During June the river rang to the sound of school children chattering and laughing! We were delighted to be able to offer local company Courage Copse Creatives CIC (CCC) a venue to hold two days of workshops for Chulmleigh Primary School pupils. The workshops were part of CCC’s ambitious project, Going on Taw, a storytelling and poetry project travelling the length of the River Taw in Devon, from source to sea.
The pupils received two riverside workshops. In the first they engaged in Citizen Science activities co-delivered by Westcountry River’s Trust and used their observation skills to collect ‘creative data’ as source material for poetry writing. Each pupil wrote their own 7-line poem which were in turn developed in a collaborative poem, again 7-lines long.
During the second workshop the pupils used the river to help ‘edit’ their collaborative poems. CCC wanted the pupils to have a more tangible connection with the river, rather than just taking inspiration. So, poems were given back to river to see what the Taw ‘thought’ of them. The new river-edited poems were audio recorded.
In total 58 pupils visited the river. 158 poems and 7 stories were written, 28 poems were audio recorded. And fun was had by everyone!
Going on Taw will be returning to The Fox and Hounds Country Hotel later in the project. This autumn they will be filming the physical journey down the Taw and next summer the water meadow is the venue for one of their live performances.
If you have any stories or personal reflections about the River Taw, CCC would love to hear them! Please email them on firstname.lastname@example.org and they could end up in one of their performances or podcasts!
Going on Taw is supported by Arts Council, England. The school workshops were funded by South West Water.
All photos copyright COURAGE COPSE CREATIVES CIC, ‘Going on Taw’ project