The Northumberland Space Programme (Ashington)

In partnership with Kielder Observatory, the Northumberland Archives, Woodhorn Museum, and the University of Newcastle, The Northumberland Space Programme brings together experimental composer Andy Ingamells and c.30 local SEND, PPG and/or EAL school children.

Together, Andy and the pupils will set off on a journey to explore space and history. They will create a piece of musical storytelling based on stories found in the Northumberland Archives – all to do with Northumberland’s connection to the final frontier, as the country’s darkest county.

The project will take place over 7 days, and the group will be based at Woodhorn Museum. They will also go on three exciting trips to help inform the creation of their performance piece.

First, they will get a ‘behind the scenes’ experience at the Northumberland Archives, visiting the temperature controlled strong-rooms, and working with documents which are hundreds of years old. They will then enjoy activities and experiments at the University of Newcastle, led by astrophysicist Dr. Chris Hales. Finally, the group will go to Kielder Observatory, where they will enjoy an introduction to scientific stargazing, and will see some of the most powerful telescopes in the UK in action.

Some examples of workshops that the children might participate in include:

Musical activities: designing and building instruments using household materials (e.g. wooden crates, funnels, hose pipe); writing graphic scores; experimenting with electronic music (e.g. recording and manipulating found sounds).
Performance activities: exploring stories using theatre exercises (e.g. freeze frames, hot seating).
Literacy activities: treasure hunts with riddles and clues to find stories hidden in and around the workshop location; personal diaries to record thoughts and ideas, with some structured questions to encourage reflection and writing practice.
Cross-curricular activities: after learning about far away galaxies and our own constellations in the Milky Way, the children can consolidate facts and information learned by responding artistically, and building their own constellation, or galaxy projectors – using hole punches, needles and torches.

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