Archive for the ‘Workshop’ Category

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

‘The Women from Wales’

26 October 2012


Here’s a taste of the wonderful poetry which is being produced by the ‘Write Stuff’ W.E.A. Creative Writers group (the ‘Hoole-igans’), inspired by the Discover Medieval Chester project. At the workshop with the Grosvenor Museum, the group reflected on Chester’s status – both in the medieval period and today – as a border city. I’ve been asked to point out that Jan Bengree’s poem is still a work in progress – though it’s already so evocative and draws a wonderful connection between the relationships between Chester and Wales in the medieval period and in the twentieth century. I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you here.



The Women from Wales
by Jan Bengree

The women from Wales talk in secret words
which lift and lilt and speckle
the solemn brown air in dignified Browns Of Chester.*

drifting between tweedy coats, camel coats,
mackintoshes with prim tight belts,
demurely waiting……like Ebenezer women, dressed for chapel.

Then the women (the women from Wales)
waft into English…
whisper how brown suits Bronwen…
how green’s the colour of Gwenda’s pretty Welsh eyes…
how black has shades…
of coal, of night, of Nain’s weary beautiful old eyes….
And I stand by the coats and I watch the Welsh ladies

BUT THEN my mother says: “Come!”
and she beckons me on and she scurries me on…..
away from the women from Wales.

* Brown’s of Chester: a long-established department store, at its peak in the 1950s. Long visited by folk from Wales, particularly for shopping on Saturdays!

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.


St John’s artwork: launch and interpretation

10 October 2011

The first phase of our art installation at St John’s Church, Chester, is now complete. The first set of projections, produced by artist Nayan Kulkarni and his team, are now in place, illuminating the medieval ruins at St John’s with fragments of medieval texts which describe the city of Chester.

You can read about the projections and the content of the projected fragments in the interpretation leaflet here. (It’s also handy to print and take along with you if you’re going to the site.)

For the next four months Nayan and Catherine will be developing the permanent content of the artwork, in consultation with the community. The current projections are a means of testing the illuminations and providing a real experience that will form the basis for a number of workshops to be held in Chester. We’re also keen to hear your thoughts and ideas: the leaflet explains how to give us your feedback.

Photographs will be available here very soon.

Chester art workshop

24 September 2011

The first workshop linked to the development of our public art installation was held in the Chester Renaissance offices, Chester Visitor Centre, on Saturday 17 September. 19 local people responded to our invitation and joined Catherine Clarke (who’s leading the ‘Discover Medieval Chester’ project), the artist Nayan Kulkarni and other members of the artwork project team to discuss and develop ideas for the first, temporary lighting projections, to be sited at St John’s from early October 2011 until February 2012. The current phase of the project is funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council.

The public artwork will draw on the texts which we explored in our ‘Mapping Medieval Chester’ research, beaming words and fragments in light across the medieval ruins at St John’s Church, Chester. The workshop was an opportunity for us to identify possible text for the initial projections.


St John’s art installation: workshop and project launch

13 September 2011

Cheshire West and Chester Council have just published a Media Release announcing the new art project at St John’s and the workshop on September 17th. This Release includes further information about the project, the site for the artwork and the team involved. You can read the Media Release here.

Public art project – workshop invitation

12 September 2011

One particularly exciting aspect of the new ‘Discover Medieval Chester’ project is a public art element, based on the ‘Mapping Medieval Chester’ research. Sited at the medieval ruins at St John’s church, Chester, this artwork will take the form of a permanent lighting projection, visualising themes and details from our research in creative new ways. The first phase of this project, funded by Cheshire West and Chester authority, is already underway, and we’re inviting you to get involved.

Nayan Kulkarni (the commissioned artist) and Catherine Clarke (Mapping / Discover Medieval Chester) will lead a workshop in Chester on Saturday September 17th. The aim of this event is to explore possible themes and develop ideas for the artwork. If you’re interested in attending then see the full invitation here: booking is essential. We hope to see you then!