Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Let’s Torque about Norwich Castle

May 8th, 2011 · No Comments

Image taken from http://www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/Learning/Norwich_Learning/Teacher_Resources/KS2_Egyptians_and_Romans/index.htm

There was a new addition to the Norwich Castle Museum Education Department’s office when Holly and I arrived that morning – a Will and Kate paper doll set. A cheery note was left next to some blank paper, scissors and a pencil: “Feel free to create your own outfit!” So naturally, Holly and I spent our lunch break dressing up Will and Kate for their big day. We even built them a little castle of their own out of cardboard. Too bad I did not think to take a picture.

Other than that exciting tidbit, my second day at the Norwich Castle was spent in much the same fashion as my first. I did some more photocopying, and get this – they ask ME for computer help. Me, the woman who has a computer that breaks down every time she tries to turn it on. Apparently, the staff in the Education Department are not too computer savvy, and so they asked me to copy several CDs for them. The disks were filled mostly with pictures from activity days, but there were other documents as well. Much to my surprise, I was actually able to copy all of the files with no problem at all. It was quite the empowering moment. I was also asked to type up some of Daniel’s (my supervisor) text for the Norwich Castle Museum’s website. I do not think it has been posted yet, but maybe someday soon.

What time was not spent on office tasks was again spent on craft preparations. We made more torques and what look to be mini torques, but I haven’t been told their real use yet, so I cannot be certain what they actually are.

So far I have been back once already since completing my hours, but I plan to continue volunteering until I head home for New York in June.

If you are interested in learning more about the Education Department or just the Norwich Castle in general click on the link provided: http://www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/index.htm

Date: 29/4/2011

Supervisor: Daniel Pounds

Time: 9:30-3:30, 6

Total Hours: 21.5

Tags: 2010 Sarah

All Access Pass to the Norwich Castle

May 8th, 2011 · No Comments

Image taken from norfolk4families.co.uk

My first day at Norwich Castle began with a tour (led by our own Holly Bowers who also volunteers there) of the museum. We walked through several art exhibits, a section on wildlife and natural history, the torture chamber, and of course the castle keep. The museum has attractions for every generation, but its focus is primarily on young children. I found as I walked through that with the exception of the art exhibits, every room took a hands on approach. There were things for the children to touch and move around, making the experience fun and educational. The museum has a classroom for visiting schools and their own museum club programs. There is even a “picnic room” for the kids to eat their lunch in.

Image taken from myfinepix.co.uk

The rest of the day was filled with run of the mill office tasks like photocopying and preparations for the craft activities. The photocopies I made were put together in pamphlets to educate instructors about the museum club activities. They talked different approaches to teaching and learning and how the museum activities strives to foster that learning. They also provided several examples of sample lessons an instructor might try to incorporate into their activities.

The crafts were more fun to do – they reminded me of things I used to do in school and camp when I was a young child. One is an origami project, so Holly and I spent a lot of time folding paper. The other project we worked on was creating torques for their “Iron Age Day” out of wire.

Of course the coolest part of the entire experience was getting my own, all access, backstage pass, swipey card to the museum. We entered the museum through the employee only entrance and the security team fitted us out with identification badges and a key card that allows you entrance to all of the staff only doors. As you can imagine, I felt very important.

Date: 23/3/2011

Supervisor: Daniel Pounds

Time: 9:30-4, 6.5 hrs

Total Hours: 15.5

Tags: 2010 Sarah

Easter at the Norwich Cathedral

May 7th, 2011 · No Comments

On my second day of volunteering at the Norwich Cathedral egg hunt, I was signed up to work with Susanne, another volunteer. She turned out to be a lovely woman, and while we went around delivering Cadbury’s finest chocolate eggs, we chatted about an assortment of things. I learned that she has two daughters, both of whom studied abroad in the States while they were getting their degrees. It was nice to talk to a British “soccer/football mom”. Working with her made me realize that although I have gotten to meet British students and teachers, I haven’t interacted very much with adults outside of academia. There is an entire generation of people we are missing out on. I wonder if that would have been different had the program involved a home stay family.

On a different note, this day was very exciting because our supervisor, Juliet, took us on a tour of the upper level of the Cathedral. This section is not open to the public or even to most members of the church, so it was a great privilege to be invited. We got to walk right underneath the big stain glass windows, so close that I could touch it. We also walked right onto the organ.

As we walked along each wall of the Cathedral, Stephenie and Juliet explained the significance of a lot of the architecture and some of the more intricate designs. There were carvings in the wall, most of them dated, and we made a game of trying to find the earliest ones. It’s rather mind boggling to think of all that history wrapped up in one building.

Date: 13/4

Supervisor: Juliet Corbett

Hours:10-3 (5)

Total Hours: 9

Tags: 2010 Sarah

Volunteering Episode IV: The One That Should Have Been Called A New Hope Christian Centre

February 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

My time tonight helping out at the New Hope Christian Centre’s youth club was fairly ordinary. I arrived and waited for the kids to get there. Once they did, we played the game we had played in previous weeks, involving one of the kids blindfolded while trying to hit the other kids with a pillow as they ran by. (Makes more sense if you see it.) I found this kids’ club to be a little more chaotic than previous ones. We had quite a few more kids then normal, which made the level of volume throughout the evening considerably higher. After the kids got bored of the first game, we took a quick snack break and then headed outside to play a quick game of manhunt. By that time, the kids’ club was over. We then cleaned up the room and set it up for the following day.

While we were playing the first game, I noticed the one kid  was listening to an Ipod Touch as he ran around the room. First, I have to wonder why a thirteen year old needs an Ipod Touch to begin with. Second, the fact a kid coming the club had an Ipod Touch seems odd. Not out of the ordinary, mind you. I’ve volunteered with after-school clubs and the like in economically deprived areas before, and there always seems to be an odd prevalence of Ipods, Nintendo handhelds, expensive sneakers, and the like that just seem out of place. In fact, these kinds of things seem to be more prevalent in lower income areas than middle class ones. To see this trend in England as well confuses me yet again. To be fair, I do not this kid’s specific background. However, the Ipod brings up a lot of questions concerning how people in different economic situations choose to spend their money.

Before taking me back to the Village, Duane stopped by a family’s house with some food. I waited in the car a bit with his wife Claire, as he had told her he was going to read some Scripture and do a little prayer with them. I do not know the details of this visit, and felt uncomfortable asking questions for the sake of privacy. However, it was interesting to see another little way how the New Hope Christian Centre is interacting with the community, particularly in a way that is more overtly Christian than what I have experienced at the club. On the drive back, I thought about all the different little ways in which the Centre was probably making a difference.

Volunteered on 03/02/2011

From 18:00-20:00

2 Hours: Total of 8 Hours

New Hope Christian Centre

Supervisor: Duane Elkins

Tags: 2010 Andrew

Volunteering Episode I: A New Hope Christian Centre

January 14th, 2011 · No Comments

Picture obtained from: http://www.yourlocalweb.co.uk/images/pictures/17/13/new-hope-christian-centre-norwich-168780.jpg

After arriving in Norwich last semester and settling into the routine of classes, I found myself looking for something to do in the surrounding community. Upon seeing the list of places where student had volunteered the previous year, I was intrigued by the opportunities presented by the New Hope Christian Centre Youth Club. At the time, I knew I wanted to write a paper about some aspect of the National Curriculum, and this seemed like an opportunity to work with kids whose day to day classes were affected by the program. Also, the religious nature of the organization, as it is run through a local Norwich church, made it seem like an ideal fit. After talking to Duane Elkins, the leader of the youth club who also serves as pastor for the New Hope Christian Centre and as a LEA appointed school governor at the nearby Lakenham Primary School, I knew that the club would be a great volunteer opportunity.

The New Hope Christian Centre Youth Club is run on Thursday nights within the church of the same name, located in an area of Norwich called Lakenham. Lakenham is an impoverished area suffering from high illiteracy rates, crime and other issues. Noticing these problems in their community, Duane and his church have been working for years to reach out and provide support in any way they can. The youth club is part of a larger organization started by the church known as Community Action Norwich. For a little over ten years, Community Action Norwich has been working to serve the community though different community clubs, lunches, literacy programs, classes and the like. The group has worked to make strong connections with those in Lakenham and make a difference in people’s daily lives.

As a branch of Community Action Norwich, the youth club  focuses on kids in Lakenham, aged from 5 to 12. Every Thursday,evening  the church opens its door for arts and crafts, dodgeball, ping-pong, and other games and activities. The goal is to give the kids a healthy community to connect with, provide a little bit of structure, and also give them a place to be instead of the streets. As a volunteer there, I help with set up, play with the kids during the club, and then clean up afterwards.

As a Christian organisation, the group is motivated by faith to help address the issues seen in the community. The primary goal of the church is to serve and reach out in the hopes of creating relationships. From those relationships, they hope questions concerning faith and Christianity will present themselves, and their faith can be shared through these organic opportunities. However, their first goal is to help out the immediate apparent needs in the community as they feel the Gospel calls them to do. It is very much the “preach the Gospel, if necessary use words” approach. As someone who is very passionate about their faith and is interested in both how to share that and how to use that in service opportunities, it will be interesting to observe how the church and Community Action Norwich work in the area, and particularly if there are any differences to their approach than my experiences in the United States. Duane is originally from Texas, so it has been and will continue to be interesting to get his perspective on British culture as a Christian.

I am looking forward to continuing this volunteer experience as a way to reach out to the community and learn about Christianity, education, and poverty in the UK on a very micro level. I will tell you more about my experiences during the club in my future blogs!

To learn more about the church and various programs it runs, click here.

Click here to see information about Community Action Norwich.

Volunteered on 13/01/2011

From 18:00-20:00

2 Hours

New Hope Christian Centre

Supervisor: Duane Elkins

Tags: 2010 Andrew

The Farmhouse: Where we didn’t blow!

May 21st, 2010 · No Comments

Tonight we went to The Farmhouse (farmhouse-norwich.co.uk) on Colman rd. for their weekly Thursday night pub quiz. This pub, unlike all the others I went to on my pub quiz quest, is far from off the beaten track as it sits on the corner of two major roads and is on the 25 bus route (I am sure every Dickinson student knows which pub I am talking about). Consequently, many people were at the quiz as many people can see the sign advertising the quiz outside the pub every week. This also drew in a diverse age range of contestants.

Like the first two quizzes, the Farmhouse pub quiz cost a pound per person to enter. There were 3 normal rounds, a paper round, and a surprise bonus round. We did rather well on the paper round (it was a list of 6 letter words with the first three letters missing and you had to figure out what each word was), we got all but one answer correct (we didn’t get emb-ryo). The three normal rounds were a quite a bit more challenging as they were all pop culture questions and did not include any other subjects. Fortunately my teammates proved to know a lot more about pop culture than I did, and we didn’t do too badly. The final surprise round consisted of a bubble blowing contest; each team selected one team member to go up to the bar and attempt to blow 3 bubbles. I was selected to blow the bubbles for my team and I used my three tries to blow the largest bubble as the quiz master made all sorts of jokes about my ability to give a good ‘blow’… it was hard to focus on blowing bubbles and not to laugh. At the beginning it seemed as though I was going to win, but at the last minute the last competitor (who obviously had a LOT more gum in his mouth than the amount allotted for the contest) blew a massive bubble and I was knocked down to second place.

Overall in this pub quiz we did not suck or rather ‘blow’ but actually did pretty well. Like all the other quizzes, this quiz had a unique aspect that drew in the customers and kept them coming back. The Farmhouse had a prime location, a very kind staff that had quite a few jokes up their sleeves, and a unique bubble blowing round that set it apart from all competing quizzes.

Tags: Rebecca

The Beehive: where we Americans were a not so welcome novelty!

May 20th, 2010 · No Comments

Yesterday a large group of 8 Dickinson students, an English friend, and I headed over to The Beehive pub (www.beehivepubnorwich.co.uk), just off Colman Rd. After waiting for the bus for a half hour we gave up and decided to walk to the pub. We got there five minutes till the quiz was supposed to start and were happy to find that the pub was quite crowded! We split into two teams and struggled to find tables and seats.

Finally! A half hour later the pub quiz started! The first round was rather simple and a lot easier than all the other pub quizzes I had been to. The second round was a picture round where there were pictures from films with the actors’ heads missing and you had to guess what film it was from. The last round was a bit more challenging than the first round but was still quite a bit easier than the other quizzes this week. Most of the questions in the first and third round were a nice balance of general knowledge questions: some being on history, geography, and literature with a few pop culture questions here and there. This did not give any group or age group an advantage. However, there were quiet a few “American” questions that were certainly in our favor.

The quiz master was happily surprised to find that there were two teams of Americans in the quiz yesterday. He was curious where all of us were from and surprisingly knew quite a bit more about each city and town than one would expect. He even knew the capitols of every state (impressive considering my flatmates thought New Orleans and Philadelphia were states!). He apparently teaches a ‘football’ (not sure if he was referring to American football or English ‘football) camp in the United States and had traveled around quite a bit.  We were fine with him asking us questions about the US however, he may have crossed the line when he announced to the entire pub that there were two teams of Americans present at the pub quiz. Every time an American question came up he announced that it was in our favor, and this did NOT make us popular with the other teams! There were numerous indistinguishable grumbles and jokes starting or ending with “those Yanks”. We had invaded THEIR territory and we had better not win!

Fortunately we did not win (neither team did) but fell somewhere in the middle. If we had won I don’t think the locals would have taken too kindly to us and may have kicked us all out on our bums (refraining from using a more appropriate but profane word). If you want to be thought of as a novelty, feel completely out of place, get put on the spot, and receive numerous evil glares this is the pub quiz for you fellow Americans! In all of the months that I have been in this country never have I felt like such an outsider/invader!

Tags: Rebecca

The Rose Tavern: They give you sweets!

May 18th, 2010 · No Comments

Tonight Kim, Sarah, and I went to another pub quiz in the Norwich city center. The Rose Tavern (rosetavern.co.uk) was a bit off the beaten path and was a real local’s pub! The drink prices, though it was not far from Unthank Rd. or the St. Stephens St. bus stop, reflected its obscurity. When we first arrived I was happy to find that the pub was already quite a bit fuller than the Micawbers Tavern. It was also quite a bit larger and had a larger age range of customers.

I soon discovered that the Rose Tavern is the place to go in Norwich for pub quizzes! In fact, their quizzes are so popular that they have a quiz night every Sunday and Tuesday night, while most pubs only have one once a week or once a month. Tonight there were 40 people, and according to the pub masters (yes they have 2) “it was a quiet night”. Apparently, their Sunday quizzes are often quite a bit larger, with well over 50 guests. Why is it so popular? As my above title suggests, they give you sweets! Every team that participates in the pub quiz, whether they come in last place (like us) or first (first place also gets drink vouchers), gets a bag of sweeties at the end of the quiz! This gives makes everyone feel like a winner and motivates those who are losing miserably to stick around a bit later (potentially buying a few more drinks of course!) This also reflects the English compulsion to cheer for the underdog!

As I said above, overall we didn’t fair too well points wise. Many of the questions were either too English (we don’t watch the East Enders or Rugby) or too manly for us three girls (there was an entire section on planes, trains, and automobiles after the current events round that included a lot of sports questions). However, the team judging us (a young couple) took pity on us and gave us a couple more points than we deserved (again cheering for the underdog). During the quiz many of the ‘usuals’ had a good time ‘taking the piss out’ of the quiz masters, challenging his answers left and right and screaming out the ‘correct’ pronunciations of words and names.  I highly doubt such rowdiness would be socially acceptable in many other English social atmospheres.

After the quiz I spoke to the two rather attractive and young quiz masters about their experiences running quizzes. I asked them how they got so many people to turn up and they said that they took a look at the prizes distributed at other pub quizzes in Norwich and topped them with their numerous sweets and generous drink vouchers. Unlike the last quiz master, they seemed to be a bit more entrepreneurial (as well as younger) and were into it not just for the fun but also for the money. They told me that though two loyal teams tend to battle it out on Tuesdays, Sundays were a bit more up in the air and weren’t consistently any one team. They also explained to me that some people take their quizzes quite seriously and create teams that go from pub quiz to pub quiz throughout the week competing, and these individuals sometimes even compete in National competitions. Last week I would have thought this a bit odd, but after two this week I can see how they could become addicting! Our team left the quiz with a sense of satisfaction, for those questions we did answer correctly, and a bag of sweets in hand! We also enjoyed getting out into the community, supporting a local business, and the company of friends; what more could be better? Ok winning would be nice… but that’s not what pub quizzes are really about!

Tags: Pubs · Rebecca

My first pub quiz in the Norwich city center… or shall we say ‘centre’

May 16th, 2010 · No Comments

Today some friends and I went to the Sunday night pub quiz at the Micawbers Tavern (www.micawberstavern.com) on Pottergate, up the street from the Bird Cage. None of us had ever been to, or even seen, this pub. We arrived at 7:30 anticipating a crowd of people ready to participate, however there were only 3 people there when we arrived and one of them was the barman. Despite this I courageously walked up to the bar asked about the quiz and explained my project to the barman. I was told that there would, in fact, be a quiz if more than 12 people showed up to participate. Unfortunately, at the bar I was also met by and old ‘friend’, a older man I had met at another pub months ago who took a particular interest in me being that I was American and a “pretty girl”. After listening to his racial slurs and tales about his time in America in 1976, I slowly shifted my way back to the table.

My friends and I briefly discussed the effect that the recession had on pubs. My English friend said that before the recession many pubs exclusively served beer and that pub quizzes weren’t as common. However, he said the recession and pressure from chain pubs like Weatherspoons forced them to try and stay afloat by adding food menus and quiz nights. Pub quizzes are often held on slow nights of the week, like Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and they are meant to bring in business that wouldn’t otherwise be there.

Soon after completing our discussion some more people arrived for the quiz and the barman was kind enough to introduce me to them, making my job of approaching the standoffish Englishmen a LOT easier! He introduced them to me as the team that almost always wins, alternating with one other loyal team. These two older men have attended the pub quiz at Micawbers Tavern and have attended pub quizzes in general off and on for they couldn’t remember how long. They told me that before they started going to Micawbers for the pub quiz they attended the pub quiz at the Rose Tavern, which I will be going to later this week, and they said that it had become too repetitive and that the quiz master got all the questions offline. They said that the Micawbers pub quiz was more interesting and more of a challenge than others they had been to. I thanked them for their information and wished them luck in the quiz and went back to the table.

I was soon approached by a member of another team, after dodging my old ‘friend’ as he tried caressing of my hair (EEK!). This women said she and her friends had just left the Rose pub (not to be confused with the Rose Tavern) and came to the Micawbers Tavern for a quiz that they liked more. She said that the Rose played too many new songs and that she and her friends weren’t good at naming songs before 2000. This was when we realized that we were not the target age group of the Micawbers quiz and that we would probably do miserably.

As she left the table the quiz master came to collect our money (one pound per person) and to distribute the answer sheet and picture round sheet. We immediately noticed that though we may not fair very well during the quiz, we would at least be entertained by our humorous quiz master. He was obviously not there for the extra money, but he instead really enjoyed being a quiz master.

We did quite well on the picture round of the quiz (they were pictures of Disney characters), however it went downhill from there. There was a brief moment of satisfaction when he listed 5 literature questions in the second round (two of which were dealing with 19th century writing, the period I am studying in one of my classes this semester). In the picture round and the first two rounds we got 25/60 points (2 points for each correct answer and one point if half the answer was right). Then the fourth round was the music round… and that did not go so well! We got 3/20 points on that round and were way behind our older competitors. The fourth and last round was unlike any round I have played at the Union pub quiz, it was a cryptic puzzle round where questions 1-9 hinted at the answer to number ten. The second question was “the name of the American Arizona football team and the St. Lewis baseball team are the same, what is the abbreviated nickname for a player on either team?” I was sooo happy I had watched the playoffs last year and knew that the nickname for player on the cardinals was a ‘card’. Another question asked for the name of a fish in the ray family and I guessed ‘skate’. By the time we got to question 10 we had no idea what these words had in common, the quiz master tried helping us out a bit because we were new but it was hopeless, we had no idea. We later found out that the answer to question 10 was “board” because each answer became another word when ‘board’ was added on the end, so there was ‘cardboard’, ‘skateboard’, ‘scoreboard’, and etc. I thought this round was incredibly clever and perfectly demonstrated the English fascination with words and puns.

After the quiz the quiz master approached us and told us he was also going around to a bunch of quizzes and writing a review of them in a local paper. I found this quite interesting and asked him what he had learned so far, he described one of the places he had been to  and explained its good points and its bad points. I asked him how long he had been a quiz master and he said about 4 years and that he got into it when there was a change of ‘landlords’ and his friend, who was related to the person buying Micawbers Tavern, recommending him for the job.

Overall, I really enjoyed this pub quiz, even though our team came in last place. The Quiz master had us in stitches all night and I really liked the last round once it made sense to me. I would go back again, especially if my parents were able to come and visit.

Tags: Pubs · Rebecca

More Radio Talk.

May 8th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Yesterday, I was given the opportunity to go back to Future Radio and spend a little more time at the station.  After communicating with Tom Buckham again to try and reschedule after missing our original day (due to volcano ash) I was invited to come into Jasmine’s Friday morning “Community Chest” program from 10am-12pm.  Jasmine described the program as a venue for lots of listener feedback and conversation through online messaging as well as a show, typically packed of in-studio guests.  Being the morning after the general election I was excited to sit in on a show with what I anticipated would be very full and debate/discussion based.  But, when I arrived at the station everyone on staff was disappointed to discover that the internet was down, meaning that Jasmine’s show would be missing a huge part.  Additionally on this particular Friday, there was only one scheduled guest (two members (father and son) of a Brazilian band who are playing at Norwich’s “Shake Up”, the Norwich Pride warm up event, scheduled for next weekend.  It was great to hear the two drummers play (very loudly) in studio, it really woke me up, and now I’m thinking of going down to check out the event to see the full band as well as the other acts.  I was also fascinated to learn more about the 2nd Annual Norwich Pride event happening July 31, 2010.  Along with discussing “Shake Up” there were two pre-recorded pieces about the Norfolk & Norwich Festival.

Later in the show a local police officer came in (rather unexpectedly) to discuss the efforts the police department are making to prevent racial crimes in the Larkman area, near the radio station.  A brief segment, but it, along with the other guests really opened my eyes up to all of the events and activities that happen in Norwich that I don’t even know about.  It made me regret not taking more advantage of the activities this past year, but also made me excited about attending upcoming activites, especially some of NNF, during my final weeks in Norwich.

At the end of Jasmine’s show, Eamonn Burgess, the host of the next program “The Sight of Music” (a station aimed at playing music in film and television) came in and allowed me to sit in on his show as well.  During Eamonn’s show another presenter at Future Radio was waiting for the results of the North Norfolk election to be announced, so he called in and there was a “breaking news” feature with the live results of the elections.

It was fun to sit in and talk on-air with both Jasmine and Eamonn. I don’t know how many of you have sat in on 4 hours straight of radio (without actually being the one on-air, controlling the music, buttons, fade, etc) but it’s not as exciting as it sounds (and it’s not the first time I’ve done it).  Sitting and talking to people who volunteer at the station and live in the Norwich area was great, and helpful for my paper, however I look forward to my next extended time at a radio station being back in the states working on promotional events (a little more up my alley).

Tags: Amanda