Archive for the ‘Public event’ Category

Chester Civic Trust – our project honoured!

18 February 2014

On Wednesday 12th February, Sue Hughes represented our ‘Discover Medieval Chester’ project at the Chester Civic Trust New Year Honours 2014 event at Bishop Lloyd’s Palace, Chester. Chester Civic Trust works to support the protection and enhancement of the urban environment of Chester, including issues such as planning, development, conservation and regeneration.

Our ‘Discover Medieval Chester’ website was given a commended award, and we’re delighted that our project has been recognised in this way. The Trust explained to us that this is the first time they have recognised a website – we feel it’s particularly significant that this award shows that virtual resources can be as important to the understanding, appreciation and enhancement of a place as material development or the addition of physical interpretation on site.

Thank you again to the Chester Civic Trust for supporting us with this award.

Bishop Lloyd's Palace

Bishop Lloyd’s Palace

Over 3 million hits!

12 November 2013

We’ve just done a bit of number crunching for our two Medieval Chester websites (Mapping Medieval Chester and Discover Medieval Chester) and can share the news that they have had well over 3 million (3,000,000) hits by web users (not counting any automated search engine requests, etc.).

Thank you to everyone who has visited our websites. It’s really great when we hear back from you, so please do get in touch to let us know how you’ve used our resources, and to give us your feedback on the materials here.


Events and activities at the Grosvenor Museum

31 July 2013

An extensive programme of events and activities linked to our ‘Discover a Medieval City’ exhibition is now running, led by the Grosvenor Museum. Keith Lilley, Paul Vetch and I were in Chester last week to be involved in some of these events. On the morning of Thursday 25 July, Keith, together with Gareth Dean, led a ‘Mapping Workshop’, which gave participants the opportunity to explore historic maps of Chester and some of the techniques used to produce our digital atlas of the city – from traditional paper tracing to the digital technologies of GIS mapping. In the afternoon, Keith, Sue Hughes (Grosvenor Museum), Paul and I led a walking tour of the city, stopping at various sites to talk about the medieval cityscape, read extracts from the medieval texts, give accounts of real medieval people associated with the place, and show objects in the museum’s collection from that location. We also unveiled our ‘mobile friendly’ version of the website, which allows you to follow your route through the city using GPS tracking and explore the medieval places near to you (more on that soon). In the evening, I gave a lecture on ‘Bringing the Past to Life’, exploring the tradition of bringing history to life in Chester over several centuries, and how our use of new tools and technologies is another step in this process. Thank you to everyone who got involved, asked interesting questions and shared their own insights. Many more events were held over the weekend – see this full-page coverage from the Entertainment Guide in the Chester Chronicle:

Chester Chronicle July 2013

‘Discover a Medieval City’ launch

9 May 2013

Our new exhibition ‘Discover a Medieval City: Places, Voices, Journeys’ launched at Chester’s Grosvenor Museum with an evening event on Friday 3 May. Over 100 people attended, including representatives from local government and heritage / tourism organisations and Arts Council England (who funded the amazing 3D films of medieval objects in the exhibition – they really have to be seen!).

It was really exciting to see the exhibition come together. The number of objects on display from the Museum collections (which have normally been hidden away in archives) is astonishing. There’s also a range of wonderful medieval manuscripts, loaned from Chester cathedral, Chester Record Office and the National Library of Wales (the manuscripts had been gathered together for sending just before the terrible fire there). The exhibition also has a range of interactive content, from audio and video materials to those 3D films of medieval objects, kiosks with access to the ‘Discover Medieval Chester’ website, and a large map with doors to open and explore. The calligraphic interpretations of poems by modern writers, responding to the medieval material, are really beautiful, and the exhibition is laid out as a series of spaces – cloister, tavern, kitchen – which allow you to explore different aspects of city life. We will add a gallery of exhibition images to the ‘Discover Medieval Chester’ website very soon.

Thank you again to Sue Hughes and her team at the Grosvenor Museum for bringing together this wonderful exhibition. It has been a privilege to be involved.

The project team (Keith, Catherine, Paul and Sue) with a kiosk at the exhibition

The project team (Keith, Catherine, Paul and Sue) with a kiosk at the exhibition

Project work in London

24 January 2013

15th century St Christopher ring

Last week, the ‘Discover Medieval Chester’ project team got together at King’s College, London, to produce the audio recordings for the interactive tour content on our website. It’s great to see our work coming together, and we’re looking forward to launching the complete ‘Discover Medieval Chester’ web resource at the beginning of May 2013. We also all managed to get home – to Belfast, Cheshire and the south coast – before the snow set in!

While we were in London, Sue Hughes, from the Grosvenor Museum, picked up a 15th-century ring from the British Museum, which will be displayed in our ‘Discover a Medieval City’ exhibition. Found in Huntington, Cheshire in 2010 (and probably another part of the deposit discovered in the 1986 Huntington Treasure Trove), this silver-gilt ring is engraved with an image of St Christopher, the patron saint of travellers. As well as the engraving, traces of white enamel are still visible on the side.

Sue and I enjoyed the privilege of holding this ring – now safely in the care of the Grosvenor Museum. The ‘Discover a Medieval City’ exhibition opens on 4 May, 2013. You can view the accompanying leaflet, with details of events and activities here.

Writers’ workshop discovers medieval Chester

26 October 2012

As part of the Discover Medieval Chester project, Sue Hughes and a team from the Grosvenor Museum have been working with local writers in and around Chester. Some recent activities have involved the ‘Write Stuff’ W.E.A. Creative Writers group – also known as the ‘Hoole-igans’, as that’s where they’re based. Through their work with the Museum, the group have been reflecting on Chester as a border city and the connections between medieval objects and experiences and their own today. Sue Hughes sends this report on the recent events:

The Museum Service attended the poetry group’s meeting on 3 October to introduce them to the themes of the Discover Medieval Chester programme.  Sue Hughes explained the thinking behind the exhibition; the concept of mapping the medieval city, the influence of the medieval texts, the various collections which would illustrate life in the city and how this relates to borders, both in the past and today.  Liz Royles then showed them a range of medieval objects from the collections including personal items such as jewellery and sewing needles, religious items such as pilgrim rattles and everyday items such as pots and jugs.

On 15 October the group arrived at the museum to meet Welsh poet Aled Evans.  He spoke to them about border poetry, read them some of  his own work and then allowed them some time to start creating their own writing.  The group then read out some of their draft ideas which were inspiring and included group leader Jan Bengree’s poem ‘The Women from Wales’.  Everyone is looking forward to the work being refined and being displayed as part of the exhibition in 2013.

Chester Literature Festival

26 October 2012

On Saturday 20 October, Catherine Clarke led two events as part of the Essar Chester Literature Festival. In the historic surroundings of St John’s Church, the talk on ‘Mapping Medieval Chester’ was attended by over 60 people, while the following workshop, ‘Discover Medieval Chester’, was fully booked with around 30 participants.

The talk gave insights into the project team’s research on Chester, with particular attention to the texts as medieval ‘literary guides’ to the city. In the workshop, participants had the opportunity to get ‘hands on’ with original sources (in facsimile), trying a bit of palaeography and historical detective work with the 12th-century manuscript of Lucian’s De Laude Cestrie and the early 16th-century printed book of Bradshaw’s Lilfe of St Werburge. Thanks to everyone for coming and getting so actively involved, and to the Chester Literature Festival team for organising the events.

Chester Literature Festival events

29 August 2012

Two events at the Essar Chester Literature Festival 2012 will be linked to Discover Medieval Chester and the research produced by the Mapping Medieval Chester project. Both are on Saturday 20 October. We would love you to join us to discuss some of the medieval texts and manuscripts relating to Chester, and to share some previews of the new Discover Medieval Chester multi-media resources. Places are limited and booking is essential.


‘Hryre’ St John’s artwork launch

26 March 2012

On Thursday 22nd March the permanent version of ‘Hryre’, the new artwork created by artist Nayan Kulkarni, launched at St John’s Church, Chester. The launch event, held at St John’s Church, began with a presentation by Catherine Clarke on ‘Ruins and fragments: illuminating St John’s, Chester’. After refreshments and medieval music, the event continued with short speeches from those who had been involved in the project, including Rev David Chesters, the rector of St John’s, Katherine West of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Magnus Theobald of ‘Chester Renaissance’, Catherine Clarke and, of course, the artist himself Nayan Kulkarni who introduced us to some of the technical complexities of the lighting commission, as well as the creative side. The photography competition prize was also awarded to Nick Price, who was there to receive his cheque (and to take plenty more photos of the new installation!). His wonderful picture is shown below.

The permanent new version of the artwork is stunning, incorporating more manuscript images and focusing on ideas of ruin, loss, memory and endurance. You can download the PDF interpretation guide here.

It was so exciting to see the final artwork emerge out of the darkness. It has been a privilege, and tremendously exciting, to be involved in this project and share our research on medieval Chester in such an innovative way. It was also great to see at the launch event so many of the people who have been involved with the art project over the past year, via workshops and consultation – your input definitely helped to shape the artwork into its final form.

Catherine and Nayan at the launch (photo David Heke)

Catherine and Nayan at the launch (photo David Heke)

Nick Price's winning photo

Medieval music events in Chester

1 March 2012

Our partners the Grosvenor Museum, Chester, have organised some exciting medieval-themed events in Chester for the coming months. On Saturday 16th June the ‘Minstrels’ Court’ will be held at St John’s Church (10.30am – 5pm). This event recreates a unique tradition in which medieval musicians would come to St John”s to be granted their licence to perform for the coming year. In the evening of June 16th, a ‘Medieval Music Makers’ concert will allow you to hear more medieval music. In the atmospheric setting of St John’s, you’ll discover medieval music as well as modern interpretations of historic tunes (£5, for booking information please click on the PDF link above).