Earlier this month, Andrew Howe and Jill Impey of Participate Contemporary Artspace completed two enjoyable days of Cinderloo project work with some highly motivated and talented Year 5 and Year 6 pupils at Queenswood Primary School in Ketley Bank.
On the first day, the pupils heard about the Cinderloo story and its links with the landscape and people of today, before some timeline activities to put the events in historical context. The children also had a chance to handle and look closely at some of the raw materials from the industries of the time, like coal, iron ore and slag. They watched a short film which introduced some of the ideas linking the landscape and history of Cinderloo.
The group then went on a walk to investigate historical features evident today. The school lies very close to where the Cinderloo Riot took place on what is now the Forge Retail Park. The landscape has changed dramatically from industrial waste lands to retail park, parkland and thick woodlands. The children were amazed to see a photograph of their school taken in 1965 before the M54 was built.
Everyone gathered plant materials which were used in a drawing activity in the afternoon. They also studied old and new maps of the area to trace the route they walked and identify some of the historical features they had seen.
The first day concluded with some fabulous collage making in which the children expressed what they had learnt in many different ways. Here are just a few examples:
On the second visit, the children took part in some film-making of their own. Firstly developing some scripts for role play scenarios from the events of Cinderloo and then using ipads to record and edit short videos. These ranged from contemporary style outside TV broadcasts to studio interviews with some of the key people involved. We were so impressed with the technical skills of these 10 year olds, very little guidance needed from us!
The class participated in a structured debate with a compere and panel of judges, complete with newspaper wigs, the making and wearing of which was one of the highlights of the day! Finally, the class presented their films to the whole school in an assembly.
It was fantastic to see how the students were so inspired by the historical events of Cinderloo, local mining and industrial heritage, and how they made new connections to the landscape where they live. We are already looking forward to working with four more schools booked in for Cinderloo projects in the Autumn Term.
This work is supported by funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England.