The Vital North Partnership works with Newcastle University students across the three University faculties and at different stages of academic study. Through formal teaching activities, jointly organised events, placements and internships, and collaborative PhDs, I find students are really inspiring and enthusiastic partners to work with!
In July 2019, I went to the Newcastle University Professional Services Conference and the Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference to present a poster about Newcastle University and Seven Stories’ work on teaching and learning in partnership in 2018/19. Here’s the poster that I presented:
It was great to be able to share and talk about lots of different activities at these conferences. I included our Sense Explorers workshops in summer 2019, the music events that students have organised and supported, as well as the sea creatures that the STEM outreach team brought to visit Seven Stories back in September. It was also really interesting to look at the subjects that the Vital North Partnership covers, which shows the breadth of disciplinary areas we engage with.
The poster also featured Dr Michael Richardson’s third year module, ‘Geographies of Gender and Generation’, where students worked with Seven Stories to plan and deliver storytelling workshops with two local schools. And I even had space to mention some of our placements and projects!
I really enjoyed both events, which gave me an opportunity to talk to colleagues across Newcastle University as well as from other higher education institutions around the UK. They were both inspiring days and I made some interesting connections for the future.
Air pollution has a particularly damaging effect on children. They’re still growing and breathe faster than adults do. They also live closer to the ground, where the most polluting gases from vehicles accumulate. Pollution from traffic has been linked to problems with brain development, stunted growth, respiratory conditions, cancers and 300,000 child deaths worldwide.
Children themselves are far from oblivious to all this. The school climate strikes show that young people are forcing air pollution and the climate crisis to the top of the political agenda. The strikes tell us that children demand a platform to challenge pollution in their environment. Unable to voice their concerns in school, they are forced to take radical action. What if instead there was a way to work with children in tackling air pollution and climate change?
Through my research, I look for ways that we can give children the tools, the skills and the confidence to affect change in the cities they live in. With the help of teachers and my colleagues in Open Lab, we’ve come up with Sense Explorers, a toolkit of activities and resources to involve young people in transforming places and the environment.
And this summer, I’ll be delivering four free Sense Explorers workshops with Seven Stories! As part of each workshop, we’ll be exploring spaces around the Ouseburn. Using some digital tools we’ll be collecting data about air pollution, and we’ll also be asking young people to think about what their own five senses are telling them. Can they see or hear what may be causing pollution?
Then looking at this data, we’ll be asking our Sense Explorers to think about what they would do to make the Ouseburn better. I can’t wait to see what ideas they come up with!
Here’s a video about our Sense Explorers workshops at Seven Stories:
Sessions like Sense Explorers help children to learn about the future, what it holds for them, and how they can make it better. We should be showing them what they can – and should – do to make their cities less polluted places.
Urban planners and politicians are often hesitant to work with children, but they shouldn’t be – we need to embrace their creativity and passion to take radical action on air pollution and climate change. More now than ever, we need the original ideas that only children can bring.
Thanks Sean, and to The Conversation for allowing us to republish this content. The four Sense Explorers workshops are now fully booked. We are considering adding some extra sessions so do book on our waiting list (available on the event booking page) and we will let you know if spaces become available.
How can children’s literature collections contribute to supporting children’s health? Is there a role that Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books can play in health settings? How can sharing stories enhance children and young people’s mental wellbeing? In this blog post, find out about how Newcastle University and Seven Stories are starting to explore these questions through the Vital North Partnership’s work…
“What happens in pregnancy and early childhood impacts on physical and emotional health all the way through to adulthood… the earliest experiences, starting in the womb, shape a baby’s brain development.”
The first 1001 days of a child’s life are critical. A period of rapid growth, babies’ brains are shaped by their early experiences and interactions they have with the grownups who care for them. Healthy development, including language development, from conception to age two “is linked to improved mental and physical health, reductions in risk and antisocial behaviour and achievement at school and beyond.”(The 1001 Critical Days).
Seven Stories deliver award-winning learning and family reading programmes, which champion reading for pleasure and support literacy development. Seven Stories also have expertise working with children with additional learning and sensory needs, and delivering activities in hospice and other health settings. Newcastle University’s internationally recognised Faculty of Medical Sciences tackles challenges in health and healthcare, including ageing, cancer, cell biology, genetics, drug development, medicine in society and neuroscience. Through the Vital North Partnership, we aim to realise a range of social, educational and cultural benefits – and exploring public health is becoming an increasing area of focus for our work together.
We’re starting to explore how we can collaborate with public health providers and enhance public understanding of health and wellbeing, and we’re already planning some interesting activity. Here’s what I can share so far about our 2019 plans…
What makes us, us?
On Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd March 2019, staff and students from Newcastle University’s Institute of Neuroscience and School of Psychology delivered a weekend of activity, ‘What Makes Us, Us?’, at Seven Stories. Led by Dr Ann Fitchett and Dr Billie Moffat-Knox, children and families visiting Seven Stories engaged with Newcastle University students to explore what it means to be human – what we have in common, and what makes us unique. Through different activity stations, families learnt about brain science, why acts of kindness make us happy and how we see colours.
Henry Marsh on ‘brain surgery and other stories’
Thinking about how children’s books can engage with health narratives and medical research, we’re looking forward to this year’s Fickling Lecture on Developments in Children’s Literature with Henry Marsh, neurosurgeon and author. Marsh pioneered techniques in operating on the brain under local anaesthetic and has written two books about his experience as a neurosurgeon.
Henry Marsh will be discussing how doctors, witnesses and participants in the stories of their patients’ lives, are beginning to tell children’s stories about their practice. He will explain what he thinks makes a good medical story for younger readers.
Enhancing young people’s resilience with Readers in Residence
I’m also very pleased to say that the Vital North Partnership has secured funding from Newcastle University’s Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty Impact Fund to support a new project. This will bring Seven Stories’ Creative Learning and Engagement team and the Children’s Literature Unit together to explore how children’s literature can be used to support young people’s wellbeing.
I am excited about the potential impact of this new focus for our work together – and I believe that through the Vital North Partnership, Seven Stories and Newcastle University can enhance and promote public health, and particularly children’s health, in the North East and beyond.
When asked by our lecturer what we wanted to do for our Music Enterprise event as part of the MUS3095 third-year module, we knew we wanted to do something educational, fun and for a good cause. We all had some prior experience of working with children in music education events through outreach projects, work experience or student placements. This became the focus for our events management project.
We began the process by visiting Percy Hedley School, a charity-funded school for children with additional needs based in Jesmond. After meeting with the headteacher and the music teacher at the school, we began to realise the unique approach they took to music education. More than anything else this visit inspired us and we realised that music really can be so much more than the notes on a page.
After this inspirational visit, we decided that we definitely wanted to do an event for children that would be interactive and participatory throughout. We wanted to have the event open for families to be able to come along, have fun and engage in music. Our next mission was to find a venue to host our event.
At the beginning of the semester, Rachel had come to Newcastle University and talked to us about the possibility of hosting an event at Seven Stories. We met with Rachel and Rose Mockford, the Events Co-ordinator at Seven Stories, at the end of November to see if they would be interested in working with us and luckily for us, they were!
We had the basic structure for our event but we still needed a theme to tie our ideas together. We were aware that there had been other musical events based upon books held at Seven Stories that were successful and so we began to discuss books that had been influential in our childhoods. ‘Elmer’ by David McKee was suggested and we quickly realised that this story was ideal for our event. Not only could we envisage how this wonderful story could be musically adapted, we also felt that the themes of finding happiness and accepting our individuality resonated with our experience of visiting Percy Hedley School.
Seven Stories informed us that this would be fitting as they are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the story with their Elmer and Friends exhibition. We spoke to our fellow students and found a group of keen, enthusiastic musicians excited about the opportunity to perform together. The Elmer’s Colourful Concert band consists of Rebecca Roberts (singer), Joe Issa (pianist), Glen Bruinewoud (trumpeter) and Alex Utting (trombonist) but be assured they won’t be the only people making noise on the day!
As we’re putting the final touches on our event, we would like to welcome you to join us for Elmer’s Colourful Concert on Sunday 17th March, 2:00-2:45pm at Seven Stories, Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE1 2PQ. It’s a 45 minute event aimed at children aged 7 and under and their families. Tickets are £5 per person (including children and adults) and you can book online via the Seven Stories website!
Thanks Christie, Sarah, Kate and Loren! I’m really looking forward to your Colourful Concert – where there’ll be a very special visit from a certain rainbow elephant…
…and at the same time, Career Development Module students have been working with Seven Stories, developing skills in exhibitions, internal communications, events, and creative learning to enhance their employability.
Final year student Lucy Napier is participating in both of these modules, so I caught up with her to hear about her experience of two very different collaborations.
Hello Lucy! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hiya Rachel! My name is Lucy Napier and I am a stage 3 student, studying Business and Geography as part of my Combined Honours degree. I have interests in hanging out with friends and horse riding BUT I also like working hard to try and graduate!
This year, you’re undertaking a Career Development Module with Seven Stories – what’s that, and why did you choose to do this as part of your degree course?
The Career Development module runs in both Stage 2 and Stage 3. I chose to do it in my third year so I could have an idea as to what I am interested in terms of career choices. I chose Seven Stories for my placement as I researched into their core beliefs and what they do as a non-profit and I loved everything about them, from keeping original drafts of great children’s authors in collections at Felling to the workshops and exhibitions they give to the local children in the North East area. I chose to do this as part of my degree as it is a nice change than sitting in lecture halls and this module gives us good work experience and guidance for our future careers.
What have you been doing at Seven Stories during your Career Development Module placement so far?
My title at Seven Stories is Internal Communications Volunteer, and over my year here I am aiming to identify improvements in communications between Seven Stories’ three sites. Having researched within the business and conducted meetings with various people across the organisation I am aiming to bring together everything I have found to design and come up with an internal communications strategy.
And you’ve also been studying as part of the Geographies of Gender and Generation module. That’s been quite a different experience, I imagine?
Yes, it has been. I found the module very interesting as it was looking at life through an intergenerational and sometimes a feminist lens, it taught us how gender and generation can be created through society and how society can be affected by them. For example, we learnt about age-friendly cities and how spaces can be designed to benefit younger generations. I really enjoyed this module as it made you rethink a lot of things and that gave me another perspective on society and geography as a whole.
Tell us about the work you did with Seven Stories as part of the Geographies of Gender and Generation module.
As part of the module our assessment was based on working with children, alongside Seven Stories. We had to get into groups and deliver a storytelling to a group of children. My group looked at Elmer and the Hippos by David McKee. We then designed an activity based on teamwork as we thought that was the main theme within the book. The aim of this work was to watch how my age group act with younger children and this is known as intergenerational practice. We then had to write up a report on the work completed and how we learnt from the children and how they learned from us.
How did you find the final GEO3135 workshop with the children from Hotspur Primary School and Marine Park Primary School at the Great North Museum: Hancock?
The final workshop was good fun and very different to other work I have had to do as part of my degree. My group worked with Year 4 children from Marine Park Primary School. We found that the children felt that Elmer and the Hippos was too young for them. However, they loved our teamwork activity of being blindfolded and trying to find cones, and looking back we should have made tried to extend this element of the session.
What has it been like seeing two very different sides of Seven Stories’ work – and what have you learned?
Having worked on both sides it has given me a unique view. I have seen Seven Stories through the customer’s view through GEO3135, as we had an exciting storytelling along with an activity. These were based on the book Not Now Bernard by David McKee which was good fun as we could be children! Then through my Career Development Module, I can see how all the events are organised by Seven Stories, how much effort goes into organising a day within the Visitors Centre and how much everyone works their absolute hardest.
What impact will your work with Seven Stories have on your future studies, research and career plans?
My work within Seven Stories has made me look more into a career working within non-profits. It has impacted me so much that I am looking at going to India working with children and teaching them English for a few months after I have graduated.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
I would just like to add that I love everything that Seven Stories do, I think they are a fantastic charity and I have loved working there! And if you haven’t been to visit, I really do recommend it, it’s a fantastic day out for families.
Thanks Lucy! I’ll look forward to seeing the results of your Career Development Module placement – good luck!
Have you ever considered how the design of spaces can help children learn and explore? In this blog post, Daniel Goodricke provides an overview of the research project, ‘Children in the Archive and the City: Collaborative Practice with Seven Stories’.
The project investigates how children interact with museum, archive and reading spaces, as well as the broader context of the city, and explores how spaces could be reimagined with and for children and young people. The investigation aims to:
identify changes that can be made to the Seven Stories’ spaces to bring children’s books to a broader demographic
develop and test a series of possible design scenarios and alternative configurations of museum, archive and reading spaces to further encourage children and young people to interact with Seven Stories’ Collection
propose changes that can be made to both physical and digital spaces in order to bring maximum benefit to people of the North East, as well as national and international stakeholders.
As an architect and educator, I was motivated to undertake this research project following my experience as part of multi-disciplinary teams responsible for the design and delivery of centrally-funded secondary school projects as part of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) and Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP). Whilst the programmes were commendably ambitious; tasking school governors, principals, staff, local communities and, even, the pupils themselves with developing an ‘educational vision’, the projects often soon reverted to more normative and routine production modes.
Acknowledging end users as experts in their own experience, this project positions children and young people at the centre of the design process by means of a series of co-design workshops. Employing creative research tools, such as body mapping, illustrated writing and sensory collage, each workshop endeavours to gain a better understanding of children and young people’s current experiences of Seven Stories spaces across a range of scales including their interactions with books, ‘nooks and crannies’, archive, building, and the city. The Finnish-born American architect, Eliel Saarinen (1873-1950) admonished designers to:
“[a]lways consider a thing by considering it in its next larger context – a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.”
The workshops, supported by continued creative dialogue, will also begin to articulate the goals, priorities and values of stakeholders, providing participants with a direct involvement in the decision making of architectural proposals. In respect of the latter, I recently attended a series of three linked seminars on the theme of Architecture and Education – specifically how architecture may be used to express educational aims and values – held at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. I hope to elaborate on some of the presented ideas with reference to my project in a subsequent blog post.
Professor Sir Christopher Frayling’s highly influential paper, Research in Art and Design (1993), categorised the varying relationships between research and design (or, architecture) as constituting one of either, ‘into’, ‘for’ or ‘through’ the discipline. This project adopts a ‘through’ approach as it utilises the design process as a methodology in order to undertake the research investigation itself. Such as approach also provides participants, particularly children and young people (given how little emphasis is placed on architecture within the National curriculum), with a relatively unique experience, knowledge and understanding of architecture and the built environment around them, as well as the skills and confidence to become involved in debates surrounding it within their own communities. The Ouseburn Trust, including the now amalgamated Ouseburn Futures, have long engaged residents, workers and visitors to the Valley in influencing what happens there and shaping the regeneration process.
The findings of the project will culminate in the production of a design brief, developed through the close dialogue with representatives of Seven Stories, end users, neighbouring communities and other stakeholders. The brief will assist in articulating Seven Stories’ capital ambition of a new permanent and accessible home in Newcastle, as it aims to establish itself as an international centre of excellence for children’s literature, by defining the scope and outlining the deliverables of any future capital development project.
Hello! I’m Anna and I live in Gateshead, although I am originally from Northumberland. I came to the Museum Studies MA course with the aim of beginning a career in the museums sector, alongside developing my practice as an illustrator.
Hi, I’m Amy and I’m originally from County Durham. I moved to Newcastle 5 years ago when I got my place at Newcastle University to do my Ancient History BA. I decided to do the MA with the intention of (hopefully) being able to get a job in museum learning after. And after all there’s no better place for history than in a museum!
Tell me about the Museums Studies MA course – how are you finding studying at Newcastle?
Amy: I’m loving it! I couldn’t think of a city more suited to a Museum Studies course than Newcastle – there are so many museums and galleries on your doorstep you’re spoilt for choice. I love Newcastle and can’t imagine leaving!
Anna: I could not have asked for a better experience, in all honesty. The course at Newcastle has a great reputation and as I was keen to stay in the North East to help contribute towards the growing arts industry here, it was the perfect choice.
What attracted you to do a placement at Seven Stories?
Anna: What didn’t attract me! Having specialised in creating illustrated books during my undergraduate degree, I have had an interest in the work that goes on at Seven Stories for a while. I previously had some of my illustration work displayed in the visitor centre, which I found very exciting.
Amy: I’m a long-time fan of Seven Stories. I actually came to the opening in 2005 and met Jacqueline Wilson and Nick Sharratt; I LOVED Jacqueline Wilson’s books so Nick Sharratt drawing me my own Tracey Beaker, on the cover of my tattered book, is one of my favourite childhood memories.
So, what have you been up to on your placements?
Amy: I’ve been based with the Creative Learning and Engagement team and I’ve been able to learn a lot about Seven Stories offerings, both onsite and in schools.
I’ve shadowed EY, KS1 and KS2 workshops as well as spending a couple of days with Creative Associates learning about the Reader in Residence and Reading for Pleasure offerings.
I’ve also being analysing and interpreting data regarding the learning programmes and spotting any trends and patterns.
Anna: I have been primarily based with the Seven Stories Collections team. My main job has been to catalogue the Fritz Wegner collection, which Seven Stories acquired in 2017.
I have had the opportunity to work in the visitor centre on the de-installation of the Comics exhibition, and on the install for the new Where Your Wings Were exhibition. The tasks I was involved with included removing and packing artworks and display items, assisting in the hanging of artworks, and sourcing some images used in the displays.
How is your placement helping you to develop the skills you’ll need for a career in the museums sector?
Anna: I came to the MA course at Newcastle University with little practical experience of working in a museum environment. The placement has helped me put my theoretical knowledge from the MA course into practice. Working at Seven Stories has given me access to experts in the industry and enabled me to work directly with the collection.
Amy: I already have experience of delivering workshops and activities so doing my placement at Seven Stories meant that I could work with data, figures and reports to learn first-hand how data interpretation can be used to inform the future progression of a learning programme.
It’s something I normally wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do and I’ve really enjoyed doing something different!
What have you learned from your placement at Seven Stories?
Amy: I’ve learned so much but my favourite part was learning about how much stories and reading can positively impact a child’s development and ultimately improve their academic performance and confidence.
Anna: I’ve learned that a huge amount of hard work, dedication and love goes into maintaining the collections! Before beginning my placement, I was of the belief that museum roles are well defined and separate from one another. I now know that multitasking and cross-discipline work is becoming a more common way of working.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Anna: I would like to thank all of the wonderful staff I have worked with. As an illustrator, it has been an absolute delight to work with original artworks, and it has really inspired me in my own practice.
Amy: I didn’t know it was possible but my time here has made me an even bigger Seven Stories fan!
Thanks Amy and Anna! It’s been a pleasure to work with you both and good luck with the rest of your MA studies!
Children have fascinating insights into the places they live in, and Seven Stories are interested in how the families that visit them feel about their locality. Yet traditional approaches to urban planning are quite exclusive (and not massively creative) when it comes to consulting and involving children and young people. So what about new and alternative methods?
Today I’m exploring JigsAudio, a research project led by Alexander Wilson, a doctoral trainee in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Digital Civics at Open Lab. Zander’s research interrogates the intersections between digital technology, design, human-computer interaction and town planning, with a focus on alternative tools and methods to participation.
From that initial conversation, Zander and his Digital Civics colleagues came up with JigsAudio. It combines drawing and colouring in jigsaw pieces, which the children and families visiting Seven Stories are familiar with, with something new: a device which allowed the children to record an audio message about their jigsaw piece. The pieces and their recordings are then combined to create a digital version of the jigsaw online.
JigsAudio’s first test was during the Big Draw in October 2016 and formed part of a range of drop in activities offered that weekend around Newcastle City Futures. Zander said, “A colourful puzzle came back with many varied visions of Newcastle and Gateshead. A five-hour barge trip along the Tyne and a colourful new bridge across the Tyne – painted in green, yellow, black, blue and purple – were just two of the ideas that emerged.”
Following that, Seven Stories also worked with Zander on a second JigsAudio activity for Summer 2017 around their Aliens Love Underpants exhibition, asking children to design and talk about alien planets and reflect on what they value about their own. For Zander: “I’m amazed at the effort the children put into their alien’s planet. It’s really interesting to see that they have such a strong sense of what is important to where they live. As well as a few aliens, we got something that’s really valuable and will hopefully lead to children getting more of a say in how places change. We’ve been underplaying their ability to understand some of the issues planning is facing and hearing their ideas has been an eye-opening exercise. It’s been a fantastic project.”
So what were Zander’s research findings? He found:
“That drawing and talking was effective at getting people to communicate complicated and elaborate visions that might not be easily communicated through a single media.”
“The initial low-tech appearance of the activity encouraged engagement with JigsAudio”. This was particularly important for Seven Stories’ youngest visitors, and they loved the tactile nature of the jigsaw itself. I noticed that the children really enjoyed adding their piece into the constellation of planets, for example!
“Participants were interested in how the JigsAudio device worked and wanted to take part in the activity.” This was backed up by Seven Stories Santander University Intern, Emma, who facilitated the Aliens Love Underpants JigsAudio activity: “You have to watch [the device] quite a lot because… it was quite an interesting thing for the kids; they were picking it up!”
For Seven Stories, using JigsAudio was an interesting way of finding out what their youngest visitors see and think about the place that they live in, and their visions of alternative spaces.
And for Zander, “I’m thinking about how we can use drawing and talking with other topics, and how we might put together a toolkit for children to make their own devices. If you’re interested in having a go with the device, or if you have your own project you’d like to use JigsAudio in, please do get in touch!”
Thanks to Zander for his help with this post! To find out more about JigsAudio, visit: http://jigsaudio.com/
On 8th March 2018, Seven Stories hosted a special event, Little Folk, organised by students Imogen Bose-Ward, Megan Savage, Ada Francis, Becca Twist and Frankie Hay from Newcastle University’s Music BA Honours course.
Having worked with this cohort to deliver a Musical Creepy Crawlies event at Seven Stories in March 2017, Seven Stories were happy to offer this year’s students the same opportunity – to deliver an event as part of their public events programme. In October 2017, I went to one this year’s initial Music Enterprise lectures to meet the students and talk to them about Seven Stories.
Straight after the lecture, Imogen emailed me to let me know that her group wanted to work with us: ‘We are really interested to collaborate with Seven Stories to create an event based around music, dance and storytelling from around Newcastle.’
And – that’s exactly what they did! Over the months leading up to March, with support from Jane and the Seven Stories team, the students developed an interactive event, Little Folk, exploring folk songs and stories from the North East. They approached folk performers Alistair Anderson,Amber Jayne Cox and Heather Ferrier to take part, developed the programme and accompanying handouts, and created some beautiful marketing materials:
And all their hard work led to a sold-out event on 8th March at Seven Stories. The families who came to Little Folk sang the Blaydon Races with Amber, heard Alastair tell the story of the Lambton Worm and Heather taught us how to clog dance. And alongside that we heard the Northumbrian pipes, waved ribbons and played with sensory props, and even tried out the concertina! Here’s a taster of the event in the Little Folk promotional video that the students created:
For Imogen and the student organising team, “We were delighted to see such a fantastic turn out and we were really pleased with the event itself and some of the feedback we received from the audience. Hosting an event in collaboration with Seven Stories has been a really fascinating process, and it has been incredibly rewarding seeing how our input into such a brilliant charity has created an event that will hopefully leave an impression on the young audience. Seven Stories have a fantastic loyal audience base, which helped us sell out our debut event. We are now interested in developing what was initially supposed to be a one-time event for a university module into something larger, perhaps by looking into how this event could be held in other areas of the country where there are musical and cultural traditions.”
From Jane’s perspective as their module leader, “The students created an excellent event, with a strong brand and a compelling storyline for their marketing, which has enabled them to attract and engage their audience. They have developed a workshop format which could provide the basis for a future creative enterprise. The Music Enterprise module is intended to help students prepare for their future careers in the creative sector, which may be freelance or self-managed. The Little Folk team have devised, organised and presented a highly successful event, working in an effective partnership with Seven Stories, which will have enhanced their skills and confidence, personal resilience and professional development, and has added to their CVs.”
And Seven Stories loved it! Rose Mockford, Events Co-ordinator, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with this group of students who demonstrated a high degree of professionalism in all aspects of their event planning. Our young visitors and their families really engaged with the varied event programme which the students had devised and our unique Attic space was used effectively create a relaxed family event.”
“Little Folk was particularly special as it offered the opportunity for young people to creatively collaborate with Seven Stories to share local musical traditions and engage and build our audiences. Since this event we have hosted another musical event from Opera North and many visitors booked for this having first attended Little Folk – a true testament to the success of the project!”
Thanks to the students for all their hard work in delivering such a successful event! And it seems appropriate to end with a quote from The Blaydon Races: “Thor wes lots o’ lads and lasses there, all with smiling faces…”
Seven Stories believe that stories help children to understand the world around them, and that every child regardless of age, gender, background and ability should have the opportunity to enjoy this experience.
With this in mind and with the promise of 50% match funding from the Community Foundation Tyne and Wear, they decided to try crowdfunding for the first time to secure additional funding from their supporters and the public. Seven Stories will be using the money raised to fund a range of accessible events and experiences designed specifically for children with sensory and additional needs.
Launching the Life-changing Stories campaign, Kate Edwards, Seven Stories’ Chief Executive, said: “Our ambition is for Seven Stories to be a hub for parents and carers of children with disabilities to socialise, play and learn more about how to enrich their children’s lives through the wonderful world of children’s books.”
This campaign video was filmed and edited by PhD student Evripidis Karydis (or Evris, for short!), who produced two 4 minute trailer videos to support the communications. Evris is undertaking an NCL Internship through Newcastle University’s Careers Service. NCL Internships are open to all current Newcastle University students, and offer a placement of up to 100 hours during University terms and a student bursary of £750, made up of contributions from the business and the University.
Marketing and Communications Manager Victoria Sanderson, said of Evris’ work on the crowdfunding campaign: “Evris’ performance throughout the project was exceptional; he offered expert guidance when it was required, identified any risks prior to filming which increased efficiency, met deadlines, used his initiative when editing the videos and was accommodating with amends, even when they arrived after signing-off. Overall, Evris was professional and a delight to work with.”
This built on Evris’ previous internship with Seven Stories in the 2016/17 academic year, where he filmed Seven Stories’ Living Books project in early years settings, working with the Creative Learning and Engagement Team.
For Evris, “having already completed a NCL internship with Seven Stories during the 2016/17 academic year it was not difficult for me to decide to work with the foundation once again. The people at Seven Stories are true professionals and really helped me to produce high quality videos for their causes. Furthermore, the reason behind the crowdfunding campaign was another motivation for me to say yes and work once more with Seven Stories and I am pleased that my videos contributed in order to achieve the goal of raising £7000.”
“Being an aspiring filmmaker myself working through my internship I have managed again to practice my filmmaking craft and helped me develop my communication skills.”
“The highlight for me during my placement was when I got the chance to film a family for the crowdfunding campaign video as it gave me a good insight of the people who were going to be benefited by the campaign.”
“I truly believe that the work being done at Seven Stories is really important as it is making a massive difference in children’s lives and their families and I would really like to work with them again in the future.”
Take a look at Evris’ second video from the Life-changing Stories campaign:
And the results? Well, Seven Stories hit over 75% of their funding target in the first day of the crowdfunding campaign, which is amazing news! Thank you to Evris for helping to make this campaign such a success. But they still need a few more donations to hit their £7000 target before 2nd April 2018 – can you help Seven Stories to ensure that every child is part of their story?