Thank you for all your stories! The book has been printed, the playlist forwarded and everyone involved should be very, very proud of the result.
These visits at Maple Walk Primary School saw the premiere of two new developments. As it was the first time for OUR STORIES to be working with Year 6 children, it was decided to put them in charge of their own project entirely-from the way they would manage their time, find a story and collate any facts and material that could go into book, to typing up and editing their material and finally, presenting their piece to the class.
From the moment I started the conversation with the children, I got a sense that they had a lively and engaged relationship with their family elders and required little prompting in order to re-tell their stories, which was an excellent starting point. Nevertheless, on completion, many of them said, that through engaging with the project they had found out new things or that it had helped to re-kindle their interest in particular aspects of their family history.
On the last day at the school we traced the stories on a map of the world and discovered, as with most schools that OUR STORIES has visited here in London, the rich and varied heritage of the classroom, with stories weaving back and forth between England, Ireland, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, as well as Poland, Burma, Canada, Kurdistan,Georgia, Italy and Australia.
We were also very fortunate to have had a special visit from Rudy’s grandfather, who, as I am sure everyone would agree, could have entertained us all day with his stories if it hadn’t been for the small matter of the school curriculum. But Mrs Partridge was more than generous with the time she allowed us to run the project in and kudos to her for organising everything so expertly with the parents. Many thanks also to Mrs Romand for co-ordinating and welcoming us at the school. And special thanks to Finn’s mother Hannah for inviting me into their home in order to interview her mother Pamela, who provided us with a wealth of memories and stories.
Lastly, I am very excited to announce that we made our first foray into recording the children reading out their grandparent’s stories as well as some of their own reactions to the project. This would have not been possible without the enormous help of Rachel Shelley, local mother and radio producer (and actress!), who spent many hours editing all the clips and getting them to sound good. I, on the other hand discovered that I have a lot to learn still, especially when it comes to placing the zoom (also known as a microphone!) properly and get to grips with what to say and, most importantly, not to say ‘on’ and ‘off mic’.
I hope all parents received the link for the Soundcloud playlist on Soundcloud with all the children’s voices, reading their grandparent’s stories as well as some of their reactions to the project. In addition there is all the fantastic footage of Rudy’s Nono and Finn’s grandmother Pamela being interviewed about their lives.
The small profit that was raised by the margin from printing costs has been donated to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund on behalf of OUR STORIES.
Keep up the storytelling!