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Colonial Countryside Children's Conference

  • St James' Church 216 London Road Leicester, England, LE2 1NE United Kingdom (map)

The first instalment of the Colonial Countryside’s Children’s Conference. 40 of the 100 primary school participants will share their findings, research and reflections of the Colonial Countryside project so far. They will be joined by writers, academics and project leads to offer a day of debate and sharing.

The children's conference is part of the free Literary Leicester festival.

What is the Colonial Country side project?

Colonial Countryside is a child-led writing and history project about National Trust houses’ Caribbean and East India Company connections. Steered by a child advisory board, this five year project assembles authors, historians and primary pupils to commission, resource and publish new writing. After successfully acquiring funding, Peepal Tree Press are looking to commission 10 authors to write about each participating house (see below). The commissioned work will be published in an illustrated “coffee table” style book containing the ten creative commissions accompanied by accessible historical commentaries written by experts in the field. Commissioned writers will give inaugural readings and appear at literary festivals and black history events nationwide.

The National Trust has over 5 million members and the commissioned writing will have a large readership. These 10 high-profile commissions are also designed to stimulate a new wave of writing about this topic. In order to resource this, the Colonial Countryside project will create a writers’ resource website, delivered by the historical team, and a massive online open course (MOOC), co-produced by children and historians. In a unique addition to the project, one hundred primary children will visit 10 National Trust properties and craft new writing, presenting it to live, print and digital audiences. They will present their work at a conference during the Literary Leicester festival in November 2018. The majority of children are of Caribbean or South Asian heritage and this project will encourage them to think of themselves as public figures who will reshape the national narrative and make this history widely known.

The participating country houses are:

1. Attingham Park, near Shrewsbury.
2. Basildon Park, near Reading.
3. Buckland Abbey, Devonshire. 
4. Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. 
5. Charlecote Park, Warwickshire.
6. Osterley Park, West London.
7. Sudbury Hall, Ashbourne, Derbyshire.
8. Wightwick Manor near Wolverhampton.
9. Penrhyn Castle, Gynedd, Wales.
10. Dyrham Park, near Bristol.

Earlier Event: October 19
Leeds Library Salon: On Creativity
Later Event: November 17
Representing Kingston