WW1 Centenary features in arts workshop programme 

Artistic workshops marking the centenary of the end of the First World War will feature in a new activities programme.

The Cultural Spring’s Autumn programme will include sessions on exploring the literature of the ‘War to end All Wars,’ while other sessions will provide people with the opportunity to create textile pieces to commemorate the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.

Writer Carol Cooke will lead the literature workshops, entitled In Flanders Field after the First World War poem written by Canadian Major John McCrae.

“The tragedy and enormous losses endured in the First World War inspired some of the most famous – and moving – poetry ever written. The war also provided the inspiration for books, stories, films and plays and during our four weekly workshops, we’ll be looking at the varied literature that came out of such horrific experiences,” explained Carol.

“My grandad fought in the war, at Arras, but didn’t talk about it much which was a common trait among those who did return. I think the centenary has prompted an increase in interest about the war – just look how popular the brilliant Tommy statute is in Seaham.

“You don’t need to be an expert to attend the sessions, just have an interest in discovering, talking and sharing,” she added.

The Exploring Literature: In Flanders Field workshops will be held from Thursday, October 18 to Thursday, November 8, from 2pm to 4pm at Westoe Crown Community Hub in Westoe Crown Village, South Shields. All are welcome and there will be a charge of £2 per session.

The five Textile: Armistice 100 sessions will be led by artist Alizon Bennet, who worked on a previous Cultural Spring project for the national Processions initiative that created banners to mark the centenary of some women getting the vote.

Alizon will again be working with textiles and materials, but this time her sessions will be producing decorative bunting to decorate a commemorative tea party.

“Whereas the Processions workshops were about us working together to make a banner, these sessions will enable people to concentrate on making their own individual pieces of art. We’ll talk about themes and then let people get on with creating their own bunting. I’ll be on hand to make suggestions and help teach people new textile techniques,” explained Alizon.

“People might be inspired by themes around peace or the role of women in war – or they might be inspired by local stories from the First World War such as the heroic tale of John Simpson Kirkpatrick, the Man with the Donkey, the South Shields man who saved so many lives at Gallipoli,” she added.

The Textiles: Armistice 100 sessions will be held each Saturday from Saturday, October 6 to Saturday, November 3, from 11am to 1pm at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery. There will be a fee of £3 per session.

The Cultural Spring’s Autumn workshop programme also includes opportunities to get involved in playing the ukulele, creative writing, ceramics, calligraphy, printmaking and glass fusing. Activities take place in a range of venues across South Tyneside and there is a small voluntary contribution for the majority of the sessions.

To book your place on any of the activities, email booking@theculturalspring.org.uk or call 0191 427 8197. Places on many of the activities are limited, so it is advised to book early to guarantee a place. All ages are welcome, but under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult.