The education programme built around the Apollo Pavilion has primarily engaged with schools in the immediate vicinity of the Apollo Pavilion.
The programme has included opportunities for young people to visit the Pavilion and the Sunny Blunts estate on a regular basis, helping them come to see their built heritage as something living and relevant. The programme currently prioritises schools in the immediate vicinity whose pupils are drawn from the estate and the immediate locality, young people who live alongside the Pavilion.
A slideshow/talk on the Pavilion was offered to primary, junior and secondary schools in the immediate locality. This took place as an assembly with the whole school or separate year group and all have been very well received with an estimated 2,000 young people between the ages of 7 and 18 attending the talks
In addition many year groups have made school visits to the Pavilion either to work on arts and technology projects or to hear about the history of the construction.
This is the start of a process of building long-term relationships with local schools and with young people in the area. At least two of the schools have encouraged pupils to write to their local councillors asking why there aren’t any ‘brown signs’ to their Pavilion.
There have been two significant artists’ placements with poet Andy Croft and visual artist Steve Tomlinson.
Andy Croft, worked with year 8 pupils at St Bedes Comprehensive School to produce, as a group effort, a series of poems inspired by the Pavilion and exploring ideas ideas of newness – So What’s New, the future – Another New Beginning and utopianism – How to make a Model Town. The Writing on the Wall is about the graffiti on the Pavilion walls while Apollo Mission imagines that in 1969 Neil Armstrong landed in Peterlee, rather than on the moon.
Andy Croft also wrote a poem inspired by the Pavilion and which references Coleridge’s Kubla Khan, the first verse being a loose parody of its the opening. Coleridge’s poem about the imaginary city was unfinished, because he was famously interrupted by ‘a man from Porlock’. Andy’s poem draws on five different kinds of ‘unfinished business’ – Kubla Khan’s city, Coleridge’s poem, the Apollo space-programme, the old Labour Movement and post-war new towns like Peterlee. The fate of the Pavilion connects them all.
St Bedes recently hosted the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust Regional Humanities Conference and used the project as an example of good practise with the students reading their poems as an illustration.
Six of the poems, including Andy’s, have been produced distributed throughout the school and in DCC libraries and community venues.
Visual and 3-D artist Steve Tomlinson, led a series of brilliant construction workshops with Year 8 students at St Bedes Comprehensive and at Shotton Hall Comprehensive Schools, using model-making and 3D construction techniques to explore relationships between space, weight and volume.
In advance of the workshops between them the schools had already brought over 100 young people to visit the Pavilion to look at the construction and make preliminary drawings and photographs.
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