By Joanna Shaw
Yesterday the Manchester Children’s Book Festival, with support of Greater Manchester Higher, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester, were delighted to host a teacher networking event to coincide with the launch of the 2016 Festival launch.
Teachers of all age groups, from primary through to post-16, were invited to join Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, academics from both universities and representatives from many of our Festival cultural partners to find out more about how the Festival can support teaching and learning across the curriculum over the coming year through workshops, inset sessions for teachers, competitions and projects.
The event saw a host of museums and businesses from in and around Manchester take part and display their upcoming events, from museum exhibits to performance poetry groups.
Kirsty Mairs, Learning Manager at the People’s History Museum, explained how networking evenings are vital for the community. She said, “I think it’s really important for cultural organisations to have a forum to be able to meet teachers, to tell them about what we can offer, how we can help them deliver the national curriculum. For us, it’s always been the ideal opportunity to meet teachers.”
When asked why these events were an intergral part of the festival, Creative Director of the Festival Carol Ann Duffy said, “A major influence on any child’s life is their teachers, so an event like this is completely supportive of the teachers, that will then feed back to the children. Particularly, from my point of view, a love of reading and writing is a great thing to add to a young life.”
Talks for the teachers focused on a multitude of subjects that ranged from reading film, Readathon presenting how to create a class full of readers and the Manchester School of Art’s Peppered Moth project.
All stall holders and event managers were eager to encourage teachers to visit and inspire their students. Bernie McGrath from John Rylands Library said, “The library brings in around 4000 school and college kids visiting the large series of workshop events we host. Our most popular workshop is a creative writing session.”
As well as information for teachers, visiting students were also treated to a talk in the Starlab, a giant inflatable planetarium in which they learnt about constellations and the solar system.
Mandy Coe, poet and supporter of the Festival, said, “It’s about people being able to get together socially through the arts and share each other’s enthusiasm, passions and ideas, and to showcase the talent that is in Manchester. It’s a very powerful thing. It’s like the centre of a lovely powerful web that vibrates out to the rest of the year.”
Missed the event? Visit the Manchester Children’s Book Festival for the full programme of events. You can download the brochure here.