Great North Run Culture and Tyne & Wear Museums

Great North Great

Great North Greats – An ambitious cultural collaboration

In early January 2015, Thinking Space was commissioned by the Great North Run Culture as part of the ‘Great North Greats’ project. In celebration of the millionth runner to complete the Great North Run, this project supported primary school children from seven different primary schools to explore their local heritage inspired by the enquiry question, ‘What makes the ‘Great North’ great?’.

Stimulated by the text by the award winning children’s author, David Almond, this enquiry took a creative, philosophical approach that involved questioning, reasoning and responding together. Each school worked with a different part Almond’s text exploring the big ideas it contained; ideas connected to the great people, places and periods of the North. The schools were supported by Tyne and Wear Archive and Museums, whose learning officers lead workshops and hosted visits allowing the children to explore their chosen ideas in more depth.

The schools research and creative responses went on to inspire the work of Unfolding Theatre as they devised a performance of David Almond’s text, which wove together the big ideas, philosophical questions, and creative responses of each of the seven schools. Unfolding theatre toured the final performance to each of the primary schools and local museums where it was watched by children their families and a wider audience.

As part of the project, Thinking Space trained all museum staff, teachers and teaching assistants in philosophical enquiry so that they could approach a wide range of stimulus in a philosophical way, teasing out the big ideas, and helping the children to think critically and creatively together.

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