Moors, Mines, Making, Moulding, Manufacturing and Mission

The members of the Year 9 Athenaeum returned from the inaugural residential scholarship visit to West Yorkshire last week. The aim of the scholarship programme at Eltham College is to think across and beyond subjects to stimulate the students curiosity and imagination; something the West Yorkshire trip definitely accomplished.

Beginning at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park students examined the works of well-known artists such as Moore, Hepworth Caro and Ai Weiwei, but also the work of sculptors such as Kimsooja and Marialuisa Tadei, the latter who began working in the 1990s and whose mosaic octopus fascinated the students.  Students then turned their own hands to practical activities to create sculptors using both clay, twigs, earth and grass.

The following day students visited the Royal Armouries in Leeds with a viewing of an adjacent lock and then Wakefield for the
underground tour of the Yorkshire Mining Museum. The tours led by ex-miners provided many insights for the students into the technical and physical challenges of mining, the issues around child labour and the importance of coal.  The exhibition above ground told the social history of mining and its relatively recent demise. Students explored topics about banners, galas, and Trade Unionism.

In the afternoon the group explored the model village of Saltaire and looked at the wide variety of provision laid on for the mill workers by Sir Titus Salt: houses, educational institutes, a dining hall, a Church, a village Hall and a Park! Students discussed philanthropy, paternalism and after examining Sir Titus’ statue, discussed how things are commemorated.

On the last morning the group explored the Bronte Parsonage and then had a guided tour of Howarth with a walk onto the moors, with views across the Worth Valley. Building on work done about the importance of landscape in the novels of the Bronte sisters, the students considered the importance of understanding the biographies of authors in order to appreciate their work.

A wonderful trip with so much included in a short visit due to the work done by teachers in preparatory sessions before the visit.