Beneath our Feet

Queen’s Hall Arts were successful in securing an Everyday Heritage grant from Historic England alongside additional funding from Ray Wind Funds to work with all of the schools in the Haydon Bridge Partnership on a project called Beneath Our Feet...

Children and teachers chose four artists to collaborate with to unearth stories linked to the mining and quarrying heritage of the area, including lead, coal and mineral mines. This history is now nearly invisible within the rural landscape. We have explored the everyday lives of the workers and their families, as well as the impact of the industry on the region and beyond. 

Co-creation was at the heart of this project. This means that the pupils and staff had a voice in choosing the artists. When the artists and class were matched, the children and artists collaborated to create work that was meaningful to everyone. 

We asked each school to research the historically heavy industries in their area to find out about the people who worked there. In the first sessions, the children shared their research with the artist, and then through discussion, drawing, singing and drama workshops, the pupils began to co-create their artworks.

The aims of this project were...

For new generations to explore and know the working class heritage of our rural landscape. 

For children to have a deeper connection to their local heritage through the inspiration of real artists’ creative process. 

For teachers and pupils to gain experience in recruiting and working with professional artists.

"We loved taking part in the project. We aim to give our children a clear sense of their place in their community and the history that has shaped it. The children absolutely loved the workshops and were over the moon that so many members of the community came to our assembly where we played their audio recording for the first time. Our pupils have taken so much away from the project, both personally and academically."

Lee Ferris, Headteacher at Kielder Primary School

The artists who worked with the schools were...

Becky May is a visual artist based in Bardon Mill who works in ceramics, textiles and illustration. Becky worked with Allendale, Greenhead and Henshaw CofE Primary Schools.

Calum Howard is a music facilitator, songwriter and music producer. Calum worked with Greenhaugh, Whitfield and Wark Primary Schools. 

Robin Webb is an animation artist and digital filmmaker. Robin worked with Bellingham Middle and Primary, Shaftoe Trust Academy and Newbrough Primary School.

Zoe Connel is a theatre maker and facilitator who devised, wrote and recorded audio stories for this project. Zoe worked with Otterburn, Kielder and Greenhead Primary Schools.

Beneath Our Feet Exhibition

Open in Gallery Two 23 September - 11 November 2023, the Beneath Our Feet Exhibition is a celebratory display of the artwork created as part of this project.

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