A community history project is to explore the relationship between the parks and green spaces of Nottingham and the changing local communities through a series of exciting, free events this summer.
‘The Social World of Nottingham’s Green spaces’, which is led by the Universities of Nottingham and Derby, looks at the changing social and cultural uses of a number of green spaces across Nottingham including the Forest, the Arboretum, the General Cemetery, Church Cemetery and some of the other areas formed during the mid-19th Century.
People of all ages in Nottingham are invited to take part in the programme of events that are aimed at engaging with the local community and celebrating the historical importance and social heritage of the city’s green spaces.
Engaging with history
The project is being led by Professor John Beckett, Dr Judith Mills and Dr Jonathan Coope from The University of Nottingham’s School of History, along with Professor Paul Elliott from the University of Derby.
It is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the team has also worked closely with a number of community partners including Nottingham City Council.
One of the upcoming events will see the Nottingham Green Spaces team and partners working with Andy Barrett, Artistic Director of Excavate, an association of theatre professionals, to produce a dramatic production based upon the co-produced research findings of the first project on Nottingham’s green space which took place in 2013 and 2014.
‘Love Parks Week’
Dr Judith Mills from The University of Nottingham, said: “This striking and unusual community history project will have major benefits for local residents, park users such as families, sports groups, students, and visitors and clearly shows the importance of promoting and preserving these precious public parks for posterity.”
Andy Barrett, Artistic Director at Excavate, said: “Breathing Spaces' is an energetic, witty and informative promenade performance that charts the changing uses of these green spaces over the last 170 years. Lasting around 70 minutes, and in the company of over twenty community performers and musicians, the audience will be led on a journey through the Arboretum, the Forest, Queens Walk Rec, and Victoria Park, where they will encounter a host of colourful characters and key historical figures.”
The play, called Breathing Spaces, will be performed during national ‘Love Parks Week’ between 16 and 24 July, at Queen’s Walk Recreation Ground (16 July), The Forest Recreation Ground and Victoria Park (17 July) and The Arboretum (24 July)and by a cast of community partners and volunteers.
Peter Hammond from Hands on Our History will be introducing 21st-century children to the games played by their great, great, great grandparents in a series of Victorian Children’s Games sessions. The events, taking place at The Queen’s Walk Recreation Ground on 16 July, The Arboretum on 24 July and Central Library on Angel Row on 16 August are suitable for children aged five to 13 but they must be accompanied by an adult.
Beautiful urban green spaces
The Children’s Discovery Trail around the Arboretum, taking place on 31 July, will help children and their parents to discover more about the wonderful surroundings of one of Nottingham’s most beautiful urban green spaces.
Nottingham’s Historic Green Spaces is an exhibition that will be hosted by the Local Studies Library on Angel Row from 3 August to 30 August. Using pictures, film and the written word, it will celebrate the spaces created by the 1845 Enclosure Act and reveals something about why they were created, where they are located, how they have been used, and in what ways they have been developed and adapted over time. There will also be talks, children’s games and a poetry ready.
As part of the events, people living, working and studying in Nottingham are being encouraged to take part in a poetry writing competition, penning poems about the city’s green spaces and the writer’s own experiences of the parks and open space. Poets submitting their entries before the closing date 1 August are in the with the chance of winning three prizes of £150, £100 or £75.
For a full programme of the events coming up including specific timings, or for more general information, please visit the website www.ng-spaces.org.uk
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