In the Autumn of 2007 young people from Silvertown, East London enjoyed a unique, hands-on art and archaeology experience engaging with their perceptions of the past and its meaning to them in the present as they discoved the heritage of the River Thames and the Royal Docks.
'Take Me To The River- Silvertown," was part of the Ports of Call project organised by London East Research Institute at the University of East London (UEL) working in partnership with Artaeology, a consortium of artists and archaeologists. The Year 6 pupils from Drew Primary School went ‘fossicking’ on the Thames foreshore with archaeologist Andy Brockman and artist Helen Marshall, looking for objects to form the basis for art and creative writing workshops at the North Woolwich Old Station Museum. The children also spent several days at UEL’s Docklands campus to learn about computer-aided design in the ‘MAGICbox’ laboratory. The resulting prints were shown at London City Airport in early 2008.
The children have made plenty of interesting archaeological finds, including pottery and bottles made by local companies, a perfectly preserved clay pipe made in Plumstead around 1840 and what are probably Diwali lamps and Hindu cobra’s which have been ritually placed in the river by members of the local Hindu Community.
The project combined digital imaging techniques, archaeology and storytelling as an exciting tool kit, exploring new approaches to children’s learning about art, their archaeological heritage and the sustainable environment.
The project engages with peoples’ perceptions of the past and its meanings to them in the present.
There was a motor bike and it was coming from China on a cargo ship about 18 years ago. Unfortunately the boat crashed and the toy floated up the sea and somebody found it. It was a kids favourite toy so he took it everywhere he went. One day he went on a boat and was running. he fell over and dropped it into the water and as all the boats and fish have nibbled it and gone over it in time it lost one wheel and then another and it ended up on the river Thames .
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