19th century

Three more school visits

It’s been a busy fortnight here at SHARE with Schools! We’ve been out on trips to Cathays High, Woodlands High, and Michaelston Community College. Michaelston and Woodlands are part of the Ely and Caerau Federation, aka Westfed.

Volunteer coordinator Matt Vince on the Cathays visit:

Cathays visit – WW1 workshop

Last week myself, a handful of volunteers, and 40 secondary school pupils went on an adventure back in time. Back to the dreary times of World War 1 Cardiff. I must admit I was nervous. To me World War 1 is depressing – muddy boots, muddy bodies, and muddled tactics that caused both.

But through the workshop, and the stories of real life Cardiffians, World War 1 came to life before our eyes. The volunteers were absolutely incredible in this task, guiding the pupils through the artefacts in order to get at their underlying stories. From the Belgian ‘alien’ to the soldier on the Egyptian front, the pupils got to grips with the heritage of their area. Walking around the room and hearing stories from the pupil’s own families made this both incredibly relevant and exciting – tales of Grandfathers who were conscripted from Cathays where the school was, and Grandmothers who had shown the pupil’s letters from the front.

So a big thank you goes out to the volunteers who achieved this monumental task – bringing the past to life for the benefit of those in the present. It went so well that even the Ofsted inspector was impressed!

Thanks to:

  • Julia Rooke
  • Caitlin Fleming
  • Kieran Murphy
  • Clara Freer
  • Benjamin Dillon
  • Chris Parry

And coordinator Nick McDermot on the Woodlands trip:

On Tuesday SHARE with schools returned to Woodlands, to present 2 workshops. 19th Century Welsh life, thanks to artefacts provided by St Fagan’s natural history museum and Cardiff University conservation department. Also a unique workshop was presented by a group of students from Cardiff University’s Heritage and Communications module on Welsh myths and Legends.

Both workshops went very well and lead to some wonderful discussions of the difference between life in the 19th century and life today as well lots of artefact handling and examination.

A big thanks to the volunteers that made the day possible:

  • Charlotte Porter
  • Chris Parry
  • Daisy Atkins
  • Madeleine Moorcroft
  • Megan Keary
  • Alisha Chauhan

And finally a big thank you to Stephanie Hall and Caitlin Fleming who delivered at Michaelston yesterday with co-ordinators Kate Tinson and Kostas Trimmis and Dr Dave Wyatt. By all accounts it was an inspiring visit to Michaelston Community College in Ely, with 3 workshops delivered (2 x Life in 19th century Wales 1x Cardiff in WW1) to over 70 pupils in 3 hours. One of the school teachers said that “all the lessons seemed to go really well, the best I’ve seen our pupils engaged for a long time”! Here’s some images from the trip:

Guest post from volunteer Jon Cook

Jon Cook

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Training sessions were inventive and fun and helped us prepare for what was needed

My name is Jon Cook, a third year Religious Studies student. When I first heard about the program [SHARE with Schools] I knew it would help my future in ways of experience. Even though it was a little daunting at first because I was not doing a degree in archaeology or history but in religion, I took it as an opportunity to learn more myself and also enhance my public speaking skills.

I presented to a wide range of year groups in a few different schools spotted around Cardiff, presenting to different age groups was fun and different every time. I was involved in presenting a wide variety of workshops all teaching the history of Wales, such as The Romans in Wales, History of the Rhondda Cynon Taf and Wales in the First World War.

The training sessions were inventive and fun and helped us prepare for what was needed. The presentation was nerve wracking at first but once I was there helping kids learn about the past all fears diminished and if things went off track or pear shaped the post grad students were there to help as well.

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The presentation was nerve wracking at first but … helping kids learn about the past all fears diminished

All the kids were well mannered and enthusiastic, my favorite memory from the time giving the workshops is when I was at Cathays giving a presentation on the miners in South Wales and I managed to get a student engaged and interested in a subject that he previously was not.

I would recommend these workshops for everyone who wants to enhance their oratory and teaching skills but also for anyone who is interested in learning more about the subjects themselves as they are very informative. The only problem was that there wasn’t a workshop in my degree specific area. I have no doubt that this will help towards my future career plans and would love to thank everyone involved as it really has been a great experience.

Thanks to this week’s volunteers delivering at Fitzalan and Mountain Ash

A big thank you is well deserved for all of our volunteers this week. We saw some fantastic efforts from everyone involved, and were especially impressed by those participants who were delivering SHARE with Schools workshops for the first time.

Delivering Romans in Wales, Medieval Orders of Society and Life in the Nineteenth Century Cynon Valley at Mountain Ash Comprehensive School, Abercynon:

  • Kelsey Louise Clarke
  • Jacob Deacon
  • Chris Griffiths
  • Jon Langston
  • Ben Dillon

And delivering Who Wants to be a Museum Curator? and the brand new Archaeological Science workshops at the Eisteddfod at Fitzalan High School, Cardiff:

  • Beth Cox
  • Talia Brown
  • Liberty Vaz Townsend
  • Thomas Snook
  • Tom Allen
  • Rachael Mott
  • Katie Rees-Williams
  • Laura Rees
  • Jonathan Gilbert
  • Louise Morgan
  • Harriet Lomax
  • Elizabeth Nicholson

Well done and thank you one and all!

Here’s some pics from the Who Wants to be a Museum Curator? sessions at Fitzalan, showcasing some of the incredible work from the school pupils:

Volunteers talk about visiting Mountain Ash Comprehensive School

New volunteers Ben Dillon and Jacob Deacon talk to camera on the way to and from their first workshop deliveries at Mountain Ash Comprehensive School, Abercynon.

Both are students at the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University, and this is their first year participating in the SHARE with Schools outreach project. They discuss what they anticipate it will be like and then how they found their classroom experience.

Hit the CC button for subtitles if you find the audio a bit difficult.

Return visits 11-13 June 2014

We had a very exciting and busy week last week, hosting return visits by pupils from Mountain Ash Comprehensive, Blaengwawr High and Cathays High. In a packed schedule they had tours of the department’s archaeology and conservation labs, of the special historic book collection SCOLAR, and interactive Medieval, Roman and Nineteenth Century sessions, as well as academic roadshows. In addition, each school also got a fantastic interactive talk from a different member of the faculty: our great thanks to Drs. Kate Gilliver, Jenny Benham and Muhammad Mansour Ali who lectured on decimation in the Roman army, Medieval outlawry and Qur’anic studies.

Thanks also to Chris Parry, Anna Field, Maria Healy and Luca Hoare for your fantastic help assisting with sessions and leading groups of school children around. A special well done for not losing any of them!

Postgraduate coordinator Melissa Julian-Jones has a great write up, concentrating on her development of the Medieval session. She has some great images of stuff produced by the visiting school pupils and information about a great game that you can play at home or with your friends (or frenemies) based on a genuine Medieval game.

I’ll get some more images up as soon as some permissions are sorted out. We have just one more return visit, with pupils from Fitzalan High School, next month to round out a fantastic year. Our side jobs (the project is run entirely by students at Cardiff University with fulltime work to be getting on with) won’t end there though as you can see us getting involved with various public and schools engagement projects throughout the summer. Information on these will be posted nearer the time.

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