History in Process:
Wensum Junior School Launch ‘Come Yew In! 2019
Inspired by the award-winning community play, ‘Come Yew In!’ (2017), which explored Norwich’s long migration history, year 3, 4 & 5 students at Wensum Junior School will be working for the 2019 school year on developing their own version of the project.
During the Spring Term, more than 60 young researchers will be working as historians with Dr Jeannette Baxter and their teachers to research various aspects of Norwich’s diverse history of migration and sanctuary. In the Summer term, Jeannette will work with the students on the practice-based research phase of the project when, in collaboration with Duncan Joseph, Charlie Caine and members of The Common Lottheatre company, the Wensum researchers will turn their findings into creative outputs, including: songs, poetry, clay models, a showcase exhibition, and a performance on the school playing field.
The Project So Far…
The Wensum ‘Come Yew In!’ project kicked off in December 2018 when Jeannette led a twilight session with year 3, 4 & 5 teachers to introduce the project’s research methodology. Jeannette’s research into the German writer and academic, W. G. Sebald, who was a migrant to Norfolk and whose work challenges official representations of history, has allowed her to develop a ‘Sebaldian’ methodology of creative historical research for non-academic audiences, and it is one that is readily accessible for young researchers. In the manner of Sebald’s own research and writing practices, Jeannette’s creative research methodology foregrounds randomness and assemblage, rather than systematic mining, and places creativity, story-telling and the imagination on an equal footing with documentary research practices in order to make room for marginalised and ‘lost’ historical voices to emerge.
The project launched in January 2019 when Jeannette, Duncan and Simon Floyd (aka Professor Kirby-Bedon) led a school assembly to meet the young researcher team and to talk to them about what researchers do and how they will work together over the next year. An entire day of fun and engaging carousel activities followed, including walks around the historical areas of Norwich, introductory talks about Norwich’s long migration history, and drama and singing workshops, A brilliant launch day culminated in the researchers performing songs from the ‘Come Yew In!’ Songbookin front of a packed assembly hall of visitors and the parents.
The Wensum ‘Come Yew In!’ project is happening apace. Watch this page to follow project news and developments.