Hidden Keighley discovery day

We completed the Hidden Keighley discovery day yesterday. Six schools trekking around the town in search of boxes which had been transformed by the children. My role has been to organise the film making element in collaboration with artist Amy Heild.

The process of making a film is a fantastic way for the children to learn so many skills and build their confidence, even a simple interview has so many elements to it. Deciding on the most relevant location to film the story, observing  & planning the shots, managing the equipment, problem solving, engaging with the interviewee are only a few skills needed.  It's particularly rewarding to pick shy children to work in front of the camera or take a leadership role and see them rise to the challenge. 

The brilliant thing about video is that you can re-take if things go wrong.  We've had some wonderful conversations about the value of being able to learn from mistakes. At first the children get embarrassed when they make a mistake but soon they're able to have a laugh about it and move on to an improved attempt.

Bringing professionalism to the way the video is filmed and edited can be a huge boost to many children. They imagine that professional film makers have none of the problems they face  – being nervous, tripping over their lines, wobbly shots and so on.  Once they realise that there are some simple techniques to achieving impressive results they begin to feel so much more confident.

We've had a lot of discussion about whether the process is more important than the outcome – i.e. that a poor quality film is OK provided that the children learn something in the process.  I'm sure that the end product is vitally important – especially for a product designed for public showing.  The buzz the children get from achieving a film that looks like something they would see on TV or at the cinema is something they can be proud of and will remember for a long time.


This is  the model of Keighley Picture House. Inside is a screen on
which interviews about of the old cinema play. Next week all the films
will be shown at the real cinema at a red carpet event  for 300 children.


This is from the film Box of Sounds in which we take this animated Victorian girl to re-visit one of the local mills.

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Hidden Keighley

This week I've been continuing the Creative Partnerships schools work. We're working on a series of films about Keighley.  There are six schools and the idea is that they each choose a person, event or place to focus their investigations. The subjects include the local cinema, a haunted pub, a bandstand, a mill, and a school. The films are to be shown at a big screen red carpet event at Keighley Picture House to about three hundred children from the six schools on the 8th of July. 

But the project is more that just film making. Each or the groups has to create a box of treasures which they are to hide in readiness for a hunt using hand held gps tracking devices and hidden clues. It will become a kind of Dan Brown quest to uncover hidden secrets in the landscape.

The ideas the children have come up with have been wonderful including a a talking photo album which tells the story of Braithwaite school, a box of industrial sounds, a life size model of a Victorian child who's revisiting the mills and a wall whose bricks come to life to tell their secrets. Keighley News

All the materials and videos from the project will go on display in a public installation at Cliffe Castle Museum.

This is an area I love. My roots are in industrial Bradford with connections to the mills on both sides of the family. My grandfather on my dad's side was a mill owner and on my mother's side I have an intriguing connection with Samuel Cunliffe-Lister which I'm trying to unravel. Samuel CL was an inventor who came up with a wool combing machine which transformed both his and Bradford's fortunes. My grandmother came from a relationship with one of occupants of Swinton Park – a place to which she was secretly taken to meet members of the family.

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