Heritage Days

On the 12th and 13th September to coincide with the national Heritage Days Digability held its own mini festival. We wanted to show students how archaeology can inspire other subjects as well as those relating to history. We had Giovanna Fregni come and build a furnace with three of our students the day before. They learnt how to prepare the clay lining with straw, clay and water and to dry out the clay we lit a small fire over which we cooked our lunch.


On Friday groups from Athersley, Catcliffe and Rotherham attended to take part in metal casting, plate making,  bones analysis and grave yard recording and painting. We also had a poet on hand to help the students write a poem.

The original  poem as constructed in under and hour on the day:

Graham made a dark white plate

when he rolled the clay his shoulders

felt like rowing a boat

Mandy’s favourite bone is white,

it’s a foot bone, and a coccyx is for sitting on.

Josie likes fingerbones, they are long

all the way to your wrist, then your elbow

Our bones go all the way from the skull

down to our skeletoes

David found David on a grave

Graham rubbed with a crayon where

people died

Tony rubbed in orange, his favourite colour

Paul rolled out a round plain plate,

and that made him feel nice.


This is the version tweaked by Fay, our poet.


Bone Ceramic Stone


Paul rolled out a round plain plate,

Graham’s is dark white.

His shoulders, when he rolled the clay,

felt like rowing a boat.


David found David on a grave.

Graham rubbed a crayon where people died

and Tony rubbed in orange, his favourite colour.


Josie likes fingerbones, they are long

all the way to your wrist, and on to your elbow.

Mandy’s favourite is a white foot bone,

a coccyx is for sitting on, and our bones go

from our skulls down to our skeletoes.


Let us know which you like best.


On the Saturday there was the opportunity to take part in analyzing Flints, to make a mosaic and take part in a High Street Walk in Attercliffe led by Sarah Holland.

The two days were a great way to celebrate the project. Students dropped in and took part and helped each other with the activities. Staff were able to meet each other and swap ideas, sharing each others expertise and looking at how skills could be shared across the curriculum areas.


Heritage Open Days

Digability is in the final few weeks of the project but there is still time for students to get involved in their local heritage. Look out for events happening in your area over the weekend of September 11-14th. Events are usually free but please check each site for details. You may need to book.


http://tinyurl.com/letsgl9 – South Yorkshire

http://tinyurl.com/lwpkbdg – West Yorkshire

http://tinyurl.com/mp88g9z – North Yorkshire

For those students in South Yorkshire you may also want to check  out South Yorkshire through Time. http://www.southyorkshirethroughtime.org.uk/ This new website funded by HLF  aims to be a hub where people can find out about heritage that is happening across the county from local groups to projects. The official launch of the site is on the 20th September at Experience Barnsley.

Have fun exploring your heritage!

For those of you that dug at Castleton the report on what was found is now ready to view here: Archaeological_dig_2014(1)

Digability Celebration Event York

On the 18th July, students, staff, partners and volunteers came together to celebrate the WEA Inclusive Archaeology Education project. The day began with a brief overview of the successes of the project: Collaboration, Creativity, Confidence Building and Comprehension. Nicola and Victoria talked about the importance of inspiring people to become engaged with their local heritage and how as the project progressed tutors had shown many creative ways to help students improve their comprehension of the subject through art activities, visits and discussions. They also talked about how the project would not have been possible without the amazing support of heritage bodies, groups, archaeologists and care providers and thanked them all for accompanying them of the amazing journey over the past three years.

As students started to arrive attendees were able to see many of the fabulous activities students had been able to be a part of. The High Street Showcase showed all who attended the range of activities that could be derived from looking at their local hight street be it a desk based survey for the most able  to eye spy date stones for those just starting out in discovering their local heritage.

After lunch we heard from the students. How the course had inspired them to find out more about their local history and to join other local groups. How it helped them make new friends and how it had provided a safe space for them to think and try new activities. One student spoke of how it had helped him become more confident in using public transport as he had had to give up his car. He had discovered how to get a bus pass through talking to others in his group. A deaf student, spoke of the freedom he and the rest of the group had experienced in discussing heritage in their own language BSL and how they had been able to help each other because of this. All the testimonials were moving and showed how ‘Digability’ meant much more than just learning about the archaeology and the past to many of the students involved.

Our volunteers also spoke. Norma spoke movingly of her experience of overcoming her barriers to learning to becoming a classroom volunteer to help others and how much confidence the project had given her. Katie spoke of how the experience she gained from the project led her to  getting her job as a Disability Officier, and Gordon spoke of how he had enjoyed the experience of passing on his knowledge to others.

To highlight all that had been learnt participants then did an activity based around 3 pictures, a woodland, an abbey and a castle. All were asked what would they like to know, how could they find out and what activities could be done at such as site. There was a real buzz in the room as everyone joined together to share their experiences. The results of which can be found here.

The day ended with thanks to everyone who had been involved in the project.

Students write about their experiences

As the project draws to an end we have received some amazing reports about courses by the students. Over the next few days, as we run up to our celebration on the 18th of July in York , I will be uploading these to our  Student Experience   page.  These stories more than anything else show the impact this project has had and the diversity of the experiences students have been offered.

Enjoy reading them.


Adult Learners Week

The project was shortlisted for the best community project award for Adult Learners Week. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the last three.

EmCett Grant allows us to assess impact of heritage sites and cultural venues

We have just been awarded an Emcett grant to look at the impact of using Cultural venues and Heritage Sites as part of out course. What do the students and tutors gain from going on visits? Do they get more than just achieving the learning outcomes? How can we help tutors make trips better?

If you have taken part in one of our visits please could you complete the appropriate survey below.


For Students


For Tutors

For Heritage Professionals at venues


Members of the Public – how does visiting a cultural venue impact on you ( have you visited as part of an educational group ( not WEA) or by your self.


If you are a tutor who does not currently use ‘cultural’ venues such as museums, historic sites or even your church and local high Street. Could you complete the survey below.



Many Thanks

Taster Sessions for Deaf Course.


Taster Sessions:

Sheffield: Tuesday 4th February 3-5pm at VAS the Circle Rockingham Lane Sheffield

Doncaster:  11th February 9.30-11.30, Central Library, Doncaster

For more details contact Victoria at