In the heart of the East End
I had been really looking forward to the migration competition launch event, throughout the planning process it was immediately obvious how attractive and relevant this new topic was going to be for all GCSE learners, and the day definitely lived up to expectations! As I approached the Londonewcastle exhibition space situated on Redchurch Street, a vibrant area in the heart of London’s East End, the setting couldn’t have been more ideal. Aside from the competition, the exhibition Call Me By My Name: Stories from Calais and Beyond was both fascinating and moving. The exhibition explored stories behind the current migration crisis, with a particular focus on the Calais camp. The exhibition opened with an impressive sculpture of 300 hand-made figures walking in the same direction, followed by an installation of life jackets abandoned on the beaches of the Greek island of Kos. Visual representations and work by camp residents, professional artists and visitors really makes the content feel closer to home.
A rich history of migration
The launch was introduced with an engaging keynote speech from Robert Winder – Author of Bloody Foreigners: The Story of Immigration to Britain. Following the speech, our attendees spent some time viewing the exhibition space and participated in a workshop on the new specifications with OCR subject specialists and Martin Spafford - former Head of History, writer of the OCR migration resources and education committee member of BASA (Black and Asian Studies Association). Martin gave a captivating introduction to the theme of migration and helped participants to get a big picture overview of the period of study by creating tabards and arranging the participants chronologically to make a living migration timeline.
After this there was time for a tour of the surrounding area. Immigration has shaped this area’s unique character over the years with influences from many cultures from the Huguenots to the Bengalis and this is very evident in the architecture of the area.
Our tour took us around the key buildings and streets, starting with Fournier Street, an area previously populated by Huguenot settlers from France, on to Sandys row Synagogue one of the oldest synagogues in the city, passing the Jamme Masjid Mosque, a place of worship that started as a Huguenot protestant church, became a methodist chapel, then a synagogue and finally a mosque in the 1970’s. On our way back to the exhibition space we passed some Jewish beigal shops at the top of Brick Lane, a throwback to the areas Jewish past.
All in all the programme and tour was fantastic and really brought the topic to life!
What our participants had to say
So far we have been really pleased at the overwhelmingly positive response to the competition. Here are a few comments from the launch.
"All the History teachers we work with through Every Voice are looking for ways to make the curriculum more inclusive and engaging for their students and the OCR module and this competition really allows them to do that." - Mona Bani, Education Director at Every Voice
“This migration competition is a good way to get the kids enthusiastic about learning history. It’s a really good idea.” – Liam Morgan, History Teacher, Stantonbury Campus
“This competition is a fantastic opportunity for students to develop their independent research skills, whilst engaging with their own past and placing it in the grand narrative of British History. I can’t wait to hear what my students’ discover...”- Clare Broomfield, Head of History, Villiers High School, Southall
Next steps for the competition
We have a very useful briefing pack which further explains the structure, timeline, judging criteria and application process for the competition. This document also includes assessment advice from OCR and some examples of what an effective competition entry might look like. This should give you everything you need to plan entries for your school but if you have any questions whatsoever please contact the competition coordinator, Migration Museum Project Education Manager Emily Miller: Emily@migrationmuseum.org
We would also love to see your submissions and internal judging competitions in the making, please share these to Twitter with the handle @OCR_History or if you don’t have access to a Twitter account please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can post them for you.
Zoe Wells - Assistant Subject Specialist - History
Zoe Wells recently joined the Humanities and Languages team, as an Assistant Subject Specialist. She will be covering for Clare Trevatt whilst Clare is on secondment to another team. Zoe moved to this role from her previous position as a Resources Creative within Education and Commercial Services. Zoe has a degree in Environmental Studies and she has an interest in International Relations. Outside of work, she enjoys yoga, and has been involved in various voluntary projects, including a UN toolkit helping indigenous communities.