On Wednesday 23rd October Digability welcomed a WEA class from Chesterfield led by Matt Beresford. The group are hoping to devise their own project around Hurst House, the WEA centre in Chesterfield. Matt had heard about Digability and thought our groups could inspire the direction the Chesterfield project might take. We began the day by outlining some of the activities Digability students undertake such as field visits, experimental archaeology, survey, recording and where possible excavation. Students from the Sheffield, Rotherham and Catcliffe group were on hand to share their experiences. Sean from the Sheffield group gave a superb, witty and moving account of his experience ( to read it click the link above).
We also heard from the Chesterfield group about their project and some of the activities they had done including a survey of Derbyshire’s top 5 museums.
In the afternoon all the students mixed to undertake some graveyard recording in Attercliffe cemetery . All the students worked fantastically together and shared experiences as they worked. At the end of the day we together again discuss our findings. Why were there so many deaths in 1913? How did people choose the symbols on the graves? As usual research leads to many more questions.
The day was a great forum for swapping ideas and experiences of archaeology and we are looking forward to a return visit next year to see how the Chesterfield project is progressing.
FINAL WEA COnference 2013 – click here for powerpoint used in conference workshop
Nicola Thorpe and Victoria Beauchamp presented a workshop at the WEA conference in Cambridge entitled Does Cultural Education matter?
We used the workshop to demonstrate the benefit the project has to all those who take part.
Students not only find out about their local heritage also they also report improvements in their health and wellbeing.
People at the conference were impressed with the way we value the fantastic volunteers we work with and how we are investing in training and supporting them so they can move on to further work within the WEA or use the skills learnt for other employment.
We also demonstrated the impact of the project on the archaeological world. Museums value our visits to try new activities and have reported that we can help them to meet valuable widening participation targets by encouraging our groups to visit. We are also encouraging the sustainability of the project by making links with local community projects so that groups can continue to explore archaeology and heritage after the courses finish.
Attendees of the workshop also got to try a timeline activity and a building recording exercise. This demonstrate how much these activities develop communication skills as much as archaeological knowledge and how activities can be easily adapted to meet different needs.
The session ended with a discussion about the project and does cultural education matter? It was great to hear stories of how WEA courses adapt to meet the needs of individuals and the benefits everyone can see of encouraging participation in cultural courses.
The workshop concluded matter cultural education does matter and investing in it returns many rewards to all who participate.
A new group has started at the Grange Interlink in Bradford. Louise Martin and Megan Clement from ASWYAS are working with the group. In their first week the group talked about what archaeologists do and had a look at some artefacts they might find. The group made some fantastic pictures. Have a look at the blog here.
Don’t forget to look at our Forum Site ( link in menu bar on the right). This month we are discussing how BAME communities engage with local archaeology and heritage int the UK. We would love to hear about your exciting projects.
We are trying something new this year on the project, running groups in the autumn. Two of the groups ( S2R and Pontefract) are combining field visits and classroom session in a 10 week block, the other (Catcliffe) will be investigating aspects of their local heritage this term and will be carrying out their fieldwork next March when they hope to join in some local archaeological surveys.
Look out for all their blogs on the website in the HUBS area.