Powys Schools create Songs from Stones in digital Heritage Storytelling Project

Friday 02 August 2013

Powys Schools create Songs from Stones in digital heritage storytelling project

Powys Schools create Songs from Stones in digital heritage storytelling project

Five schools in Powys have spent the last few months studying their local historical monuments to create stop-start animation films as part of the ‘Songs from Stones’ initiative, a five-year project led by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service. The children's creations were celebrated at a ‘film premiere’ event at Theatr Hafren, Newtown this week.

The digital storytelling project uses skills in communication, thinking, literacy, music, languages, team working, geography and art as well as history and ICT skills, tying in with the Curriculum Cymreig. The project, which this year focused on Powys, known as ‘The Garden of Wales’, celebrates the rich culture of Wales in towns, villages and the rural communities.

The project began with a teacher training day at Coleg Powys where teachers spent the day learning the art of film making and were equipped with software and hardware such as cameras and kit for the project. The schools then spent two days with local artists Wildboar Press and Cerddora where, alongside learning how to become film makers, they visited their local monuments for inspiration.

Abermule School studied their local castle of Dolforwyn Castle, an amazing site only recently rediscovered by archaeologists as its remains have been underground for hundreds of years. Montgomery School took their inspiration from Montgomery Castle which sits high above the town, surrounded by its medieval walls.

Both sites are in the guardianship of Cadw, and Cadw also cares for sites which are Scheduled Ancient Monuments, including the Llys site of Sycharth, studied by Ysgol Llangedwyn. This site may not be as grand as the large stone castles of Montgomery and Dolforwyn, but it is no less important, and is known best as the residence of the Welsh Prince Owain Glyndŵr.

Crossgates School looked at the impressive ruins of Abbey Cwm Hir, the first of two abbeys we have included in the project. The second was Strata Marcella, studied by Buttington Trewern School and the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, which only exists today as lumps and bumps in the ground just north of Welshpool. Buttington Trewern also visited Powysland Museum to see artefacts from the abbey and their local church which houses the abbey’s original font and a stained glass window made up from the fragments of stained glass found during excavations of the abbey field.

Nicky Steer, teacher at Montgomery school, said ‘We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on this project with Cadw. The children have done an amazing amount of work, using stop start animation, creativity and lots of patience to create their own stories about their local sites. Not only have they used the history of the sites to inspire them, but created their own stories and therefore added another chapter to the history of their local monuments which we hope will be enjoyed by many others in the years to come.'

Year 6 pupil, Carwyn Owen added ‘I really enjoyed working on the project and learning how animation works, and I also enjoyed bringing the history of the area to life.’

Click here for more information about Cadw’s learning programme.