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The many faces of Michael Rosen as he entertains 440 pupils from Cambridge for Historyworks


By Adrian Curtis


Michael Rosen with pupils from various schools participating in the Historyworks event at Coleridge Community College, Radegund Road, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
Michael Rosen with pupils from various schools participating in the Historyworks event at Coleridge Community College, Radegund Road, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

Top poet hosts creative workshop at Coleridge Community College.

Michael Rosen at Coleridge Community College. Picture: Keith Heppell
Michael Rosen at Coleridge Community College. Picture: Keith Heppell

Top poet and writer Michael Rosen hosted a creative workshop for 440 Cambridge schoolchildren as part of a Historyworks project.

Entitled Rhythm, Rhymes and the Railways, the project was led by Historyworks founder Helen Weinstein. She has been researching diverse Cambridge histories to inspire poems and songs about local people and places.

Michael Rosen with pupils of five schools participating in the Historyworks event at Coleridge Community College. Picture: Keith Heppell
Michael Rosen with pupils of five schools participating in the Historyworks event at Coleridge Community College. Picture: Keith Heppell

The event was held at Coleridge Community College and Mr Rosen performed his new poem about the railways coming to Cambridge in 1845, which he did in front of hundreds of children from St Matthew’s, Ridgefield, Morley Memorial, St Philip’s and Coleridge.

The new poem is called ‘Cambridge Excursions to London and Back’.

Michael Rosen at Coleridge Community College. Picture: Keith Heppell
Michael Rosen at Coleridge Community College. Picture: Keith Heppell

He said: “I’m working in Cambridge as a kind of ‘poet in residence’ with Historyworks.

“We’ve been using history, looking and learning about the people and places of the past in a local area to inspire history. I really believe that connecting children to the past all around them is important.

Michael Rosen at Coleridge Community College. Picture: Keith Heppell
Michael Rosen at Coleridge Community College. Picture: Keith Heppell

“We can explore this history through photos, old papers, and books.

“We can write this history as poems which are personal or public, sing-song or plain, rhythmic or rhymey and it all becomes fun.”

Michael Rosen at Coleridge Community College. Picture: Keith Heppell
Michael Rosen at Coleridge Community College. Picture: Keith Heppell

“It was inspiring to see the young people coming up with hugely imaginative ideas and lyrics to write our new poem together.

“It has been very rewarding to be hosted by Historyworks, co-create with children across Cambridge and to see the poetry they are in the process of composing.

Michael Rosen at Coleridge Community College. Picture: Keith Heppell
Michael Rosen at Coleridge Community College. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Also, I’ve been moved by their words and imaginative personal take on Cambridge histories.”

Coleridge headteacher Mark Patterson added: “Having more than 400 primary school children with us, joining our own Year 7s, as history was brought vividly to life through poetry, song and movement was wonderful! And, the icing on the cake: Michael Rosen, poet extraordinaire.”

St Matthew’s headteacher Tony Davies added: “We were delighted to have the Historyworks team to come and sing with the children to learn about the arrival of the railways through song.

“The workshop with Historyworks and Michael Rosen was totally stunning, and the children got so much out of it, they were really buzzing afterwards.

Michael Rosen at Coleridge Community College. Picture: Keith Heppell
Michael Rosen at Coleridge Community College. Picture: Keith Heppell

“The walk through Victorian Romsey and across the railway bridge was very apt for a ‘Rhythm and Railway’ history-themed creative writing workshop. Michael Rosen shared his own poems with rhythm and showed the children how to write their own poems using rhythm and rhyme.

“It was wonderfully hosted by their singing and movement leaders of Helen Weinstein, Mario Satchwell and Rebecca Powell.”



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