Monthly Archives: June 2011

Today on 25th of June we …. (via accymarkethallbanners)

What the fabulous Project Pride team for Accrington have been up to!

Today on 25th of June we .... Today on saturday 25th of June we have been making some decision about the openings (preview & the official launch) and the invitations for the unveiling of our heritage banners for the Market Hall. So far we have decided to serve refreshments like juice, coffee and tea and hot pies with peas or gravy (this is a very important decision!). We have put our heads together to create a press release and now we are designing the invitations. Not ba … Read More

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Around 150 children met at Corporation Park today and the rain held off! Gordon MacLellon explains the project…

“A walk in the park, could become so much more” was the challenge we were offered. An invitation to look at familiar school topics and a dramatic local park and offer creative ways of combining the two.

There were 6 schools, 7 artists and lots of ideas and enthusiasms. Working with our groups, we wanted to develop activities that could be used again – by schools or by families visiting the Park themselves. So, on the whole, we aimed for activities that needed fairly simple equipment and used ideas that children could explain to their families.

And then we went to Corporation Park to see what might come next. School topics were explored through different scenarios, storylines that let us take the topic and play with it. A request to combine drawing and sculpture with oral descriptions of nature turned a group into Time Travellers exploring the past, present and future of the Park. ‘Plants’ sent another group off on an expedition into the unknown, writing journals, describing plants and the animal associated with them, learning names and terms and inventing new names, describing new plants and, possibly, never getting home again. ‘Global Warming’ sent another group into a changing world with wandering, lost polar bears and new ways of building homes

We offer those topics, scenarios and activities here for you to try. We have set our activities against maps of the Park, showing where our adventures led us. You could take the same ideas elsewhere, turn them inside out and try them in different ways. Most of our adventures grew over several half-day visits to the Park so you might need to adjust activities to suit your timescale. At the end of the booklet there is a list of the different equipment different groups took with them

Gordon MacLellan, Creeping Toad, lead artist for “A Walk in the Park”

Brookhouse Primary School
Cedars Infant School
Hawthorns Junior School
St James School
St Michael with St John Primary School
SevenTrees Children’s Centre

Karen Alderson
Kerris Casey St Pierre
Ruth Evans
Rosie Fenwick
Gordon MacLellan
Thea Soltau
John Spedding

Project Pride Nelson gets stuck in. (via Project Pride Nelson)

The latest on Project Pride in Nelson

Project Pride Nelson gets stuck in. The heat is on as the launch hurtles towards us with increasing rapidity and, simultaneously it is also exam & assessment time in school for most of the participants. The group have been working on arranging the launch, designing the invitations, deciding who will come & what food we will order. Since last entry, the promotional image for the textile bags has gone off to print, calls have been made to the Ace Centre confirming our booking … Read More

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Local Cluster of Schools Engage Creatively with Local Heritage

Mid Pennine Arts  have been working with Blackburn’s ‘Oasis Cluster’ of five schools and one children’s centre alongside a number of local artists.

‘A Walk in the Park Becomes So Much More’ is a project bringing together children of different ages to explore Blackburn’s  Corporation Park. Working with creative practitioners Gordon MacLellan (Creeping Toad), Karen Alderson, Thea Soltau, Kerris Casey St. Pierre, Rosie Fenwick, Ruth Evans and John Spedding, each class has created their own activity trail around the park.  The children’s trails help them share with others what they’ve learned about plants, global warming, bugs and the natural world. We’re very excited because tomorrow the children will come together to lead one another along their trails in the Park.  Before the end of term, each school will have a printed trail guide and online resources to use again and again.

Creative Consultation in Fleetwood

Getting creative – how would YOU improve a school’s outdoor spaces?

Mid Pennine Arts are helping a school in Fleetwood develop their ideas for new and creative school spaces. We have been engaged by creative social enterprise Curious Minds  to deliver this programme of work.

Flakefleet Primary are having major changes to their school building in the coming year – but what about the outside spaces? To get their creative ideas flowing, a group of teachers have volunteered to work with MPA Education Coordinator, Stephanie Hawke, to be a ‘Change Team’.

We met artist Sean Creagh  on Friday 10th June. We looked at photographs of all the amazing creative learning environments Sean has worked on in other schools and were really inspired. Then, Headteacher Mr Barnes took us on a tour of the spaces outside school and we talked about what we’d love to see there in future (whilst ducking the Seagulls!)

Our next steps are to introduce Sean to the children at Flakefleet and together collect up all of our thoughts about what makes an outdoor space good or bad. Then we can think about how to make Flakefleet’s new school even better!

We had some great ideas, here’s a Wordle to illustrate what we talked about. How would YOU make the school’s grounds more inspiring?


Chris May

Chris and the newly arrived Gabriel at the opening of Not Forgotten, September 2010. Photo by Janet Barton.

Everyone at MPA was shocked and deeply saddened in late April when the news came through about the sudden, unexpected death of our good friend and colleague Chris May.  In the weeks since, we have witnessed a huge, collective outpouring of love, affection and respect for this very charismatic man – powerful testament to the effect he had on the lives of very many people, and the big hole he leaves in our cultural lives.

Chris was Chief Executive of Curious Minds, based near us in Burnley.  Curious Minds, if you are not familiar with their work, was the independent organisation that emerged in Pennine Lancashire from the introduction here of the government’s national flagship scheme for creative work in schools, Creative Partnerships.  Our team members David and Steph have been heavily involved in Creative Partnerships, and Curious Minds has commissioned a lot of work from our organisation.

Before that, Chris had worked at Action Factory, the participatory arts group based in Blackburn, and then at the Arts Council, where as Social Inclusion Officer he was for a while MPA’s main contact.

I first came across Chris before that though, when he had set up the rather quixotic enterprise of a cafe/bookshop/lounge in Sabden antiques centre.  A crazy idea, and it bit the dust soon after, but that blend of ambition, optimism and energy with a touch of the plain daft was a recurring characteristic of this lovely man.

When the very big deal of Creative Partnerships came to Pennine Lancashire, with the prospect of investment on an unprecedented scale, nobody was so well equipped to direct it as Chris, and to make of it such an enduring, outstanding success.  It was no surprise, then, in the recent Arts Council funding round, when Curious Minds secured the big prize of the regional role for the North West, as one of the national cluster of ‘bridge organisations’ for young people.  A triumph for Chris and his team.

This triumph was in stark contrast to our own disastrous result for MPA from the Arts Council, but I was really looking forward to seeing Chris again very soon.  His combination of insider knowledge, gusto and irreverent, wicked wit meant he could be relied upon to be wonderfully, scatologically rude about the Arts Council.  Where will I get that kind of therapy now?

Chris was so very full of life, and just lately, very obviously had so much to live for.  He had recently set up a new home with new partner Kate, and Gabriel had arrived last summer to seal the deal.  All our thoughts are with Kate and Gabriel, and Chris’s wider family.  For the rest of us, he has simply left an enormous, Chris-shaped hole in our cultural life. We are really going to miss him.

Nick Hunt

Project Pride Nelson Gets Creative (via Project Pride Nelson)

The latest from Project Pride Nelson.

Project Pride Nelson Gets Creative The group met in the textile room at Marsden Heights School today, all 15 participants were present …….. and, after a quick word about Arts Award we set to work with fervour. We recapped on last weeks session and the ideas that had been generated there, Yumna and Ingela offered to make the patchwork for the sleeves. Ingela taught Jenny some machine embroidery skills too. I let the group know that I had sourced a firm that would embroider some … Read More

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