Story of Schools Project 2020

Artwork to Celebrate Dales Schools and Youth – The NASH and Dales Countryside Museum.

We are busy making a giant community photo mosaic celebrating youth and schools in the Upper Dales! 

Do you live in the Upper Dales? Did you go to school here?

We’d love to see your pictures about what youth in the Dales means to you. Photos can be vintage or modern and feature landscape and buildings as well as people, and artwork and drawings are great too.

The mosaic will be created by digital artist Helen Marshall of The People’s Picture whose most recent work was ‘Rainbows for the NHS’. 

Helen Marshall of The People's Picture in front of 'Rainbows for the NHS'

Helen Marshall of The People’s Picture in front of ‘Rainbows for the NHS’

It will consist of 1,000+ pictures of youth and school life in the Dales that will come together to create a whole new image. Hundreds of photos for the mosaic have already been submitted, but we hope that you – the Dales community – will bring forward many more.  We would love you to take part! 

Members of the public can participate by uploading their images to the project directly at until 15th November 2020.

The artwork is part of The Story of Schools in the Upper Dales – an oral history and research project funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund

It will be displayed in a multi-media exhibition at Dales Countryside Museum opening on 30 January 2021, including the big reveal of the mosaic alongside a short film, display boards, audio recordings and artefacts.

Education Officer Heather Hodgson says: ‘With local schools and the wider community we’ll be collecting as many photos, pictures and drawings as we can. Dig out your old photos, take a new snap, draw a picture, get creative! Despite the Corona pandemic, with digital technology it’s super easy to participate by taking photos on phones and uploading them online, it only takes a moment.  We can’t wait to see what people come up with!’.

West Burton Primary School c.1953

The People’s Picture are experts in visual storytelling and bringing communities together to create, celebrate and own their unique legacy. Previous photo mosaics have ranged from ‘The Face of Suffrage’ marking the 100th anniversary of British women getting the vote to ‘The People’s Moon’, a giant lunar artwork across Times Square and the Kennedy Space Centre, and ‘Rainbows for the NHS’, an interactive ‘mosaic of hope’ made up of thousands of pictures submitted to The People’s Picture during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Artist Helen Marshall says: ‘I am proud to be creating artwork for such a special location and community. It is fantastic that our work is exploring and engaging with rural communities and I am looking forward to discovering some of the unique stories and photos that shall unfold as part of the project. I am also especially excited to be visiting and working with The NASH and Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes, and cannot wait to see all the wonderful creative imagery that is generated from the community and schools.’

In October, Education & Outreach Officer, Heather Hodgson, visited three primary school playgrounds with actor Mark Cronfield, who was in the character of a Victorian teacher, and a film crew from the Barnard Castle-based Howell Film. They re-enacted old playground games with year 5/6 pupils and talked about Victorian school life with footage captured on camera. Due to local school federations, the three sites encompassed a total of six schools: Hawes, Reeth & Gunnerside Federation and Bainbridge, Askrigg & West Burton Federation.

In 2021 Covid-permitting, we’ll be working alongside Upper Dales primary schools once more – inviting groups to The NASH for some immersive Victorian classroom sessions and working with Key Stage 2 either in person or via Teams/Zoom to explore their education heritage.

‘The Story of Schools’ artwork will be on display at Dales Countryside Museum from 30 January to 21 April 2021, and will also feature as part of Swaledale Festival.