The Digability Project will be funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund for three years. It allows people to take part in an archaeology dig where they would not normally be given the chance.
The project is run across different locations in the Yorkshire and Humber region and will enable 300 individuals to learn new skills and uncover Yorkshire’s historic past. These individuals include adults with learning and physical disabilities, mental health service users and members of black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
An event was held on 9th May at Leeds Museum Discovery Centre, where participants from the Osmondthorpe Resource Centre and the Mariners Resource Centre for adults with physical impairments showed some of their archaeological finds.
The WEA has worked in partnership with these centres for a number of years providing opportunities for their service users to socialise and learn new skills. Among the historical finds displpayed was a coin from the 1977 Queen’s Jubilee, a stash of coins found in France in World War 2, a series of fossils and an old decorative spoon.
The event was introduced by Biddy Coghill, WEA Organiser who outlined the aims of the project and explained that the learners are doing a 20 session course with the first ten sessions focussing on theory and the second ten sessions focussing on field visits. Then, WEA tutor David Weldrake, pictured above, went through what the class had been studying and pointed out that the learners bring their own knowledge and skills to the sessions
The course aims to get the learners to make sense of the world they live in. Using archaeological evidence and their own knowledge and experiences the learners will build up a picture of how people would have lived in the past; what environmental and geographical factors might have influenced the decisions they had made; their art, crafts and skills and the materials sourced and used; trade and trade routes and people migration etc.
David Fletcher, The Senior Care Officer from the Osmondthorpe Resource Centre commented “This project along with other projects we are involved in with the WEA has given me the opportunity to see learners really grow.”
For more information on WEA courses in the Yorkshire and Humber area click here.