A group of year 6 pupils from Holy Trinity Junior School have been using their lockdown experiences to empathise with how Victorian children might have felt as child inmates at Ripon Workhouse.
The group have been working towards their Bronze Arts Awards with staff at Ripon Museums, poet and Ripon Poetry Festival founder, Andy Croft and animator, Dawn Feather. The team were able to share the heritage of the place and really bring it alive so the pupils could imagine themselves in the shoes of poor and desperate Victorian children entering the workhouse.
They wrote poems under the titles Dread, Fear, Grief and Nothing. They recorded these as spoken word, captured sound effects to go alongside the poems and made their own chalk drawing animations that were presented as powerful audio-visual pieces.
Carrie Philip, Ripon Museum’s Learning & Outreach Manager commented: “It became clear that the fear and uncertainty the children had experienced during the past two years of Covid 19 helped them to identify with child inmates in the Victorian workhouse. They produced beautiful and compelling pieces of creative writing as an emotional response to experiencing the workhouse. They should be immensely proud of their achievements.”
52 pupils from Holy Trinity Junior School were awarded their Bronze Arts Award with feedback praising their excellent animated spoken poetry. The experience went beyond the immediate task at hand and will hopefully inspire the group to explore other creative endeavours. One pupil said: “I learnt how to make an animation which helped open up more creative ideas.”
Holy Trinity headteacher Mr Paul Bowlas said: “Holy Trinity were thrilled to work in conjunction with Ripon Museums to provide a broad and creative experience for the children of our school. Working together on the Arts Award provided a much-needed experience which not only helped children educationally but was also very good for their health and wellbeing.”