The youngest pupils to take part in Lancaster’s Facing The Past project have enjoyed a full day working with three professional artists.
Year 4 pupils at Moorside Primary School learnt more about Lancaster’s involvement in the slave trade through art sessions run by Nayna Lad, Venessa Scott, and Katie Eggleston-Wirtz.
Facing The Past is a new project funded by Arts Council England, which aims to reflect, reveal and redress omissions in the way Lancaster has so far commemorated its role in the transatlantic slave trade.
It is a collaborative project between Lancaster Priory Church, the Judges Lodgings museum, Lancaster Black History and arts, heritage and community organisations including More Music.
The sessions at Moorside took place at the end of Phase 1 of the project which has included workshops in three other schools and community workshops over the past two months.
Moorside teachers had wanted to adapt their current history curriculum, which included studying the Pendle witches, to incorporate the slave trade as an example of another group of people who suffered oppression in the past.
During the Facing The Past sessions, children created art with renowned public artist Venessa Scott who has appeared on CBBC’s Colours; artist and poet, Katie Eggleston-Wirtz; and Nayna Lad, an art and design teacher.
Geraldine Onek, a Moorside teacher and founder of Lancaster Black History, said: “I don’t think any of us could envisage how successful this project would be and that within a few short months we would have worked with four schools delivering history, art workshops as well as including school visits to the local museum.”
“Many schools have contacted us since and are keen to be involved and we hope to make this available to all local schools in the near future.”
As part of the project, a Slavery Learning Resource is being created for schools so that the subject can be taught in future lessons.
Now all the workshops have ended, Lancaster Priory Commissioning Group, which is steering Facing The Past, is discussing how to take the project forward in 2022.