Did you know that certain plants can only be pollinated by bees? One of which, I believe, is the fabulous apple tree! Artificial pollination was found to be unsuccessful and bees are considered to be – the bees knees!
There have been LOTS of things happening at the Potting Shed recently – hence why the blog has been quiet the last few weeks. Here’s the buzz on what’s happening currently:
- The project is in its final phase, but shows no sign of slowing down! Somerstown Museum is part of this: a temporary exhibition in an empty shop in St James Road, just off Winston Churchill Avenue. A preview evening will be on Thurs 19th July and the museum will be open to the public Fri 20th – Sun 22nd July. It’s being run by those talented chaps at NebMedia: http://www.nebweb.co.uk/ More info to follow.
- In addition there is a final exhibition taking place at Central Library in early July which will promote the Somerstown Archive which will be held and managed by the City Museum and Records Office. There are also plans to produce a book documenting the story of Somerstown and the project itself.
- Year 9 students from Charter Academy and Priory School are taking part in a specially designed charette led by Post-Grad Architecture students from the University of Portsmouth, who will be sharing their knowledge and skills on Somerstown. The School of Architecture students have been focussing on Somerstown this year in their studies, redesigning significant elements of the area and some key buildings.
- UK Community Summit – linked to Somerstown Stories, I’ve been invited to attend the first UK Community Partner Summit, which aims to build resilience and strengthen relationships between universities and community partners: http://www.publicengagement.ac.uk/news-and-events/events/uk-community-partner-summit-0
Beyond Somerstown Stories, there are other interesting and intriguing things happening:
- Storytelling Club – this is a five week project running at Stamshaw Infants school. By the end of the project the children will have explored freeze-framing, storyboarding, and used Story Pegs and Story Cubes http://www.storycubes.com/
- Interpretor/Demonstrator at D-Day Museum – working with children to understand and explore the significance of the D-Day landings, using the Overlord Embroidery and artefacts from the period. Enjoyable, engaging, sobering and thought-provoking, I’m enjoying the work there and the chance to inflict my feeble French on some very patient teachers and students from Caen!
There are other potential projects in the pipeline, but I’m always interested in hearing ideas for new pieces of work, so if you’ve got an idea, drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call on: 07986-674709
The first drop-in exhibition/workshop event took place on Tuesday last week at the Omega Centre. We didn’t have high numbers, but those who did come along had some interesting stories to tell about their own experiences of Somerstown. I was able to interview someone during the event, and have arranged interviews with others to document their stories. This phase of the project will naturally include gathering (and transcribing) some oral history interviews which is, I believe, where the real treasure will lie.
This was followed in the evening by an archive film screening of Portsmouth, hosted by Portsmouth Film Society http://www.portsmouthfilmsociety.org.uk/ using footage that is in the care of the Wessex Film Archive http://www3.hants.gov.uk/wfsa.htm
Meanwhile the Somerstown Stories website, also includes details about the great work that took place at Somers Park Primary School in the Autumn term last year, when the teachers and children were engaged in their part of the project: http://www.somerstown-stories.org.uk/?page_id=100
Overall the project is now in its wider community phase, and local people are getting the chance to go on the same journey of exploration. As I start to gather oral history accounts from local people, these along with the photographs and maps will be catalogued and collated into the Somerstown Archive which will be held and managed by the Local History Centre: http://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/learning/15605.html
This means that the conversations that are being started now can continue after the project has finished, and the material will be available for other people to access and add to.
Part of this second phase series of events includes a creative workshop being led by two local artists: Jane Kilford http://www.janekilford.com/ and Julie Graves http://www.artwanted.com/artist.cfm?ArtID=5843 who are also planning to do some preliminary work with the children at Somers Park, inviting them and their families to bring an object from the past into school to share with others and to use as a prompt for telling their own story of Somerstown.
Meanwhile, Julie has enabled me to make a link with the University of Portsmouth’s School of Architecture http://www.port.ac.uk/departments/academic/architecture/. Her husband Francis is an architect and senior lecturer and his current cohort of students are engaged in a project whose theme is the redesign of Somerstown and some of the key buildings within it, including the churches of St Luke’s and St Peter’s. This is a beautiful overlap for me, and so I was able to attend the students mid-term review on Thursday of last week and see and hear first-hand their ideas and visions for the area. It was fascinating to see an area I’m so familiar with through someone else’s eyes. Francis has kindly invited me back to speak to the group about the Somerstown Stories project and share some of the resources I’ve found and what I’ve learnt so far. I was impressed with the breadth and depth they are required to consider and include in their planning and I’m looking forward to teaching and learning more about Somerstown with them.