Schools from across Bury have been meeting at The Met to write brand new songs about their town.
The exciting creative process has been bringing together children who wouldn’t normally spend time with each other and encouraging them to find similarities and shared experiences.
The Schools Linking Programme, developed by the Linking Network, supports schools and communities to develop a positive, cohesive ethos by helping children, young people and adults to explore identity, celebrate diversity, promote community and champion equality. This innovative programme has been welcomed to Bury by the local Curriculum & Language Access Service who chose The Met as a venue and creative partner.
Harriet Morgan-Shami, Outreach Manager at The Met, explains more about delivering the project and what the children experienced.
Since the start of the year we have invited 10 primary schools from across the borough to partner up and meet each other for the first time here at The Met, right in the heart of our community.
The Met saw the programme as a great opportunity to showcase the power and versatility of folk music to tell universal stories that bind us together in a shared identity. To bring this idea to life we asked David Brookhouse and his team from Lancashire Heritage Learning to deliver their successful song writing workshops with the children participating in the programme.
From January to March we saw a series of five workshops take place in The Box studio theatre at The Met. Two classes of Year 3-5 children, one from each school, would arrive every Wednesday to play creative games, talk about Bury landmarks and start exploring local histories and experiences that continue to shape people’s lives.
When asked what was important to them about their home town, the children mentioned a range of places and people from Bury Market and East Lancs Railway to Robert Peel and the Shakers.
Workshop leaders, David and John facilitated the children to translate their feelings about Bury into song lyrics to the tune of a well-known folk song. After working with each other to rehearse their song our Edwin Street Studio manager, Phil Bulleyment, recorded the children singing their piece. The five songs produced over the last few weeks will be shared with all ten schools as a record of the children’s achievements during the workshop and the experience of meeting each other and working together for the first time.
“Seeing the children grow in confidence and form new friendships has been really exciting for everyone involved. For The Met, it has been particularly rewarding to see how music can support people to share community stories and find opportunities to tell new ones.
The storytelling nature of folk music has proven to be a great genre through which to bring children from a diverse range of backgrounds together, be creative and form new bonds.”
Session leader leader David Brookhouse said “It’s been a really rewarding session to deliver; a lot of learning outcomes for a lot of children and a lot of fun; they’re going away with their music…(and) through getting these children to link with each other, their sense of place and identity and what it means to them. Hopefully The Met is part of that now.”
Watch a short video interview with facilitators David Brookhouse and John Meredith about the project below, or to find out more about The Met’s outreach work, including how we can help house and facilitate projects, contact Harriet Morgan-Shami at firstname.lastname@example.org.