Workshops for schools have four underpinning themes:


Bells and their Buildings (art, design, drama)


Bells in Society (English, history, writing and speaking)


Scientific Bellringing (Mathematics, Dance)


Bells as Musical Instruments (music, sound technology)

Bells have had a place in community life for centuries and as part of our project we are exploring with schools what bells mean to society today and what contribution they can make to the lives and learning of young people

As part of our project the Heritage Lottery Fund has enabled us to offer free workshops to schools drawing on the talents of a group of four professionals who work in theatre and who are each experienced in facilitation of learning in schools and the community.

These practitioners are building a set of four workshops which can be flexed to meet the bespoke needs and contexts of each school. The broad focus of each workshop centres on an aspect of bells and their heritage as a stimulus to promote learning and social development through the mediums of design, speaking and writing, sound, and movement. Our four practitioners are working as follows:

  • Ele Slade, as lead practitioner/facilitator and project artistic lead, is running visual and spatial design workshops under the heritage theme ‘Bells and their buildings – space, atmosphere, materials’. Ele is a designer in theatre and opera.

  • Stewart Melton (writer, director, dramaturg) is running text and spoken word workshops under the heritage theme: ‘The social and cultural heritage of bellringing’. He will work with our HLF project’s local history group to incorporate old documents from the tower, parish and town into his stimulus material.

  • Bob Birch is running sound design workshops in schools under the heritage theme ‘Bells as sound - musicality, sound and shape’. He is capturing field recordings of the old and new bells which will feature in our permanent exhibition of the old bells and which he will use within the workshops.

  • Rachel Drazek is running dance and movement workshops under the heritage theme ‘Scientific Ringing – the traditional art of English bellringing’. She will explore method ringing and bell movements as impulse for performance, movement and group choreography.

We are offering the workshops in many different ways, including:


  • Four day-long workshops running simultaneously in each of the four areas above. A student would experience one theme only but in depth. This may be more suitable for older pupils.
  • Four half day workshops with pupils experiencing two of the themes across a full day, or offered to a wider group of children so that each experiences one half day workshop.
  • A carousel of 4 workshops such that each child engages with all four themes through the day.
  • Two day residencies.
  • Half term projects linked to the curriculum.

We envisage that about 25-30 pupils will participate in each of the workshops. We would be happy to discuss other ways of distributing the time and expertise of the practitioners and they would welcome discussions with staff after the sessions. 

As part of our overall project we have also undertaken to create outreach that will showcase some of the workshop outcomes including:


  • one or more temporary exhibitions of the school workshop outcomes;
  • a temporary exhibition at the Richmondshire Museum for their Spring/Summer 2018 season
  • a web-site featuring records from the project and work produced by students from the school workshops