We’re now officially one year into our funding for the Vital North Partnership between Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books and Newcastle University. I thought this blog would be a good way to review what’s gone on over the past year…
The Vital North Partnership begins
The start of 2015 saw Newcastle University’s REF Impact Case Study about the Children’s Literature Unit’s work with Seven Stories receive a 4* grading, leading to the School of English ranking first in the UK for research impact.
This was fantastic recognition of our collaboration over the last 10 years, and led Seven Stories (with Newcastle University’s support) to make a Museum Resilience Fund bid to Arts Council England. This was for the Vital North Partnership, a project with the following aims:
- To strengthen and scale-up Seven Stories’ partnership with Newcastle University
- To build Seven Stories’ brand recognition and reach and develop new income streams
- To secure a sustainable business model for Seven Stories as the national home for children’s books
We were delighted to be awarded funding, and the Vital North Partnership began…
From 2015 to 2016
It’s been a busy first year. Here are some of the highlights!
- We were granted funding from AHRC and Innovate UK for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership between the School of English Literature, Language and Lingusitics and Seven Stories’ Collections and Exhibitions team.
- We recruited a Vital North Partnership Manager (me!) to facilitate the project. I started in post in January 2016.
- Seven Stories’ exclusive Michael Morpurgo: A Lifetime in Stories exhibition opened, supported by the KTP. The Vital North Partnership also supported a sell-out Christmas concert with Michael at St. Nicholas’ Cathedral, On Angel Wings.
- We offered 4 joint public talks on children’s literature with expert Brian Alderson, and author Garth Nix.
- Seven Stories’ Living Books project is ongoing: this is a development programme for early years settings and parents to share and enjoy books with young children. Newcastle University’s Centre for Learning and Teaching are helping to evaluate this project.
- The Collections team at Seven Stories have been supporting Professor Kim Reynolds’ research into Olive Dehn and Catherine Storr
- We also collaborated around Professor David Leat’s Community Curriculum Making research: Seven Stories’ Learning and Participation team have attended meetings and events and contributed case studies.
- Seven Stories and Newcastle University hosted Leverhulme Visiting Professor Karen Sands O’Connor from Buffalo State University. Karen spent her time here looking at race and diversity in the Seven Stories collection.
- We jointly offered four David Almond Fellowships to support postgraduates and early career researchers to come and consult the Seven Stories collection.
- Newcastle University students from the BA in English Literature and BA in Education visited Seven Stories as part of their course, and I gave a seminar on Seven Stories and reading for pleasure for the Educational Psychology doctoral trainees
- Seven Stories have also been supporting student employability by offering placements: we’ve supported an undergraduate Research Scholarship with Speech and Language Sciences and we’re currently hosting a Santander University Internship.
Now I’ve been in post for 8 months, things are really gathering pace. There are lots of projects in the pipeline and I’m planning to share activities as they happen via this blog. If you’d like more information about anything you’ve read about here, get in touch!
Between now and Christmas, I’ll be posting about opportunities through the Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership, sharing a Pecha Kucha I gave at the AHRC Common Ground event earlier in the summer about the Vital North Partnership and quizzing Research Associate Dr. Jessica Medhurst about all things KTP.
So a first year, and a first blog post. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year has in store…