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With the launch of the Young Maritime Creatives secondary school scheme, Hull Maritime are excited to share the work of Sirius Academy West who have been piloting the project for us.

Here is Chris Willmoth, Community and Schools Learning Officer talking about a new project working with local secondary schools to raise awareness of Hull's maritime history.

Our connections with Sirius West came about as the result of a happy accident. Earlier this year, as we were reviewing applications for our community grant scheme, one project caught our eye. Julia Willis, director of Creative and Performing Arts at Series Academy West, and her team had put together a proposal for a creative project that gave their students a wonderful opportunity to engage and take ownership of their local maritime history through art, music, drama and dance.

Unfortunately, schools were ineligible for our community grant but, as we read the application, we realised what a perfect opportunity this would be to spread the reach of Hull’s amazing maritime past with a new younger secondary school audience.

We got in touch with Julia to ask if the school would be willing to pilot a creative secondary school project with us and this has since become Young Maritime Creatives. Thankfully they agreed and, although it is still early days, Sirius has continued to exceed our expectations and surprise us with the scope and innovation of their project. Julia explained why the support is so important to the students:

“So it's part of our job as educators to kind of help [students] to understand more about their own heritage and the city they live in. So hopefully [the project will] not only inspire their artwork, but develop their own sense of self.”

Julia also described how the Hull Maritime funding was helping Sirius West achieve this.

”Its enabling us to get the resources to really develop our work further and create some really exciting artwork.”

Engaging with over 300 students directly, both in formal lessons and through extracurricular activities, the project has allowed students to engage with all things maritime. For example, the project has allowed significant development of an existing Year 8 art and Design Scheme of Work based on the Phillip Larkin poem ‘Here’. Inspired by the line of the poem “grim head-scarfed wives”, students are studying the history of the Headscarf Revolutionaries and the Triple Trawler Tragedy and will design and create their own silk headscarves. Alongside this, drama students are developing a devised theatre performance and dance students are choreographing a piece on the same story. This history is of particular relevance for those at Sirius Academy West as the school sits within sight of Hessle Road, the heart of Hull’s fishing community. Cally Prichard, a drama teacher at the school explains:

“The focus has been very much more on much more tightly talking about the heritage of Hull and the fishing industry, its maritime History and having those conversations and helping the kids to understand how it links to them and potentially their family history as well”

As well as the creative pieces, the staff and students will be presenting their work at a community event taking place at the school to stitch the headscarves together and create a large collaborative textile art piece. At this event, there will also be a maritime photography competition and a sea shanty performance. Year 8 students told us why they think the community event is a good idea:

“I think [the community event] is really cool because not only do we learn more, other people will also learn more through our work.

As you can see from our photos, students at the school are throwing themselves into the project and the Hull Maritime team are really looking forward to seeing more of the students amazing creativity as the project progresses!

If you would like to find out more about the Young Maritime Creatives project or know a school who may like to take part find out more here.

Students have got involved and created their own reactions to Hull's maritime history
A range of platforms can be used