Category Archives: Heritage Lottery Fund

The Power of Song

Truce Choir Leader, Janet Swan, reflects on her experiences of the project and working with the choir for their performances at The Rhyme of No Man’s Land and Christmas Truce at ASFC:

truce logo bwIn the summer of 2014 my good friend Iain Broadley asked me to be part of a project that I knew he had been working on and which Mid Pennine Arts had raised funds for. I was thrilled to be asked to lead the singing side of the project. I had sung as part of the Roses and Thorns choir in 2005 in a concert called “Kirstbestand” (Flemish for Christmas Truce) with the acapella trio Coope, Boyes and Simpson. That had been a defining moment for me – in being part of a group of singers that had the power to move, and even change people.

Now I had the opportunity to create something with Iain and other artists and to get more local people involved in learning about the Christmas Truces of 1914. It was also to be a chance to use my skills as a natural voice practitioner – to give the possibility of singing in this choir, to those who don’t read music or don’t consider themselves as singers even.

When Iain had to step back from the project because of illness, I was determined to do justice to his vision and to give it my best. Thus began several months of incredibly hard but very rewarding work, putting together the two concerts in Accrington, getting permissions for songs, learning then teaching the songs, communicating with singers and adding audio files to “the box” – the shared space where those with access to the internet could learn their parts without the need to read music.

My reward for being in this project was the privilege which came from working with all the Mid Pennine Arts’ staff, especially Cath Ford. But also working together with heritage performer John Meredith and Gill Brailey of the county’s Heritage Learning Team which lead to the successful weaving of words and songs around each other to create the magic that was The Rhyme of No Man’s Land.


Truce choir at Accrington Stanley

What has been the most amazing thing for me was discovering how committed people were to this choir and this project, and how much work they were prepared to put into learning the songs. For that I want to say a really big THANK YOU to the 70 + singers involved. Thanks also go to Ian Enticott, the vicar at St James Church, Accrington, who let us use that very beautiful acoustic space and to Rob Houseman, Director at Accrington Stanley Football Club for his support of the Christmas Truce event happening around and during their important match on 20 December.

To all of you: thank you. We did it together and, as the comments from the audience and participants (The Rhyme of No Man’s Land) testify, we created something really special:

“It was really really good. The choir were great: lovely singing and a good balance, and the music chosen was a really good mix, including the Urdu song which sounded super. Dad was particularly taken with the Sgt but enjoyed the whole event, I am never sure what he thinks of some of the things we go to, but this was a real hit!”

“It was one of the best experiences of my life and one I will treasure. There was such an atmosphere of camaraderie amongst all participants and the audience that somehow reflected the spirit of peace, comradeship and shared humanity that the British and German soldiers demonstrated in such a wonderful and humbling way that Christmas of 1914. My paternal grandfather, who was Scottish, fought in the 1914 war, though fortunately he was not injured. So, like many others taking part, I felt a special bond with the Truce Project.”

“Great performances by all concerned: musical, moving, and the ‘trench humour’ came over too…. Thanks, for a memorable night out.”

“I thought it was absolutely fantastic, especially the choir (the harmonies were lovely) and the actor playing the sergeant who was a great anchor throughout.  I also thought the food parcels were a brilliant idea and if the people around me were anything to go by we all swapped and chatted to strangers!”

Truce choir at The Rhyme of No Man's Land

Truce choir at The Rhyme of No Man’s Land

As several of these comments show and as we all observed – the audience loved it and were engaged throughout, probably because of the power of the performers who were giving it their all. There was no shuffling, yawning or other signs of people falling asleep, and even better there were people who were moved and maybe even changed.

Visit the Truce website for more information.

Truce was funded by: Heritage Lottery Fund, Lancashire County Council Arts Development Team, Granada Foundation & Hyndburn Homes.  It was also supported by Accrington Stanley FC and BBC Radio Lancashire (Up for Arts).


Truce – Sgt. Meredith’s Story

John Meredith, the creator of Sgt. Meredith, shares his experiences of being involved in the Truce project.truce man cropped

Truce - John Meredith as Sgt Meredith - school workshopSgt. Meredith’s War – The Christmas Truce, a play based on the letters, diaries and anecdotal evidence of the soldiers who found themselves on the Western front at Christmas 1914.

The element of doubt surrounding those events and the fog of mystery that has shrouded the legendary ‘football match’ led to a detailed research exercise.  The piece had to be flexible enough to be performed in a variety of venues to an equally varied audience.  It also had to be historically accurate. The amount of research material available is truly breath taking, websites, biographies, anecdotal collections, archive records and regimental accounts all helped build as accurate a picture as possible of the events that led up to and included the Christmas Truce of 1914.  Yet still the spectre of ‘that’ football match hung in the air.  It would have been easy to shoe horn the play’s central character into a situation that found him involved in the most ‘organised’ of the football stories from that incredible Christmas but in the end I opted to place Sgt. Meredith in the middle of a more informal ‘kick about’. This allowed me to involve more people ‘men of all ranks’, and it also allowed me to include men from all regions on both sides in an attempt to capture the unbridled enthusiasm for a pause in the mayhem on both sides of the line.

Of course the Truce was not universal and it did not last. Both sides recorded casualties on Christmas Day 1914 in the very sectors that ‘The Truce’ broke out. So it became a very localised truce, dependent on the willingness of the soldiers themselves to engage with the enemy in a very different way than they had up to that point. I wanted to show the changes in attitudes amongst the troops from fighting an honourable war, a great adventure to the deadly grind of trench warfare that developed in such a short space of time following the Truce.

SSgt. Meredith - Rhyme of No Man's Landgt. Meredith’s War – The Christmas Truce is therefore a reflective piece. Which sees Sgt. Meredith looking back over two years of war to a time when everything, for a short period of time at least, was so very different.  Performances of Sgt. Meredith’s War to Primary and Secondary school audiences were followed by The Rhyme Of No Man’s Land a collaborative project that saw Sgt. Meredith’s War interwoven with songs, carols, letters and poems performed by a community choir and children from local schools. The result was an atmospheric and often emotional performance to a full house.

Sgt. Meredith’s War was then adapted for an interactive workshop with a Primary School Year 3 group and then evolved again as part of the Truce Centenary Cup an exciting junior football competition. Between games, players, coaches and spectators alike listened to stories of life at The Front line in WW1, the story of the Christmas Truce and of the so called ‘Footballer’ battalions. The attitude and response of all involved was fantastic and the tournament was played in the true spirit of those footballing encounters in No Man’s Land at Christmas 1914.Sgt meredith session at Truce Cup

Sgt. Meredith’s War was then serialised on BBC Radio Lancashire with the final episode broadcasting on Christmas Eve a 100 years to the day that the Truce began.

Writing and performing Sgt. Meredith’s War has been an amazing experience and thanks must go to Mid Pennine Arts for the opportunity and the faith they placed in me to deliver. The process has inspired me to write more adventures for Sgt. Meredith as he marches his way across France and who knows where those roads will lead him?truce logo bw

Visit the Truce webpage for more information on the project.

Read the programme from The Rhyme of No Man’s Land

Truce was funded by: Heritage Lottery Fund, Lancashire County Council Arts Development Team, Granada Foundation & Hyndburn Homes.  It was also supported by Accrington Stanley FC and BBC Radio Lancashire (Up for Arts).

Family History Exploration: Computers and Creativity!

Starting in summer 2013 and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, we’ve been helping the local community explore Gawthorpe Hall, through oral history, photography and the creative arts, in a project called Portraits of the Past.   We wanted to capture what the Hall means to the community that surrounds it. Focussing on the heritage of this magnificent 17th century house in Padiham, Lancashire, we looked to encourage local people to engage with its magnificent collections and learn about the fascinating stories of the people who would have lived, worked and used the Hall and its grounds.

To achieve this we’ve organised a series of events and activities and the most recent was on the 4th April, when a group of people interested in exploring their family history joined us for a day. It started with exploring Gawthorpe Hall and the history of the Shuttleworths and then they researched their own ancestry and finally explored the mysteries of creativity!

We started the day at Gawthorpe Hall where Rachael Pollitt de Duran, the Museum Manager, gave us a guided tour along with lots of information about the family that had lived there, the Kay-Shuttleworths.

Some members of the group had not been inside Gawthorpe Hall before and found the building and its history fascinating. In the Long Gallery it was hard work for everyone to obey the instruction not to touch the amazing wallpaper, thank goodness there’s a small sample to touch!

Ughtred James Kay-Shuttleworth - Caricature in Vanity Fair 1904

Ughtred James Kay-Shuttleworth – Caricature in Vanity Fair 1904

Once the tour was completed we headed down to the kitchen where the Lancashire County Council Community Heritage Team gave a presentation on how to begin tracing your own ancestors, using the Shuttleworth family as an example. Lots more was discovered about the family during the presentation, not least some of the more interesting first names. The group was particularly taken with Ughtred!

The team guided the group through the various online sources available for research as well as providing useful tips for getting the most out of searches. Everyone was very pleased to learn that the websites Ancestry and Find My Past are available to use for free through Lancashire Libraries, where you can book up to two hours computer time a day. You can find out more about the online resources available from the county here. As Fiona from the team said, “they’ve paid so you don’t have to”.


Next everyone headed over to Padiham Town Hall, which also contains Padiham Library. We stopped for lunch, although in fact, the discussions about Gawthorpe Hall and family history continued throughout. After everyone was refreshed the group split into two.

Group One worked with the Community Heritage Team in the library’s computer suite getting to grips with researching via online resources. Group Two worked with artist Cath Ford to discover creative ways to display their family trees, photographs and mementos. Although many of the group were not experienced computer users, the thought of doing ‘art’ seemed much more frightening that using the computers! That didn’t last long though. Cath is very experienced at working with people who think they can’t be creative. It didn’t take her long to get them all experimenting with frames, craft paper, old magazines and other materials to create backdrops for some of the family history artifacts they had collected. Marriage certificates, discharge papers, medals, stamps, maps, adverts and of course photographs were added to flat and box frames to create very thoughtful and personal pieces of art. With the added bonus of being able to put on display some of these wonderful mementos. Nobody finished completely, mainly because they were leaving space for items they had at home, but they left with their frames and a bucket load of materials and ideas.

Halfway through the afternoon Group One and Two swapped over and the feedback was that each had enjoyed both activities. Cath and the Community Heritage Team made a good number of creative and computer converts!


The final event of the Portraits of the Past project will take place at Gawthorpe Hall on April 26th between 1-4pm. Find out more on our website, but to whet your appetite…

Take a walk through the grounds with storyteller Steve Fairclough; discover the joys of letterpress printing with Print for Love of Wood; explore the strange delights of The Palace of Curiosities and meet Betsy the Victorian scullery maid!

Teapoys and Wallpaper: A Voyage of Discovery at Gawthorpe Hall

With a generous grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, we are exploring Gawthorpe Hall through oral history, photography and the creative arts in a project called Portraits of the Past.  As part of the project artist Kerris Casey-St.Pierre worked with primary school groups local to the Hall.  Here she tells us how it went…

This was a really interesting project for me. Like many of the children I had not been to Gawthorpe Hall before, so taking part in the tour with one of the schools groups was fantastic and really informed my decisions about what kind of work I would do with the children afterwards. Being able to see their reactions to the objects in the Hall meant that I could choose things to work with that I knew they would respond to. Taking part in the tour myself created a shared memory with all the groups.

During the tour we did two activities. First we went to the kitchen where we were treated like new staff and told to polish the silver. The children really liked this and learned about the life of a servant. Next we went upstairs to set the table IMG_0161 - propswith the silver, learning about where things go and why. The actors in costume engaged children straight away. The Butler was very good and it was hard not to go along with it.

After that we had an upstairs tour of the Hall by the housekeeper. We looked in the entrance and the withdrawing room and learned about Charlotte Bronte. The children were interested in all the different and special things. The Teapoy, a box on a stand where they kept tea locked as it was so expensive, stood out as interesting.

We saw the ceiling and chandeliers, secret doors, commode, cupboard and learnt about the special sideways chimney.

In the Long Gallery we looked at the portraits and were told about the different uses of the long gallery, including for exercise and cricket. The children liked the wallpaper. They were very hands on with the sample and enjoyed being able to feel the gold and velour textures.

They had noticed the monogram KS everywhere.

When I arrived at the schools I first talked to the pupils about their tour and what they remembered. They remembered a lot actually, sometimes with a little prompt.  But the fact that there were people in costume and that they had been actively engaged (polishing the cutlery and laying the table) not only captured their imaginations, it had also made it easier for them to relate to the people who would have lived there in the past. Having been there and seen all the objects and heard about them whilst looking at them meant that they recalled most of the information they had been given.

The works we created were in response to the wonderful wallpaper that many of the children had been impressed by and had enjoyed feeling, and the Teapoy in the withdrawing room.

We made Teapoys using flat packed boxes from the scrap store. They had to put the boxes together and think about how they would decorate/customise it. There was no right or wrong and there were lots of different ways to achieve the same thing. We covered and lined them, and some of the groups created their own monogram to personalise their boxes further. Keyholes also developed as the project went on.

Creating their own Teapoy or special chest to keep precious things in gave the children a chance to really express themselves, as well as something special to keep, which will continue to remind them of their visit to the Hall and all that they had learned there.

We also looked at wallpaper, linked to wallpaper in the Hall, and had a go at making or enhancing wallpaper designs ourselves. The children added materials to wallpaper squares to enhance the texture and also added lots of gold shiny papers like the gold leaf to make it bespoke, to make it special. This didn’t always get finished so I left this with the schools, and they seemed very keen to continue and finish after the session.

I used materials from the scrap store and told the pupils about the store, which was also a learning experience as most of them hadn’t heard of it, and was a good connection to recycling and re-use.

The practical experience at the Hall was a really good way of engaging the children and helping them to learn. Walking there was a good experience, walking up the drive and seeing it all and how big it is.  The making process also helped the children to connect. They remembered a lot and then made something with a connection to the Hall and to themselves. Everyone really enjoyed the workshop and seemed very engaged throughout, probably because it was very personal to them.

A nice extension for the project, or for future project development, would be to have an exhibition of children’s work in response to the collections, spending longer on the making and take it a step further.


As part of Portraits of the Past MPA is running a Family History Engagement Day on 4 April.  The event is FREE but places are limited and booking essential.  Find out more on our website.

Portraits of the Past

Starting in the summer this project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, has been exploring Gawthorpe Hall through oral history, photography and the creative arts, in a project we’re calling Portraits of the Past.

Gawthorpe Hall is much loved by the Padiham and Burnley community who surround it.  The historic property also currently hosts Catherine Bertola’s contribution to our Contemporary Heritage series, entitled Flicker.  We asked for people to share their photographs of Gawthorpe to develop an online archive, and to let us record their memories of time spent there to create oral histories that will be stored at the North West Sound Archive.  The project is ongoing with schools’ work starting later in the autumn but we had some fabulous days in August and September that we’d like to tell you about.

In August we had two days of family friendly activities on the lawn outside the Gawthorpe Hall entrance.  On both occasions we were joined by David and Andrew from the sound archive who eagerly recorded visitors to the event.  We were also pleased to have members of Padiham & District Photographic Society with us, who introduced visitors to their work as well as some fantastic antique cameras kindly loaned by the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.     PoP day - 21.8.13 5

To encourage the budding photographers of tomorrow (and their parents), on the 21st artist Cath Ford ran a workshop making miniature cameras out of scrap materials which went down a storm.  All afternoon you could see children wandering around the grounds proudly wearing or pretending to take Image by C Ford - participant in activity day - 21.8.13 - 2pictures with their matchbox creations.  There were also photo scavenger hunts for those with a working camera or camera phone!

On the 28th artist Caroline Eccles held a mask making workshop as well as providing a huge dressing up box which young and not so young couldn’t resist, the fake moustaches were particularly popular!  Once the masks and costumes were on everyone had a lot of fun posing for pictures in front of the hall.  Joss joined us for the day as a volunteer and took some wonderful pictures of the action.

Image by C Eccles - participant in activity day - 28.8.13 IMG_0518

In September we had a wonderful day at Padiham Library and Gawthorpe Hall concentrating on collecting oral histories.  Once again David and Andrew from NW Sound Archive joined us and were kept busy recording memories, new and old, of times spent at the Hall.  In the morning Alison and Carole Alison and Carole - Padiham Libraryat the library organised a coffee morning and were so welcoming to us and all those who visited, we lost count of how many brews they made!  They had been very busy persuading library users to visit on the day and tell us their stories.  Most people were rather bashful at the idea; we heard many times that, ‘you won’t be interested in me’.  But they were wrong and once Melanie and Dom had enticed them with cakes and a brew they all relaxed enough to make a recording.  We were also made very welcome Bob - Padiham Libraryby Ann and Bob at the Padiham Archive which, along with the library, is part of the town hall.  They are custodians of a huge number of artefacts ranging from the everyday to items of important historical significance.  If you’re interested in the history of Padiham you should pay them a visit, there isn’t anything about the town that they don’t know!

In the afternoon David Smith joined Dom, Andrew and David at Gawthorpe Hall for the Heritage Open Day.  It was an extremely busy afternoon at Gawthorpe and Rachel and her team very kindly set us up in the Dining Hall where we were perfectly placed to draw in visitors who had tales to share.  Of the stories we’ve recorded so far some cover every day uses of the hall and grounds as a place to walk the dog or picnic with the family, others recall working there when it was a family home and others of childhood encounters with Lady Shuttleworth.  They are all fascinating and equally worthy of a place in the Portraits of the Past oral history collection.

Thank you to everyone who has participated so far.  You can add your own photographs to the online archive here or get in touch with us if you need help doing that.  If you have any memories of Gawthorpe Hall you want preserved get in touch with us and we’ll send the boys from NW Sound Archive round!

There’s a lot more to come as artists work with schools this autumn term, so look out for further blogs.  In the meanwhile huge thanks to the North West Sound Archive, Gawthorpe Hall, Padiham Library, Padiham & District Photographic Society, Padiham Archives, MOSI and of course our funders, the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Image by C Ford - participant in activity day - 21.8.13

Opportunities for accomplished project managers at Mid Pennine Arts

Mid Pennine Arts is recruiting.   We need additional support to help us maintain and extend our busy portfolio of creative learning and community engagement projects.  We are therefore seeking one or more experienced, versatile project managers, initially on short term agreements, but with the opportunity to develop longer term relationships.  If you have a strong track record of developing and delivering high quality, project-based work, and would like to contribute to the work of our team, we would love to hear from you.

About Us

MPA is the commissioning agency based in Pennine Lancashire and developing projects across Lancashire and beyond.  We commission high quality creative work through a variety of collaborations and in response to the distinctive contexts of our natural, built and social environments.  Our projects interrogate and celebrate what is unique about our area, our heritage and our communities.  We aim to originate exciting creative work that has lasting impact for participants, audiences and our project partners.  MPA brings art, people and places together to transform perceptions and change lives.

MPA was established in 1966 and has a long and proud track record of working in our communities.  Our work is centred on contemporary visual arts but uses a broad creative palette.  MPA has developed specialisms in commissioning work in landscape and public spaces and in heritage settings.  Our portfolio of recent work has included the Panopticons contemporary landmarks and the Contemporary Heritage series of major new commissions in heritage locations.  All of our projects include dimensions of engagement and learning for young people and adults.

Over many years we have built up a reputation for high quality work especially with schools and young people.  MPA works with some 60 schools each year.  In 2013 our creative learning team have made advisory visits to 90 schools, working in partnership with the ACE Bridge Organisation, Curious Minds, as cultural advocates for Lancashire.

Key partners for MPA projects have recently included local authorities, Lancashire Museums, environmental agencies and our fellow arts organisations.  We believe strongly in collaboration and all of our work is developed through a variety of partnerships.

MPA attracts funding from a variety of sources, including Arts Council England, Lancashire County Council and lottery distributors.  With less revenue funding now available, we generate funds project by project, from multiple sources, to help sustain our organisation.  All our team contribute to this effort, which is vital to our future.

Our Team

MPA maintains a multidisciplinary team to originate, curate and project manage our busy programme.  In autumn 2013 a number of circumstances will be reducing this team, but MPA’s programme will be busier than ever.  So we are seeking additional support.

We have a number of projects already in progress and further exciting projects in development.  So we want to reinforce our team as soon as we can.  We are therefore seeking experienced, versatile individuals who might be available at relatively short notice to contribute to our team over the next few months.

Our Programme

Projects already confirmed include these:

  • Portraits of the Past – an extended engagement programme built around our Contemporary Heritage commission at Gawthorpe Hall and celebrating the place of this Jacobean gem in the life of the local community.
  • Youth Music – Two new projects resourced by this lottery fund and engaging groups of young people and early years children.
  • Creative Communities – A programme of structured volunteering for young adults, funded by Awards for All, providing opportunities to work with us on a variety of exciting projects.
  • Burnley Rivers – Partnership work with the Urban Rivers Enhancement Scheme to celebrate the Brun and the Calder.

In addition a number of projects in development are likely to add to our workload in the near future:

  • Contemporary HeritageMajor new commissions for 2014 and beyond, and engagement programmes to support them.
  • Spodden Valley Revealed – Creatively interpreting the ancient and modern heritage of the area around Whitworth.
  • The Three Towers – A strategic partnership programme to celebrate the heritage and realise the destination potential of the West Pennine Moors.
  • Super Wet Way – Participation in a major new partnership programme themed around the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, with Canal & River Trust, our fellow arts organisations and others.
  • Truce – An engagement programme for Accrington throughout 2014, marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

We will also be continuing to originate projects and develop partnerships.

The Opportunity

We would like to identify probably two individuals to join our team on a part-time, short term, contract basis.  Initially we are able to offer a term of around three months, but we are looking to identify contributors with whom we can establish a relationship for the longer term.  In the future, we anticipate maintaining a more flexible workforce that can adapt swiftly to changing circumstance, so we are keen to build a group of regular associates.

Terms are flexible according to experience, but as a guide we envisage basing the remuneration on a full time salary of £20,000 to £23,000 (pro rata) for a commitment of around 2.5 to 3 days per week over three months.  This is open to negotiation for the self-employed and for exceptional candidates.  Proven capacity to help generate further income may be an influential factor.

Person Specification

The individuals we seek will be able to evidence certain core skills:

  • Substantial experience of managing complex or extended projects.
  • Experience of working with a wide variety of people.
  • Accustomed to building partnerships and working collaboratively.
  • Excellent written communication skills, and ability to produce convincing funding proposals and project reports.
  • Highly organised, capable of multi-tasking and prioritising a busy workload.
  • A self-starter able to identify opportunities and realise them.
  • A team player who will enjoy working collaboratively within the MPA team.
  • An understanding of our geographical area (social-economic context) or of comparable communities.

In addition, you should have one or more specialism(s) that will be particularly relevant to our programme of work:

  • Creative learning work, with an understanding of the National Curriculum and experience of key programmes like Arts Awards and Artsmark.
  • Contemporary visual arts, with experience of curating work outside of the gallery setting.
  • Experience of work in landscape, the natural environment and rural contexts.
  • Community engagement, with a range of resources for effectively involving groups and individuals in creative projects.
  • A focus on heritage and the rich fund of creative possibilities that it offers.
  • Issues around sense of place, destination and local identity.

How to Apply

If this sounds like you, we would love to hear from you.

Please apply, using our standard job application form (downloadable from our website) to highlight your most relevant experience and your reasons for wanting to work with MPA.  You should attach an up to date CV, and a covering letter if you wish.  Please submit by email only to:

Please submit your application by Friday 30 August.  There is no formal timetable for recruitment, but we aim to act without delay.  We will acknowledge all applicants.  If you are shortlisted, we will invite you for interview as soon as can be arranged.

To find out more about us and our projects look at our website, Facebook page and Vimeo channel.  If you have any questions about our work or this opportunity, please contact Melanie Diggle, MPA Finance & Admin Director, as above, or on 01282 421986.

More Arts Awards – Our Reviews

Young people involved in our Lost Legends project have been experiencing art, most recently by exploring a sculpture trail. Here are their more detailed reviews of their experience as arts audience members. To help them achieve their Bronze Arts Awards please leave a comment about their reviews below.

Emily Brown:

The event was a Pendle Sculpture trail at Aitkin Wood. The artform was Sculpture. The pieces were made by a number of local artists, the main artist was Philippe Handford. The art trail displayed was made from natural materials in the wood.

I went to this event to gain more information about the Pendle Witches for our project. Some sculptures linked with stories of the Pendle Witches. I liked how the sculpture trail was outside linking with the natural materials the art was made from. I especially liked the sculptures of the falling tree as something good was  made from something useless. I didn’t like how the trail wasn’t very accessible and how some sculptures didn’t relate with our project of the Pendle Witches.

I would recommend this sculpture trail to others because the experience is very different as the art work is made naturally and displayed outside. However some people may not prefer this.

From this experience I have learnt how art can be made from something as simple as tress. I have learnt that people actually make these outdoor sculpture trails.


Franscesca Tomlinson

(I went to) Pendle Sculpture Trail at Aitkin Wood. It was a trail up a hill that included lots of pieces of art made from natural materials. Lots of different artists created them and the main one was Philippe Handford.

I am doing a project on the Pendle Witches and wanted to see if the sculptures showed us more about the witches. I liked to see how much effort people had put in, especially in the sculpture of a made made from a tree bark, because of how detailed it was. I also liked how it was made from natural materials.

I didn’t think the trail was very accessible and it was hard to understand what some of them meant. I also thought eh sculptures were quite dull and could have been better with colour. I would recommend this trail to others if it was a nice day because the sculptures were very raw and natural. However I don’t think it suits everyone.

I learnt that lots of different sculptures and pieces of art can be made from such simple materials that create something with much more meaning than they did in their original form.


Georgina Ward

(The event involved a) talk about the sculpture trail of the Pendle Witches. (I went to this event) to get a better background knowledge of the Pendle Witches). The sculpture trail included many interesting pieces. I particularly like how the bats were hidden in the tress and also the fallen trees. (It was) a little difficult to understand some aspects of the sculpture trail such as the wall. I would (recommend it to others) because it is very interesting and a good day out.

(I learnt) how other people interpret their different views of the Pendle Witches into art. 


Frank Metcalfe

We went to Pendle Sculpture Trail which is in Aitkin Wood. We walked around and looked at artwork by Philippe Handford. The theme is the Pendle Witches. (I went to the event) because I was interested in viewing the artwork of Philippe Handford and exploring the sculpture trail. I did not enjoy the sculpture trail because although good, I didn’t see how the artwork was relevant to the witches and it was quite dull. I enjoyed walking and exploring the woods and liked learning about being a sculpturist. The artwork was very complex and was hard to understand the relevance to the Pendle Witches. I learned about Philippe’s work as an artist and that you could make a career out of sculpture work, which I didn’t know before.


Erin Porter-Brown

We walked around a trail and saw different artwork / sculptures. I went to this event to learn more about the Pendle Witches. (I liked) the different sculptures because they were interesting. (I didn’t like) the weather (and I felt Philippe) didn’t explain it properly. I would recommend it to others because it was really fun and you can learn a lot. I learned lots about the Pendle Witches.


Jodie Walsh

Pendle Sculpture Trail was at Aitkin Wood. Philippe Handford took us around and explained the many art sculptures to us. Many artists were involved in these sculptures. I went to this event because we are doing a ‘Pendle Witches’ project and during this project we wanted to find out more about the stories and how these sculptures showed us more about the witches.  I liked the fact that the sculptures were all outdoors because it gave the art a ‘natural’ feel. I also liked many of the sculptures because they were interesting and different. I didn’t like the fact that some of the art was quite hard to understand because it was very different, also it was not very accessible since it was outside. I would recommend it to other because it was very interesting, especially because someone explained it to us and I felt I learnt a lot. I learnt that the different ways we can make sculptures and how the sculptures tie in with Pendle Witches.


Georgia Robinson

We went on an art sculpture trail, and walked around the woods of Pendle, looking at naturally made objects made by Philippe Handford. (I went to this event) to learn more about the Pendle Witches and visit the area that all of the things occurred in. There was a range in art things. I liked the sculptures which were made naturally out of resources like trees and metal. (I didn’t like) the weather and atmosphere, also I didn’t understand the explanations behind the sculptures. I would (recommend it to others) because then people in the area could learn more about the Pendle Witches and look at the sculptures. I learned more about the Pendle Witches.

Melissa Gaffey

I went to see the Lion King, the artform was theatres. I want to watch the Lion King with my family. (I went to this event) because it was a great experience and I liked the film. (I liked) the animals, the acting, the experience (and that) I knew the story. I didn’t like the long drive. I would recommend it to other people because it is a great experience for families to watch.


Keiran McGaney

We were viewing sculpture that Philippe Handford had made out of natural materials. We went to the event to learn more about the Pendle Witches. I liked it because I learned about the sculptures and I spent the day with my friends. I could not understand the story behind the artwork (but) I would recommend it to keen walker or people who like history. I learnt more about the Pendle Witches.


Louis  Barrett

We walked around Aitken Wood following the Pendle Sculpture Trail. We were given an audio tour from artist Philippe Handford. Its theme was the Pendle Witches. I went to this event because I was very interested to explore the trail. I found it easy to relate to the witches’ story. I liked talking to Philippe and learning about his job and things. Also exploring the artwork and realising how much time went in to making it. I didn’t like the boggy footpath and bad weather. Also I did not like the duration of the tour as it dragged on and got boring. I would recommend it as it was helpful to understand the witches’ story. I learnt more about the witches’ lifestyle and what they did in their life.

Abi Robinson

(I took part in) viewing all of the sculptures that Philippe Handford had made from natural materials. I went to learn more about the Pendle Witches. I liked the creativity and how he made all the sculptures from natural materials. I didn’t like how I couldn’t understand the story behind the artwork. I would recommend this artwork to people who enjoy walking and have an interested in history and art. I learnt more about the Pendle Witches and how different sculptures can be made from natural materials.

Sarah Gullfoyle

We went on a sculpture trail at Aitkin Wood. The artist Philippe Handford led us along the trail explaining his artwork. I went to this event because it was linked to the Pendle Witches project we are working on. I was very natural, all the materials were tree-based after being cut down. All the art being at different heights made it interesting. It wasn’t very accessible or easy to walk around in difficult conditions. I couldn’t really see a link to the Pendle Witches. I would recommend it on a nice day because it was a nice walk and the art was quite eye-catching. I learnt that you can make beautiful and inspiring art out of natural materials.


Olivia Peccerillo

We followed a sculpture trail around Aitkin Wood, and the tour guide was Philippe Handford. He was the artist who made the sculptures, and he explained what they meant. We were involved in a Pendle Witch project and we were going to get more information about the Pendle Witches. I liked the fact that the art was at different heights and different sizes. The location linked to the story about Pendle Witches plus it was a very natural feeling because it was outside in the woods.

I didn’t understand the art, the tour guide and the art didn’t really link to the Pendle Witches. It didn’t involve much about the witches. I would recommend this to others if it was a nicer day, but we did manage to enjoy it even though the weather was bad, which means it would be more enjoyable in better weather. (I learnt) that art could be portrayed in different ways and that artists could use locally sourced materials to create the sculptures. Also that the artists could be paid for doing this.


Catherine Burns

We followed a sculpture trail through Aitken Wood and Philippe Handford, the artist who made the sculptures, explained their meaning to us. We were involved in a project about the Pendle Witches and were learning more about the story and local beliefs about it. I liked the fact that the sculptures were different sizes and some were partly concealed up in the trees. The fact that it was outdoors gave it a natural mood, especially as the location fit in with the Pendle Witches. The art wasn’t very accessible and it was hard to see how some of the pieces linked to the witches. I would (recommend it to others) because we managed to enjoy it even though the weather was bad, which means in good weather it would probably be more enjoyable. (I learnt) that artists can use locally sourced materials to create sculptures that follow a theme, creating pieces of art work for people to interpret themselves about the witches.

Liberty Apricot Turner

(I enjoyed) walking around the wood in the outdoors and observing the learning about different sculptures made by Philippe Handford inspired by the Pendle Witches trail and story. (I went to this event) because I wanted to learn more about the Pendle Witches and also to learn about art. I enjoyed looking at the sculpture of the falling tree as it was creative and made from natural materials. I didn’t like how some sculptures were hard to understand because I like art that tells a story and is interesting. I would recommend it to keen walkers or families as it is a pretty walk and are interested in history. I learnt that art can come from basically anything since before I associated art with paper and pain, now I know it can be more – just basic materials.


Jack Harbour

We walked around Pendle Sculpture Trail. Philippe Handford gave us a tour of the trail. It was in Aitkin Wood and its theme was the Pendle Witches. I went to this event because I was very interested by the artwork was quite hard to understand. I liked some of the artwork because it was really cool. Some of the art was hard to understand and wasn’t relevant. I would recommend it but not all the art. I learnt that the council would pay Philippe to go into the woods and do that sort of thing.


Stephanie Warrington

I went to the Paper Cut Exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. There was a mixture of art ranging from sculptures like a motorbike and paper like maps made of money. I went to this event because it links to the projects we were doing in class. I liked the life-sized sculptures, different types of art and a man that was made only from books hanging from the ceiling. Some of the paper art were more obscure / difficult to understand. I would recommend it to others because it would appeal to a wide range of people.