North Hykeham Research (5 November 2016)

This week has felt a lot like my last year at uni as I was put to work researching some history of North Hykeham which involved me pouring over old maps. On Monday, I was sent to North Hykeham council to collect some maps that were to be used by the historian in workshops in South Hykeham school. They revealed the change of North Hykeham from a predominantly agricultural settlement to the new commuter belt which it has become. The oldest maps came from 1932 which even marked the (recently abandoned) windmills of North Hykeham. The Malleable works and gravel pits were marked too which were going to be useful to explain to pupils about Hykeham’s industrial past. The themes would be explained at a basic level, and many comparisons were to be made between old and new maps to tell the primary school children a basic history of their home.

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1932 map of North Hykeham, courtesy of North Hykeam Town Council.

Later in the week Dave the historian sent me to Lincoln Archives to find out some information on the foundry on the north-western edge of North Hykeham (centre top in the above picture) which made castings for cars, tanks etc. It was nice to be back at the archives after I had come there earlier in the year to find out information on seventeenth century civil unrest for my dissertation. I found many pictures and maps of the foundry, but no official production records. Often, if parts were made during the war for the armaments industry, they were kept secret; the archive had clearly not acquired them. Included below are some great pictures of foundry workers using minimal safety equipment, with both workers having sweat rags to mop their brows while working with the molten metal.

 

This week was particularly enjoyable as I was able to use my skills acquired at Goldsmiths university for the good of the project and to keep my research skills relatively honed. artsNK have been able to utilise my skill set such as historical research and music. I am very glad to be able to provide help in many different ways for the good work the Ridges & Furrows project is doing!

 

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North Hykeham Lantern Workshop (29 October 2016)

After the Welbourn Horkey, this week afforded everyone a bit of a rest from the hectic organisation of the event. My monday involved a leisurely drive to the storage facility to drop off lots of the equipment used for the event such as stakes, signs, workshop materials and the Ridges & Furrows banners. I collected the feedback forms from the artsNK offices at the National Centre for Craft & Design and had a flick through: there was lots of great feedback and the main point of good feedback was the freshly pressed, local apple juice! Also a few expressed their fondness for the music which was nice to hear.

After that, I took a few deserved days off. However the project in North Hykeham was already underway with a lantern making workshop taking place in the Terry O’Toole Theatre, which was our base of operations for this section of the project. I helped set up the tables and equipment with the two artists for this section of the project Ruth Pigott and Nadya Monfrioli. The workshop was the first of two, this first one designed for people of all ages to create stencils of local heritage inspired designs, cut out of card, which would then form silhouettes on the lanterns. It was very well attended and people seemed to have a great time. The quality of the designs, was a good sign that the North Hykeham section of of the project would yield just as beautiful and creative artworks as in Welbourn. The North Hykeham event was going to be in the evening so the personalised Hykeham lanterns would shine against the cold winter sky! Here are a selection of the stencils made in the workshop:

The Welbourn Horkey (23 October 2016)

The day had finally arrived, my first large event working in arts administration, or indeed working at all! We arrived at the site around 8am and with bleary eyes we went about making last minute arrangements. Myself and project historian Dave Reeves went around the village putting up signs directing visitors, and displaying info on certain historical sites such as the old co-op shop and the forge. When people started arriving, myself and my musical duo partner Rosie Butler-Hall played music at our assigned spots at the church and village hall. We capitalised on the professional photographer being there by getting him to take some good publicity pictures of us!

 

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Danny Pedler & Rosie Butler-Hall playing in St. Chad’s

The visitors all seemed happy, well fed and watered; there was a hog roast that I’d organised, villagers selling cakes in the village hall and free apple juice, pressed that morning from apples from the community orchard. People had lots to see but also lots to do, Lyndall and Miranda were holding workshops throughout the day, adding to the artwork which the other workshops had produced. The co-op shop was slowly getting fuller.

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The old co-op set

More attractions opened throughout the day with the farmers’ exhibitions on the green getting going with the 1920s threshing machine they had brought being fired up and hay bales being produced by it.

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The 1920s threshing machine demonstration

In addition, two young volunteers opened the forge, fired it up and worked some metal on it. Dave was down there explaining about the history of it to the onlookers also.

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A volunteer working the bellows at the old forge

It was a great day, it was so rewarding to see exhibited, the creative efforts of people of all age groups who had themselves been inspired by their local history. It was a brilliant, educational event to be involved with and so fun to organise. However, a revelation that hit me on the day is the amount of feedback we were required to collect. As a public funded project, through the Heritage Lottery Fund, we had to accurately report the day to them and how it met their requirements. In addition, evaluation is needed to secure funding for future projects and also to reassure funders that they did invest well, especially in an age where funding is being cut all over the arts sector. I was put to work, in my free minutes when I was not playing, handing out surveys for people to fill in. Not the most enjoyable thing on the day, but very important, and a very good insight into the behind-the-scenes work which makes the valuable community work arts administration does possible!

Horkey Preparations (21 October 2016)

The week of the Welbourn Horkey was finally upon us! My week however started with the beginning of community outreach in North Hykeham, the second target village of the project. Myself, the project lead and historian Dave Reeves attended a local soup lunch. We intended to introduce ourselves and to inspire people to volunteer to be interviewed for some oral history collection at later sessions. An element of Dave’s research is to also collect and record anecdotal history from the area and, especially, to document the change from village to town that North Hykeham has undergone. As the town is attached to the city of Lincoln, I asked people whether they felt Hykeham had its own community, separate from Lincoln. While many were depressed and visibly against the expansion of the town, some were positive and did say that North Hykeham has kept some of its traditional identity, and that due to separate institutions such as social clubs, scouts and WI from those in Lincoln, it has retained an independent community.

The first event leading up to the Horkey was a pub quiz on local historical knowledge in the local pub, The Joiner’s Arms. Questions and answers were compiled by Dave and a local historian Bill Goodhand, they tested the villagers on previous economic trades in the village, other historical ‘did you know’ facts, and contained a separate section of local dialect words and phrases from the area. Many people were very enthusiastic about the dialect section, with a (slightly heated) debate taking place between a farmer and a local on what word meant heavier rain: ‘siling’ or ‘kelting’.

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Pub Quiz in the Joiner’s Arms

On the day before the Horkey, the team assembled in Welbourn to begin preparations. Many people started setting up the decorations in the village hall, however myself and the two artists Lyndall Phelps and Miranda Sharpe started transforming St. Chad’s church into a gallery showcasing the artwork of the Wellingore scouts and Lyndall’s own work. She had used the agricultural heritage of the village as inspiration and created some beautiful works.

 

We then went to the local primary school and I led a procession (with my accordion) of the primary school children who transported their artworks, made in the workshops led by Lyndall and Miranda, to the church. The children had a harvest service in which we attended. They ended the service with a ‘harvest salsa’ which was… interesting. On the way back to the village hall I had learnt the salsa on my accordion and annoyed the rest of the artsNK team by reminding them of the earworm of a tune.

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Me leading the children’s procession playing a medley of English folk tunes.

 

Horkey Publicity (15 October 2016)

As the Horkey drew nearer, the marketing and publicity was ramped up. Two road-side banners were designed, commissioned, and had been printed by DPS Sleaford. My job was to set them up at the entrances to Welbourn; a colleague and I spent a long while deliberating where they would be seen by both sides of the road and also to accommodate residents coming in and out of the village. After that were many days of flyering in nearby villages such as Navenby, Wellingore and Leadenham. Although outside our targeted villages, I dished out the rest of my heavy stack of leaflets in Waddington, the third target village of the project to raise awareness about the upcoming festival and the start of the project.

 

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Welbourn Horkey banner by an entrance to the village.

I have really enjoyed all the travelling to and fro for the project as I think it has made me very knowledgeable about the areas surrounding Lincoln. I have loved travelling around North Kesteven and learning the social history of the area from both the villagers and all my colleagues. Everyone at artsNK do genuinely care about the work they do, and really do want to service the communities we work with. Through community outreach activities in schools, community workshops, and children’s extra-curricular groups, twinned with the steering group meetings with members of the local community, I feel very connected and welcomed by the people of Welbourn which has helped me greatly acclimatise to my new home. Knowing about the old mills, the names of local farms and the history of the iron age castle really has made me connect with the area; doubtless most of the village are yet to be affected by this history though!

In addition to the marketing work for the Welbourn Horkey, I have been compiling a list of local contacts for the purposes of community engagement for the second phase of the project based in North Hykeham. The history of the three target villages vary immensely, Welbourn has stayed largely the same size, with around 300 houses now (trust me, I’ve put leaflets through every door!). North Hykeham has completely transferred in the last 150 years. From a small, rural village in the nineteenth century, to a growing industrial town in the early twentieth century with the malleable works and gravel pits providing jobs for the growing population. Finally, the industry has disappeared in the town and, with a growing population, North Hykeham has transformed into a glorified suburb of Lincoln acting as more of a commuter belt. Waddington has grown with the introduction of the RAF base and has also grown into two, sparsely connected villages providing a physical obstacle for the community to overcome. It will be very interesting to see how the Ridges & Furrows project tailors its movements to achieve a lasting positive impact on the community in each village as the year progresses.

Community Workshops (8 October 2016)

My second week as an intern for the Ridges & Furrows project started off with painting posters promoting the community art workshops run by our resident artists. It marked a nice turn of pace from the frantic first week as I was able to do it in my living room. It was also a big role reversal in our house as I was doing arts and crafts and my girlfriend, who had previously done a textile degree, was reading history! I then had to go out and collect some A-boards from one of our contacts in the village and put them up in the entrances and exits to the village.

The first workshop was led by jeweller Miranda Sharpe; she taught all the attendees how to do enamelling. It was aimed at an adult audience and involved use of a small portable kiln. It was great to see the themes from the historical research used in such imaginative ways to make patterns on the metal. Here are some examples of what was made:

 

 

The second workshop was a family workshop led by artist Lyndall Phelps which aimed to create a stage-like set of the old Co-operative shop which used to run in the village. The Welbourn branch was the first rural branch of the Co-operative family and opened in the 1840s. The workshop saw a great attendance with families staying for the whole day to create whole hampers of artwork.

 

 

During this week I met all the local volunteers involved in the steering group meeting for Welbourn; the meeting brought together the project leads from artsNK, the historian, artists and numerous locals from the village. With representatives from the parish council, primary and secondary schools and farming community volunteering to help at every stage of the project it really felt like a project in the best interests of the community. All this work was building up to a community-led, one day festival in which the artwork created by the village would be exhibited. This was later called the ‘Welbourn Horkey’, the name taken from the end of harvest feast the farmer would provide for his workers who helped. While seeming an generous, communal gesture, this feast was held instead of payment; a practice which soon died out with the more capitalist arrangement of landlord paying peasant, which arose in the sixteenth century. I revelled in learning this information and was getting on very well with the Ridges & Furrows historian Dave Reeves. It has been a joy for me to carry on learning and researching history after the end of my degree to keep my brain working in the same way and keep certain skills honed.

Ridges & Furrows (1 October 2016)

Hello, my name is Danny Pedler and welcome to a blog about my first job out of university; an internship in the artsNK project, Ridges & Furrows! The project works to introduce artwork to communities in three target locations in Lincolnshire. In each location, the project researches their local, social history then, through working with both the community and professional artists, create artworks inspired from the historical research. This blog will reveal what it is like working for artsNK through my personal journey with the Ridges & Furrows project. I hope to better illustrate what it is like working in an arts administration organisation, and what the Ridges & Furrows project is trying to achieve. Enjoy!

 

In June, I graduated from Goldsmiths College, University of London with a 2:1 in History of Ideas; it was a relatively pretentious degree that was incredibly fun to study, but that I thought wouldn’t yield much in the way of a career. While looking for work across all disciplines, I applied for the role of ‘Freelance Historian’ for the Ridges & Furrows project. Despite being turned down from this job due to lack of experience, I was offered an internship, as the artsNK staff were often lacking someone on the ground to carry out a wide range of tasks. I remember getting the call in the middle of Morrisons and doing a mini fist pump. I moved from Essex to Lincoln and began an exciting, unrestricted job full of diverse assignments.

 

I had a very good first week to introduce me to the work that artsNK does. I first had an induction with the team who are based at the National Centre for Craft & Design in Sleaford. It was pretty confusing getting my head around the bureaucratic machinery of the organisation, and was told by my rather stressed inductor about the laborious task of correctly budgeting the Heritage Lottery funding for the project. After this introduction I was set to work helping in some art workshops that had already been organised in the first target village of the project which was Welbourn, just south of Lincoln. It is a beautiful community with a great agricultural heritage which became clearer as we delved deeper into the history of the village. This first section of the project employed two artists, with whom I worked with straight away, called Lyndall Phelps and Miranda Sharpe.

Their work can be seen here:

 

http://www.lyndallphelps.com,    http://www.mirandasharpe.co.uk

 

This stage of the project worked closely with the village primary school teaching workshops for their art week which included paint activities by Lyndall and metalwork with Miranda, all based on the research into the village’s history that had already taken place. I also helped the project’s historian Dave Reeves with workshops teaching local dialect to the children including words like ‘jannick’ and ‘featish’ which mean good, neat, etc. The children loved the workshops and it was really fulfilling to see new skills being adopted through a focus on their local history.

 

 

 

All in all it was a great first week to introduce me first to the machinery of arts administration but also to the invaluable work it does. I thoroughly enjoyed working with children in the schools reintroducing them to their history and teaching them new artistic skills.