Carers head back to the classroom for WW1 project
OLDER carers have been back to the classroom in a £10,000 initiative to help pupils explore WW1 through the eyes of the war artists.
Working together the group of men and women have been taking part in creative lessons with Year 4 students from Corpus Christi RC Primary School.
Over the past month the group known as Carers’ Creative Activities has been creating artwork with the eight and nine-year-olds.
Supported by older people’s charity Equal Arts, the sessions saw the class working with artist Janie Banks to learn about WW1, what it means to leave home and the impact keepsakes can have.
Featuring paintings of family, medals, pets, teddies and blankets the children and carers created one large art mural which will be displayed at the school in Bensham, Gateshead.
Year 4 teacher Natalie Hudson said: “The children have been really enjoying the heritage sessions. Being able to speak to the carers group has helped make the project more personal to them and they’ve loved sharing their ideas and stories.”
Equal Arts artist Janie Banks added: "In the past those who went away during WW1 would take a locket of hair or a piece of jewellery. This project looked at the idea of keepsakes and how we can help children relate to something that happened years ago.
“This artwork expresses the things the carers and pupils feel are important to them.”
The project is the third school the carers’ group has worked with as part of their £10,000 project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund following visits to the Laing Art Gallery, The Durham Light Infantry Museum and the Imperial War Museum in London with art historian and heritage expert Niall Hodson.
The transgenerational initiative sees the group researching war artists at museums across the region and sharing their knowledge with pupils to create artwork in Gateshead schools.
Carers’ Creative Activities was set up in 2005 to support carers and former-carers living in the Gateshead area.
Veteran Jim Heppel joined two years ago, he said: “I’ve enjoyed working with the students. I think projects like this are a good way for us to listen to what children have to say but also for them to learn from our experiences. I joined the army when I was 18 before WW2 started and was able to bring in my medals from when I was in the Royal Engineers.”
The group is free to attend and meets every Wednesday between 10am and 12pm at venues across Gateshead.
To find out more ring 0191 477 5775, visit www.equalarts.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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