A Sense of Place

Bedlington Academy, Haydon Bridge High School, Prudhoe Community High School standing underneath the sycamore tree at Sycamore Gap in Northumberland.

The Education Outreach team teamed up with Historic England, Northumberland National Park, English Heritage and colleagues from the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts and the School of Fine Art to provide a unique educational experience for 90 Year 9 students from Northumberland.

With funding from Historic England we worked with Bedlington Academy, Haydon Bridge High School and Prudhoe Community High School to challenge Year 9 students to write a poem and create a piece of artwork inspired by our Bewick images held in our Special Collections and the majestic beauty of Northumberland National Park.

Each student enjoyed three days of activities…

Day One – Newcastle University

Firstly, the students visited the University Library where they studied the Bewick images held in Special Collections. Next, they walked across campus to the Percy Building where award winning published poet, Sinéad Morrissey delivered a lecture on poetry and Sense of Place. Finally, the students took part in a poetry workshop led by published poets and lecturers from Newcastle University.

“I liked to look at all the different books and materials. It gave me a lot of ideas about what to write”

“I learned how to form a poem through structure and developing a deeper meaning which otherwise I would have struggled with’”

“The poetry workshop helped me have new ideas and it made it easier to get creative and write poems”

Day Two – The Sill, Northumberland National Park

On the second day of the project the students travelled to The Sill where they spent the morning exploring artwork and poetry inspired by the landscape of Northumberland National Park. In the afternoon, a National Park Ranger led them on a walk to Sycamore Gap. On the walk, the ranger and an Education Officer from English Heritage talked to the students about the landscape, heritage, flora and fauna. Then students then took some time out to be inspired by their surroundings and to write poems and do some sketching, which they were able to take home to work on some more.

“It was really fun and I’ve left feeling inspired!”

“I really enjoyed it and the weather was good for the walk! I thought that the opportunity and freedom we had to make notes helped me with my finished piece”

“To walk around allowed me to explore the meanings of art and poetry related to Northumberland”

Day Three- Newcastle University

The third and final day of the project took place back at Newcastle University. The students enjoyed a guided tour of the Hatton gallery and the School of Fine Art before taking part in a Print Making workshop led by Northern Print.

“Fantastic, messy, I loved the painting techniques the most”

“It makes me feel as though I can be crowned with the title of Artist officially – and proud”

“It made me enjoy art more and feel more creative and better at art”


The student’s poetry and artwork was displayed at The Sill, Northumberland National Park throughout August. Several of the students commented on how much they enjoyed the project and how proud they felt of their work.

“It’s a new experience that opens your eyes to things you hadn’t known before”

“It makes me feel proud that my work is good enough to be exhibited”

“I’m very proud that my work can be seen by anyone at the Sill”

Their teachers also felt the project had been extremely successful.

“Our students will take life long memories from this project. It has been incredibly rewarding”

Click on the links below to download the exhibitions in PDF format;

Prudhoe Community High School clickable box to download the exhibition
Haydon Bridge High School clickable box to download the exhibition
Bedlington Academy clickable box to download the exhibition

For more information about the services offered by the University Library Education Outreach Team please visit our website: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/library/services/education-outreach/

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