Workshops in schools on a theme of Lost Words

Contributed by Lost Words Dorset


Lost Words Dorset was lucky enough to get a grant from Dorset AONB's Sustainable Development Fund to run nine artist-led workshops in schools between October 2018 and February 2019.  The initiative was called 'Spring is to River', a lovely phrase borrowed from the Acorn spell-poem.

The ‘Spring is to River’ initiative led to nine artist-led school workshops being arranged for children and teaching staff based on the theme of The Lost Words.  Participants were invited to use creative writing, speaking and visualisation techniques to express their emotional and artistic responses to The Lost Words and to the nature and landscapes around them.  The three artists demonstrated how The Lost Words could be used within the school curriculum and encouraged children to find their own connections and to follow their own interest. 'Spring is to River' worked alongside the school staff in planning and implementing the workshops to ensure it has local relevance and resonance, and fits within the schools’ own interests, priorities and values.

The workshops were held at Salway Ash Primary School, Sticklands Primary School in Evershot, Stoborough Primary School, Marshwood Primary School, Gillingham School, St Mary’s Primary School in Thorncombe, St Mary’s Primary School in Swanage, Blandford St Mary’s Primary School and Holy Trinity Primary School in Weymouth.

The work created by children during these workshops, and from other schools working with The Lost Words, has been used to produce a small touring display that will be taken to schools, libraries, literary festivals and other local celebrations of place in 2019.  The purpose of the touring exhibition is to generate more interest in the current and past language of places and landscapes, encouraging people to talk about it and to share it across the generations.

Material collected during the workshops, and from other schools that have used The Lost Words in or outside the classroom, is also being showcased on the Lost Words Dorset website and will be used to encourage others to contribute their own words and language related to the landscapes of Dorset.

Artists, who are known nationally for their work with schools, were commissioned to lead the workshops namely Martin Maudsley (story-telling), Iain Green (Wildlife Wonder - exploring outdoors with a camera) and Natalie Guy (who specialises in mosaics).  Iain Green's thoughts about these worksops can be found here.

Lost Words Dorset is grateful to Dorset AONB's Sustainable Development Fund for helping the 'Spring is to River' initiative to reach so many children.