The Lichfield Festival’s ASPIRE programme for Learning and Participation was established in 2009, with the aim to offer unique engagement opportunities for the residents of Lichfield and the surrounding areas. ASPIRE aims to engage individuals of all ages in activity which inspires, raises awareness, increases self-confidence and expands creative thinking.
Over the past 7 years the ASPIRE programme has worked with thousands of individuals in schools, community groups and partner organisations to achieve these aims. Projects are curated by the Festival team, and are unique to Lichfield Festival.
The development of this unique project series since 2009, has earned the Lichfield Festival a strong reputation for producing high quality learning experiences and has lead to a focus on community involvement being central to the Lichfield Festival.
The ASPIRE! Programme works with an array of children, young people and adults each year on a range of arts projects, culminating in showcases at the Lichfield Festival and Lichfield Literature Festival.We are always keen to hear from schools, community organisations and individuals who would like to get involved in our projects. We also have an open application process for artists and facilitators looking to join our pool of project practitioners.
To be added to our schools list or for other ASPIRE! enquiries please contact [email protected]
Following the success of last year’s Animal Puppetry Parade this Lichfield Festival will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landings in style with a space themed parade which will navigate the streets of Lichfield and exhibit stunningly enormous puppet structures created by Schools and Community groups throughout Lichfield (and beyond) ably assisted by our Artistic partners Festive Road. The Parade will feature a specially commissioned Bicycle Powered Orrery as well as gigantic planets, rockets, stars and other space themed objects all made from recycled materials from Plastic Bottles and Newpapers to broken machinery.
The aim of the project is to help those who take part in the process (as well as those who attend as spectators) to foster a greater understanding of space and science through Arts engagement.
The Lichfield Festival Space Parade will take place from 6pm starting on Bore Street on Saturday 6th July. Public workshops in Space themed puppet making will take place in Three Spires Shopping Centre throughout the day.
As part of ASPIRE 2019 we are thrilled to be welcoming Dr Sheila Kanani – Sheila is the Education, Outreach & Diversity Officer at the Royal Astronomical Society. She is a planetary physicist, science presenter, secondary-school physics teacher and space comedian!
Sheila will be meeting local school groups to talk about her fun children’s non-fiction book Space on Earth – an entertaining and fascinating look at space and the untold relationship with the planet we live on. The book is full of amazing facts about everyday innovations inspired by space travel and sections on the people who brought them to us.
The session will help children not only to feel the awe and wonder of the universe, but also to understand the reasons why space is relevant to us here on Earth.
In 2018 the Lichfield Festival worked with isolated elderly groups, in particular those suffering with dementia and mental health problems, helping them to share memories of journeys (whether they were physical, mental or metaphorical journeys in their lives). These memories were documented via audio and visual recordings and in a large mural created by participants.
In February 2019 we visited Blackwood primary school with award winning children’s author Ross Montgomery who lead and exciting day of writing workshops to help inspire the young people to write with use of the aforementioned collected memories as a stimulus. The young people were encouraged to use the collected memories to ignite their imaginations and particularly develop how they use sensory and emotive descriptions to bring their stories to life. The short stories developed were celebrated and shared in a World Book Day Assembly on Thursday 7th March.
The 2019 Hear My Voice Scheme will encourage the inter-generational fostering of relationships and inspire an investment in literacy from young people.
Community Puppetry Parade
The Community Animal Parade was a large community parade through the City Centre on the first Saturday evening of the Lichfield Festival, Saturday 7 July 2018. The parade was a visually-arresting community event which finished off the first big community day of activity at the Lichfield Festival Market.
Working with professional puppetry companies, schools and community groups from across the West Midlands created giant animal puppets that processed from the City Centre to Lichfield Cathedral ahead of the performance of Noye’s Fludde (Noah’s Ark). The parade also featured masks and hand held puppets created by members of the public in workshops throughout the day as well as stunning puppets created by the professional puppetry companies.
The performance of Noye’s Fludde featured music by the students from Chetham’s School of Music, joined by aspiring musicians from the local area. It was sung by a children’s choir of over 100 voices, drawn from schools across the region.
Hear My Voice
The Lichfield Festival’s Hear My Voice Scheme is an ongoing programme of work, which aims to engage with isolated groups and individuals across communities where there is little arts exposure and with those who struggle to find a means or platform to express their ideas and opinions.
Using storytelling and group-work textile arts activities in 2018 the scheme fostered conversation and understanding which lead to personal relationships and networks which will continue to move forward following the project. Participants worked towards creating a patchwork storytelling tent using screen printed fabric and filled with the sounds of the participants stories.
From September 2018 the completed Storytent will be offered out on tour to schools, to inspire ideas for creative writing in Children.
Trench Brothers is a heritage, puppetry and music project for primary school children, which explores the histories of ethnic minority soldiers who fought for the UK in the First World War. HMDT Music’s project offers participating schools up to a term’s-worth of work that is fully integrated in to the curriculum and which includes a series of workshops with professional artists. The project builds to a performance of a new music theatre piece by Julian Joseph and Richard Taylor bringing all elements of the workshops together.
The Lichfield Festival and HMDT Music, in partnership with the National Memorial Arboretum brought the Trench Brothers project to Staffordshire for the first time. This was the only performance of this project within the Midlands area and for the first time in the project’s history, the final performance did not take place in individual schools but at the National Memorial Arboretum itself.
The Lichfield Festival worked with a range of schools from across Staffordshire, to foster cross-cultural awareness and in hope of developing long-lasting links between them.