Canal Festival, embarking on various research trips and helping to source material for a huge exhibition which will be a part of the British Textiles Biennial. I was also really happy to be asked to work with the lovely Greenways Project Manager Shonagh Short to interview artists for a new commission. Working with such a range of partners and community members has been so valuable.

My time at Mid Pennine Arts has also encouraged me to take on further volunteering at a local women’s refuge, I feel so lucky to have had this experience and work with such strong and inspiring women.

I could continue on about all of the other fabulous things I have been involved in and the opportunities I have been given, but more importantly I want to say a massive thank you to everybody at Mid Pennine Arts and everybody else I have worked with, for making this my best year yet! A special thank you of course to Nick and Melanie for being fantastic hosts, it has been brilliant to work alongside you both and despite being dressed as an explorer many times I still want to work in the Arts!

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Todmorden’s Paper People

For the last 15 years we’ve enjoyed providing the Todmorden Treat, a project to give each primary school in Todmorden an experience of working with the same artist or performer during the spring term, supported by Todmorden Town Council.  We were grateful for their support again this year for Paper People – Creating a Wallpaper Portrait Gallery.

Pupils worked with artist Cath Ford, assisted by Leeds University art student Faye Wetherall, to create large, mixed media portraits, using simple basic materials. The pupils worked in groups to create portraits pertinent to books or topics they are currently studying.

Among others we had characters from The Secret Garden; Around the World in 80 Days; Rose Blanche; Viking Boy, and some very glamorous Greek gods and goddesses for an Ancient Greece topic.

Working with Cath and Faye the children used collage, paint and their imagination to bring the characters to life!

The workshops allowed the children to explore historic and contemporary portraiture, by looking at how artists provide visual clues to depict the lives, achievements and stories of subjects in portraits. They then used this learning to devise portraits of their chosen subjects (chosen in advance in collaboration with the class teacher). This helped the pupils to explore the subjects in more depth and consider how to communicate their characteristics in an art work. Finally they had a lot of fun experimenting with different painting, collage and mark-making techniques as they worked collaboratively on these large scale pieces.

The children may not have realised it as they enjoyed the opportunity for self-expression and creativity, but they were engaged in visual thinking, practice of observational skills, analysis and problem solving, along with team working and practicing their communication skills.

We’ve had lots of great feedback from the teachers and the pupils, this one from a student is our favourite.

“I have learnt about being inspired.”

Thank you to the schools and the 200 pupils and staff that took part, and a huge thank you to Todmorden Town Council for supporting the workshops once again this year.

  • Todmorden C Of E Junior, Infant & Nursery School
  • Walsden St. Peter’s CE (VC) Primary School
  • Ferney Lee Primary School
  • St Joseph’s RC Primary School
  • Cornholme Junior, Infant And Nursery School
  • Shade Primary School
  • Castle Hill Primary School

There are lots more photographs featuring the work from all the above schools in our Flickr album.

The Two Toms Trail (via The Radical Echo)

Pendle Radicals’ volunteer, Bob Sproule, tells us about a walk he, and other volunteers, went on in May, retracing the steps of the Two Toms…

Tom Criddle Stephenson (1893–1987) a leading champion of walkers’ rights in the countryside.

Thomas Arthur Leonard (1864–1948) a British social reformer and pioneer in developing organised outdoor holidays for working people.

Find out more about the Two Toms on The Radical Echo blog.

A Triumphant Research Trip! (via The Radical Echo)

Pendle Radicals volunteer Irene Vince tells us about a recent trip to the Peace Museum, Bradford…

Recently I took a trip to the Peace Museum in Bradford with Faye and Nick from MPA as well as Steph Heaps and Jackie Jones from Super Slow Way.  We were going to look at their banner collection for suitable contributions for our upcoming banner exhibition which will feature as part of the British Textiles Biennial in October this year.  The museum is on Piece Hall Yard in a fine old Victorian building near the Town Hall. We were enthusiastically greeted by the curator Charlotte Hall.  After a quick tour of the museum, somewhere I fully intend to revisit as I barely had chance to take much in, she took us into the office and let us browse their digital catalogue of banners.

Read more about the visit on The Radical Echo blog…

Pendle Radicals Gather at Black Stone Edge… (via The Radical Echo)

Remembering the Chartists…

It has been a busy few months for our Pendle Radical volunteers.  Recently Bob Sproule and Barbara Sanders attended this years Blackstone Edge Gathering. You can find out more about that and how the attendees at the Gathering heard about Pendle Radicals below…

Bob Sproule:  The Blackstone Edge Gathering is a long standing event which celebrates Chartism, a political movement which flourished in Britain during the early to mid 19th Century. One of its aims was to create a better standard of living for working people, especially those that experienced both hard working and living conditions.

The event therefore pays tribute to individuals such as Ernest Jones who was a leader of the chartist movement in the 1840s.

Find out what happened at this year’s gathering on The Radical Echo blog.

basin-stone-painting

The Limersgate Pamphlet (via SVR)

Spodden Valley Revealed artist in residence, David Chatton Barker, has been exploring part of the ancient highway, pre-dating medieval time, running between Rochdale and Clitheroe. He walked from Bull Brow in Rochdale centre to Hades Hill, above Shawforth. From the birthplace of the Co-operative movement to a Prehistoric Barrow, the contents of which included an urn containing the burnt bone fragments of a woman, along with her tools and talismans. The trackway passes many interesting sites, joining the dots of a well worn route by foot and hoof over many many centuries.

The walk was around 6 miles in length and took 5 hours due to conversations, documentation and lunch. The journey was photographed, filmed and audio recorded.

Read more about this fascinating journey on the Spodden Valley Revealed blog.

A very Radical couple of months… (via The Radical Echo)

May 2019

Catch up with some of the things we have been up to as part of Pendle Radicals. As Faye Wetherall reports, it’s true to say it has been a very busy and RADICAL few months with lots more to look forward to…

  • Have YOU got what it takes to be a Radical Explorer?
  • Banner, Protests and Campaigning…
  • People Enjoying Nature…
  • A Full House for Peterloo…
  • Novels, Poetry and Songs…
  • Broadside Ballads and Paul Graney…

Find out more about the above on the Radical Echo blog.