Category Archives: Todmorden Treat

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.

Celebrating Todmorden – St Joseph’s

Todmorden Town Council has generously supported the Todmorden Treat, a project to give each primary school an experience of working with the same artist or performer during the spring term.  We are grateful for their support again this year, which will allow artist Cath Ford to run a full day workshop at each school. Celebrating Todmorden will explore and communicate the unique characteristics, heritage, communities and geography of Todmorden.

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Each workshop will result in a series of A2 posters, inspired by vintage travel posters, which will celebrate Todmorden in the local area and promote it to people living outside the town.

As each workshop takes place we will share the posters on this blog.  First up are St Joseph’s RC Primary School. We think Mr Sutcliffe’s pupils came up with some beautiful posters. We would like to see the posters the schools create shared far and wide, so that the pupils can see their hard work, and the places that are important to them, being appreciated by the wider community.

Are you a group/organisation in Todmorden who would like to use them to promote the area and/or what you do?  If you would like Jpegs of the posters please get in touch by emailing Melanie.

“Both children and staff enjoyed the day and both learned some new skills.” Class teacher

“I didn’t know we could make art so good.” Pupil

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