Ms Ravenscroft delves into the world of embroidery...

Did you know that there are ways of making a living with hand embroidery?  Did you know that there is a degree course that focuses on hand embroidery? 

Thanks to a partnership between Norwich School, Norfolk County Council and Norwich Castle Museum, many Sixth Form textiles teachers and pupils now do. These textiles teachers and pupils got the chance to look at goldwork in detail in July 2017, in the form of two-day workshops. We caught up with Ms Nicola Ravenscroft to learn more about the workshops. 

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"Goldwork is the technique that applies gold in the form of thread, wires, plate and beads to fabric. This technique has been used for centuries and England was the home of the very best goldwork in medieval times.

Lisa Little, assistant curator of textiles with Norfolk Museums Service, showed pupils and staff around the textiles collections in the July workshops. The group looked at some beautiful samples of metal embroidery on shoes, coats and accessories through the centuries. The tour of the textile stores was the favourite part of the first day and most of the group would have been very happy to have been accidentally locked in for a week or so to explore further! Students and staff were encouraged to come back to examine anything that was of special interest - this is a free service that no one in the group previously knew about before the tour. The Castle also houses a very extensive library of textiles material, free for anyone to use.

A representative from the Royal School of Needlework gave a talk to students about the courses offered and destination jobs for those who qualified in hand embroidery. Although craft tuition is very popular, graduates work in high end fashion houses, theatre and opera, and with museums and religious bodies, designing and creating impressive hand embroidery.

The second day of the course was practical, completing a design which involved various techniques (padding, couching, chipping) and other materials like gilded leather, wires and gold threads.  This took place in the pupils' schools, and in small groups which allowed plenty of tuition time."

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40 students from Dereham Northgate, Wymondham High School, Reepham High, City College and East Norfolk Sixth Form College took part, together with their teachers.

The goldwork workshops will be offered again in summer 2018 – see Castle Museum website for details in due course.

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Head Master's End of Michaelmas Term Service Address 

As spoken by Steffan Griffiths, Head Master of Norwich School 

Thursday 14th December

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"Well, we are nearly there. After all the homeworks, Cathedral services, fixtures, practices, performances and lessons, the routine of term is almost finished and we all now deserve a good rest, a chance to choose what we do a little more, perhaps even a chance for a treat or two.

For me, one small treat that awaits is to see the final episode of Blue Planet II, a series I have been avidly following on Sunday nights during term. I am not alone; this series has been seen by up to 14.1 million people per episode in the UK and is the country’s most watched programme in 2017. If you have not yet caught up with it, I recommend it strongly. Whether it has been the octopus using shells to disguise itself from an attacking shark, the pilot whale in mourning, fish using tools to feed or Tagboy the sea lion herding tuna into lagoons of Madagascar, the stories have been engrossing. I should not be surprised if purists are disappointed by the need to portray the already astonishing footage of the natural world by turning them into human-like dramas with atmospheric music, victims, heroes and villains (I still can’t get the bobbit out of my head; if you have not seen it, think 1 metre carnivorous worm that jumps out of the sea bed to catch its prey). However, even the most dispassionate observer would have to admit that the sea otters were very sweet! And if a little soap opera is what is needed to get mass appeal and therefore broaden awareness of the mind-boggling scale and sophistication of nature, including the challenges it faces in the 21st century because of human behaviour, I say fair enough to showing crabs running the gauntlet of moray eel attacks to music which would be more common on the Horror Channel.

Even the making of it was compelling TV: jet skiing across fearsome waves to create footage of surfing dolphins; missing the one night of spawning and having to wait a full year to try again; the overhead image of many thousand turtles on a beach to lay their eggs; deep-sea footage of a toxic saline lake; chasing a hunt which creates what fishermen have called the boiling sea - these have all provided enduring images which make one grateful for the BBC. To have an institution which has the budget, expertise and public service brief to commission such series should be a source of national pride. If you think this might be grandiose, consider that 80 million people from China alone watched per episode.

I found the whole series deeply humbling as it made me reflect on human life in comparison with the creatures with whom we share the planet. Abraham Maslow was a psychologist working in the 1940s and 1950s who came up with an influential theory of human motivation. He talked of a hierarchy of needs and it is usually shown as a pyramid. In order from the bottom, these consisted of: Physiological; Safety; Love; Esteem; Self-actualisation.

A very quick summary runs as follows:

·       Physiological – these are the basic needs for survival, including breath, food, water, warmth, rest;

·       Safety – this is the area of personal and community security;

·       Love (or belonging) – these are family relationships and friendships, whether social and intimate;

·       Esteem – these are feelings of accomplishment and self-worth;

·       Self-actualisation – this is the top level which talks of fulfilling one’s potential, including the exploration of creative activity.

Maslow amended his initial thesis to add another category on the top called self-transcendence, concerned with truth and spirit. Do follow the idea up if you are interested.

I was struck by how in our community we take much of this pyramid for granted. At Norwich School, we talk a good deal about pupils fulfilling their rich potential, of exploiting creativity and it is good to be reminded that such activities are only possible because our basic needs are being consistently and completely met. I don’t want to overplay the comparison of human motivation with a natural history programme, but it is clear that much of Blue Planet II centres on the physiological and safety needs of its creatures and we know there are significant parts of the world where human beings do not have the luxury to focus on much more.

Love and esteem are complex for us; after all, we are a community with nearly 1000 teenagers, where relationships with family, peers and teachers are constantly shifting as you go through a period of rapid physiological change and psychological development. Yet it was heart-warming to see bonds of intimacy created in play by dolphins and whales, and it is precisely the similarity of relationship issues for humans in less affluent parts of the world which provides their power when compared to people in our situation.

Yet where does this take us? It certainly runs the risk of throwing people of your generation back to the age-old retort of teenagers against parents: “Well, I didn’t ask to be born/be your child/live in Norwich, etc”. I hope that series like Blue Planet II remind us of our connectedness with the planet we share and the good fortune of our situation. Our advantages in being human, in being in an affluent country, in having loving and supportive families, in having personal qualities of note, in being at a good school, and so it goes on. Being aware of such advantage reminds us not to feel that we are entitled to it and encourages us to use it to help the wider community.

I am reminded of the motto at Sandhurst, which Major David Stead told us of when he came to address us on Remembrance Day: the motto was Serve to Lead, an adaptation of a phrase from our aims that you know well. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, all at Norwich School are fortunate in their situation, so my challenge is what will you do with that as your personal theory of motivation. I hope you will have a think over the holiday about how you can serve those around you, whether in the family or in the wider community. It is through such an attitude that you will pick up the skills and approach to be the leaders of society we hope you will be, whatever you choose to do.

I wish you all a restful and enjoyable Christmas break."

Left to right: Major David Stead and Mr Bedford-Payne

Left to right: Major David Stead and Mr Bedford-Payne

NORWICH SCHOOL JOINS THE CRICKETER'S TOP 100 SCHOOLS FOR 2018

Norwich School is delighted to announce its appearance in The Cricketer’s inaugural ‘best of’ list for secondary education, entitled The Playing Fields of England: An A-Z Guide To The Summer Game’s Top 100 Schools 2018. We caught up with Mr Cawkwell to find out what this means for the school: 

What does it mean to the school to be included in the Top 100?

It really is a fantastic achievement for the school. We have been competitive for a good number of years now, but to be put in this list cements our status as one of the leading cricket schools in the area. It's a level of recognition that all the staff and pupils who have contributed to Norwich School cricket over the years should be very proud of.

What do you think makes Norwich School one of the Top 100?

For me, this is a very simple answer. The pupils, the staff, and the facilities. If we were not successful on our circuit we would not be considered for this list. The fact that we are is a credit to the pupils at our school as it is down to their commitment, desire and hard work each year. Our staff put in an enormous amount of effort and many hours for the cricket club. The passion they show is second to none, and we are very grateful for their devotion all year round. We are one of only three schools in East Anglia that has a cricket specific indoor facility that can be used throughout the year. This, on top of five very good grass cricket squares and other top training facilities, means that we have resources to help our pupils be the best cricketers they can be.

What developments has the school made that has helped us break into this prestigious group for the first time?

We have made a very successful transition to girls cricket in the last couple of years. The girls have wholeheartedly embraced this change and this year we are looking to have fixtures for eight teams in the Senior School and seven teams in the Lower School. This would have been unimaginable three years ago, so huge credit has to go to the girls for the way they have approached this challenge. We have also made good progress in the boys' National competitions in the last few years, getting to the latter stages on numerous occasions.

How do you think the Norwich School Cricket Academy (in association with Sussex CCC), can help the school to be included in the list in future years?

I think it is a fantastic partnership and we are hugely excited about its potential. The link has been set up to provide young people in this area with a clear route to an opportunity to become a first class cricketer. It has been notoriously difficult for talented cricketers from this part of the country to be given these opportunities, so it is a very exciting prospect. If the link can help one young person from this area reach the professional game then it has been a very successful venture, and one we should be incredibly proud of.

We’re now out of season for cricket, what is the cricket club doing to prepare for next season?

Our extensive winter cricket programme has just got under way. There will be approximately 120 hours of expert 1:1 and small group coaching sessions, and also around 80 hours of team sessions between now and the Easter break. We will also be running some team pre-season sessions during the Easter holidays and hopefully a few fixtures too. This will ensure that our pupils are fully prepared to have a fantastic start to the season when we have our first fixtures of the season on the 21st April.

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Remembrance in Myanmar 2017

Mr Curtis, Housemaster of Seagrim, was at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Yangon for Remembrance Sunday this year. At the service, a plaque commemorating Hugh Seagrim was unveiled by Philip Davies, who has recently published a biography of Seagrim entitled ‘Lost Warriors’. Whilst in Myanmar, Mr Curtis was also supporting the work of ‘Help 4 Forgotten Allies’, a charity, which provides a small pension and humanitarian aid to the handful of surviving veterans with whom Seagrim fought during the Burma campaign in the Second World War. If you would like to contribute to their work, please visit www.h4fa.org.uk. This is a personal account of his trip.

I sit in the Mahabandoola gardens in front of the high court adjacent to the Sule Pagoda. It is 11am on 8th November and a clock has just struck the Westminster chimes. In the 30-degree heat, I welcome the cooling breeze when it comes. There seem to be fewer soldiers and military police on the streets than when I was last here two years ago – perhaps because they are engaged elsewhere – and there are far more tourists, although the time of year almost certainly accounts for this. I reflect that Yangon is undergoing something of a transformation: new banks, hotels and office buildings have emerged, their prismatic forms contrasting starkly with more elaborate colonial architecture elsewhere. A new shopping centre is even more western than I anticipate: English writing coexists alongside circular Burmese script; outlets for artisan coffee and bread have custom; an identity parade of international brand stores lines up for inspection. I notice that there is a moisturising cream advertised, which causes me concern, as it claims not only to moisturise, but also to whiten the skin. The United Colours of Benetton display, usually known for the diversity of its models, lacks such breadth here. None of the people featured in the giant, cardboard cut-outs in the window appears to come from Myanmar. I surmise that there is at least some danger that young people here might begin to aspire to a different paradigm: western and white, pampered and privileged. I ask myself what I think about this shift. Why shouldn’t people in Myanmar seek a more plural and affluent life? After more than 70 years living under a regime dominated by the military, surely they are entitled to hope for a brighter future. How, though, should that future look?

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Some aspects of life in Yangon haven’t changed. I walk over a railway bridge towards the central station and get slapped hard in the face by the abject poverty that is the everyday reality for many residents of this city. Two men sift through scraps of rubbish discarded down the embankment. Behind them, next to the shack in which he lives, a man defecates onto the track. Further along the road, a small group of people eats communally on the pavement alongside charcoal burning stove pots, which emit the aroma of spicy, pungent food. I pause to savour the smell, but the moment is ruined by a rising thermal of stench from the drain below. A toddler cheerfully and deftly crouches over the gutter edge to wee, then runs back to resume eating with her parents. Around the corner, workmen are painting the kerbstones in blocks of red and white colour. I study their posture admiringly as they simultaneously squat, balance and paint. Suddenly I can no longer inhale. Chemical vapour latches on to my palate and my throat sticks. I now notice that all of the workmen are coughing and spluttering too, the toxin resin they apply contaminating the air they breathe and burning their senses. I escape guiltily, and flee back to a more beaten track, heading along the Bogyot Aung San Road towards the indoor market. I pass a Buddhist monk, who stands and ticks uncontrollably. A mother sits, with an unfeasibly large number of pigeons crammed into a small circular cage in front of her, whilst feeding her baby. A person with a disability is subconsciously negotiated by the flow of the crowd, as if some sort of obstacle. A python of wiring is slung over rickety bamboo scaffolding, below which a warning sign proudly proclaims ‘Safety First’.

This is the bi-polarity of Yangon: foreign sponsored economic regeneration on the one hand, an exploitative, putrid raw deal on the other. And this injustice poses an awkward question for the proponents of completely unregulated capitalism: why does development always seems to start by catering for the whims of a wealthy minority, rather than providing for the needs of the impoverished majority? Any rational person would surely accept (at the very least) that latrines are more important that luxury. This city is on the move. The Downtown area of Yangon, which broadly encompasses the grid system of streets implemented by the British in 1852, now boasts a Shangri-La hotel, new retail precincts and sky scraper with rooftop bar. Those with ready money (and there seems to be many – mostly foreign) are welcomed through airport style security by friendly guards into a consumer comatose. Commercial success is modernising this part of Myanmar, and the amount of business being conducted in hotel lobbies by overseas entrepreneurs indicates that this process is set to continue and potentially accelerate. Whether such a process will constitute progress for all or privilege for the few, however, remains to be seen. Thankfully there are benevolent, forward thinking agencies at led by dynamic, dedicated and determined people taking up the challenge. Their work would undoubtedly become less onerous, however, were big business, and society in general, to consider bottom-up investment as the only acceptable approach to development.

In a land divided by not only economics, but also race, religion and politics, one might wonder what unifying factor, if any, there is. The most immediate and tangible sign of hope, in Yangon at least, is the indomitable spirit of the people. Generalisations are often inaccurate and should be used sparingly; however, reporting that all the people on the street in Yangon seem cheerful is perhaps akin to suggesting everyone on the London Underground is grumpy: this may not be completely correct, but there is nevertheless an element of truth in it that many would recognise. One sight stands out to me as a symbol for the spirit, beauty and dignity of the people amongst so much want and pain. I am in a taxi bound for the airport. A bicycle threads its way through the detritus that litters the roadside. A woman with long flowing hair, wearing a traditional silk tunic and full length skirt sits sideways on the luggage rack of the bike, above the back wheel, behind her husband, who is pedalling. She holds-up an umbrella to shield them both from the sun, as elegantly as a duchess riding side-saddle on a thoroughbred.

 

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Previous blog:

In August 2015, Head of Seagrim House Mr Curtis travelled to a Myanmar/ Burma to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day and to remember ON Major Hugh Seagrim, after whom Seagrim House was named. Mr Curtis is getting ready to return to the area in order to attend the unveiling of a commemorative plaque to Hugh Seagrim in Yangon/Rangoon cathedral. He is collecting unwanted reading glasses to be redistributed to the elderly, with the Karen veterans of the Burma campaign now in their 90s. If you would like to know more, please visit www.h4fa.org.uk or search @glasses4myanmar on Facebook. Ahead of his trip in November the story of his last trip can be seen below:

The taxi is confronted by a stiffly uniformed military policeman tasked with hindering any further progress, so I step out of the cool of the car into the fuggy humidity of early morning Yangon. As I try to slalom my way through army jeeps and jumpy policemen as deferentially as possible, the congested, muddy road gives way to the pristine grass of the war cemetery. 

On 15th August 2015, many people gathered together to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day, and I travelled to the Rangoon War Cemetery in Myanmar/Burma and, more specifically, to plot 4, row A, the grave of Major Hugh Paul Seagrim GC DSO MBE and Old Norvicensian. Seagrim is known for his willingness to operate behind enemy lines as the Japanese advanced on British controlled Burma during the Second World War; his ability to raise a volunteer army of 3000 to surreptitiously disrupt the enemy; and eventually his self-sacrifice to protect his friends who were being executed in order to force him to surrender. What is perhaps less documented is his obsessive assimilation with and care for his soldiers, who had been drawn from the Karen, an ethnic group who were Christian and loyal to the imperial crown they viewed as paternal.

As I loiter, waiting for the service to begin, numerous and varied interested parties file in: a Burmese general and his entourage; the Commonwealth defence attaches, hot and gleaming in gold and white; a battery of photographers and journalists, pencils and Pentax made ready; diplomats, with calm smiles but eyes darting; security guards and gardeners; casual observers of this anachronistic spectacle. Had the ancient veterans not been wearing their traditional woven, blood red tabards, their arrival might have gone unnoticed (and they, the most important guests!). As the diminutive men shuffle through the gate and over the lawn, like tired imps, toward their reserved seating, it’s like a pulse leaping, throbbing life back into the day. For them, neither the names on the headstones, nor the accounts of battle read out are unfamiliar: names are friends, and battles real.  

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Annually honouring the fallen is a sombre, serious imperative, but one which causes no great inconvenience. All we have to do is polish our shoes a bit, conscientiously attempt to visualise their ordeals, recite the appointed words, keep a minute’s silence and ‘show our respect’. The elderly soldiers in the dense heat of a Rangoon graveyard represent the uncomfortable reality of remembrance however, as if we really want to show our respect to the dead, should we not ensure we care for the living? Maybe all too often we salute at the Cenotaph whilst ignoring the homeless squaddie, slumming it on the Strand.  

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After the main service has finished, the Karen veterans make their way determinedly to plot 4, row A. A spontaneous and less formal act of remembrance ensues. A Karen choir starts to sing Seagrim’s favourite hymn, in their own language, which Seagrim took the trouble to learn. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. The veterans sing along enthusiastically: they believe in a Father God who won’t turn His back on them in the way the father empire did after the war was won. Saw Berny, a 92 year old who fought alongside Seagrim gesticulates from his wheelchair about his friend: “he wore our dress, ate our food, spoke our language; he loved us”. I stand and listen to his fluent English, words only obscured by a lack of dentures, and marvel at him and his tenacity, as well as the man from Norfolk who led these warriors. Exhausted after his exertion, Saw Berny is wheeled away and returned to his fellow pilgrims. I am suddenly alone at Seagrim’s graveside, along with those of the other 1330 men buried here: in a nowhere part of a forgotten city, in an abandoned country.

The 1925 prefect board standing in School House

The 1925 prefect board standing in School House

Seagrim’s story was always inspirational and relevant, and undoubtedly a good name for a new House in an old School; his conduct in a cruel 20th century battle sets an example to the pupils and staff in a safer 21st predicament. But since visiting his home church in Whissonsett, looking at his name on the 1925 prefect board still standing in School House, travelling to his grave in Yangon and meeting the men still alive who knew him, I more keenly feel the fierce challenge of Seagrim’s example, that is, to remember actively, rather than passively. The forgotten Karen of Myanmar, who fought for Britain and her interests against tyrants are still alive and in need, as are those veterans in this country who are reeling from physical, mental and spiritual injury from more recent conflicts. We should remain diligent in remembering those who did not come back, but also better care for those who did.

Philip Davies has recently released a book, Lost Warriors - Seagrim and Pagani of Burma The last great untold story of WWII, which tells the story of Major Hugh Seagrim and Ras Pagani, who fought alongside each other. It is an epic tale of two Englishmen, who were among the most courageous and resourceful heroes of the most savage conflict in human history, yet who remain unknown in their own country. Philip will also be travelling to Myanmar next week and will unveil the plaque to Hugh Seagrim at Yangon Anglican Cathedral. The book can be purchased through Amazon here.

Creative responses to the Laurence Edwards exhibition

Writers in the school’s creative writing group, Writers’ Bloc, were challenged to write pieces inspired by the Laurence Edwards exhibition in the Crypt. The pieces were displayed alongside the sculptures and paintings, and some of the pieces were read out as part of the Artist’s Talk and Private View. The exhibition ‘Visitor’ is open until 25th November, Monday – Friday 12am – 4pm and Saturday 11am – 2pm:

 

Hugo Dimoglou – Inspired By The Work of Laurence Edwards

There was once a dark forest. You had to be an alien to find your way out. It is alive, moving and changing. Because of the little sunlight there, the dark plants learnt to live off meat and flesh. The sticks curl around your head, and tug it off.

The trees towered up to the sky, and I have to say, they are beautiful, and they lure you in. The beautiful grass is green, and the gently breeze slowly pushes you forward, making an effortless feeling of adventure.

 

Eleanor Rhodes–Leeder – The Bubble Wrap Man

Swathed in plastic sheets

To protect him.

He may look bulky now

But he’s so delicate.

And each word

Pops a bubble.

 

Beneath his armour,

He isn’t alien,

Or angry,

Just scared.

 

Of hurting himself.

 

He looks in the mirror,

Pop, pop, pop.

 

He walks down the street,

Pop, pop, pop.

 

The bubble wrap man

Crackles and pops

Like a fire

Destroying.

 

He’s protected himself,

But the people who love him

Just bounce off now.

A human bouncy castle

With all the fun drained out.

 

He’s oblivious,

Deaf.

The only words that penetrate

Say pop, pop, pop.

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Eleanor Perkins – Inspired By The Work of Laurence Edwards

Mud and leaves plastered to his head as his body, encaptured by stones, rose from the marsh. A squelch echoed through the reeds disturbing the birds from their forming nests. It was springtime and many animals were creating new homes ready for new life, however the favourites of his were the birds nests. The birds worked hard for many weeks to build their masterpieces as a sculptor spends much time on their work. They were like tiny men trafficking twigs, struggling through the week. Birds nests were special , they were the only thing that a man cannot make no matter how hard he tries. His stone body was his home, he took it wherever he went – a gypsy of the bog. Once he had fully emerged from the sodden sediment he stretched slightly and gently brushed the sticks and leaves from his shoulders.

 

Chester Dimoglou – Inspired By The Work of Laurence Edwards

Henry sat on a log, gazing upon the boy he had thrust into the hungry, raging flame of the campfire. The blaze seemed to roar like a frightened lion, like the boy did when the scorching flames licked across his face. Now look at him. His skin and flesh melted and poured down his bare skull like a wax candle.

 

Billy Hall – Man of Rocks

The roaring sirens made him fight his legs harder to run away and he didn’t stop running until they were barely audible. He didn’t know much about this strange place but one thing that was certain was that the bad place with the even worse people were not good.

As he willed himself to trail on into some dark scary woods, many blood thirst snigger dogs with even more blood thirsty armed guard’s persued on after him.

He came up to a river which made him feel safe and started to cross it the freezing water coming over his bare toes. The trees overlooking him slowly whaling, urgently trying to warn him of the danger near. “Snap!” He darted around to see the perpetration of the snapped branch was a vicious growling dog and with it were a dozen other canines with men carrying heavy rifles all pointed directly at him.

This time there was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide and there were way too many guards to take down. So he did it. Did the thing which ended him up in the bad place. There was no doubt these people were here from the hell hole to find him and bring him back. But no, not this time, no more crazy painful, inhumane tests on him, they could find another lab rat. However, that would prove difficult as there was no one else on this planet able to do what he was about to do.

Flint rocks, all jumbled along the river flew into the air and shot towards him and they stuck onto him.  As more and more did so, a heavy shell of armour was coated onto his body.

All the guards and the dogs faces turned to a bewildered look as what was the perfectly clear visual of the target was now vanished into the darkness.

“Crap!” The lead guard angrily said “He can’t of gone far” he commanded. As all the guards and their pets rushed across the river, frozen in this feet was their target. He stood there, in his natural incognito, a worried look on his face, begging the bad people from the laboratory had gone, gone for a while at least.

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Ben Ferrey – Inspired by the portrait ‘Headlong’

You reveal yourself to me

You tug at the lies you created yourself with

Soon they begin to give.

 

You are naked, on display

No longer protected by your perfect façade.

But you are an imperfect masterpiece.

 

You are sad, Alone

And you hide it between the lines

But it is beautiful

 

You put your lies back on

Wrapping them around your shame and insecurities

But it’s too late

 

All I see now

Is you, and only you

And I love you more.

 

Lola Dunlop – Bubble Wrap Man

As soon as I walked in my eyes scanned the room of intriguing sculptures and beautiful paintings, but my eyes were immediately drawn to a hauntingly strange “bubble wrap man” the perfection of the creases in the bubbles and trapped and burdened expression on the man’s face astounded me. How his body language, posture shows how he is feeling. Trapped and depressed! It’s easy to see the marks of tape and string that have been wound around the bubble wrap, encasing him. The whole structure seems to stand out against the trend of nature, but somehow fit in almost perfectly. A quote that the artist used more than once in the explanation “sucking in the nature” I assumed he was in some way sucking in bubble wrap and plastic from all the pollution. It wasn’t until I asked the artist what he was trying to portray in the piece that I fully understood. He was trapped in a sense. It is inspired partly by drunks walking late at night, wobbly, confused and not in control of his own body until the day later. The other half, the bubble wrap was fully inspired about how he kept the other sculptures moist at night by wrapping them in cling film and bubble wrap. He talked about how he wanted to take a risk and incorporate the bubble wrap into his piece. By adding the tape and string (and wire) (which I commented on earlier) he made this sculpture even stronger. I thought somehow it was completed by hand but it actually used man made materials. There are small details that were not intentional that only add to the final piece, and these are small drops of wax that come from making the cast for the sculpture dribbled down onto the body and even dripped onto the area below creating perfect drip marks. From these to the strange and slightly scary face to the lines and marks on the bubble wrap this truly is an amazing sculpture!

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Daisy Campbell – Inspired By The Work of Laurence Edwards

 

The silver skinned needles shed from complacent birch,

A paper skeleton that’s heavier than hollow bones,

Covert cupped hands encased in tree,

Hidden from rain but seeking the stars.

 

They borrow the earth and the pebbles and stones,

The twigs underfoot, and the leaves that turn brown,

And receipts that we drop, the labels and tags,

Frayed parts of garments and fragments of rags.

 

Hearts that flutter like feathers, flustered, alarmed,

Burdened by time, unburdened by weight,

Little vessels of life, perching on branches,

Holding their bricks, but better designed.

 

Their home, no craftsman can ever quite grasp,

Bliss is encroached by a desperate attempt,

Relentless marks and materials held,

Never just so, not as light or as raw,

As the little twig house, lined with moss, bound with straw.

Norwich School Presents: We Will Rock You

In the run up to this year’s school musical Morgan Hardy, who will play ‘Madonna’, gives a preview of what’s in store. Tickets are still available from www.ticketsource.co.uk/norwich-school:

This year Norwich School will perform We Will Rock You at The Playhouse theatre. Based on Queen’s greatest hits, it is a fantastic opportunity to mix both song and dance into one stage show!

Although somewhat extra, a plot line does exist in which the cunning “Killer Queen,” played by the devious Alice Beattie exterminates everything musical. Earth has been ‘transmogrified’ into Planet Mall, where everything is monotone, grey and dull. Everyone acts, speaks and goes about life in the same way. Brain dead people walking about in a haze. Everyone in this planet is much of a muchness, those who dare to be different are dealt with by the killer queen herself.

However hiding away in the depths of London city is a group of misfits! Bohemians desperate to “bring back rock and roll.’ The bohemians have a slight problem; they are not really sure what rock is. So they devote their lives to scraps of magazines featuring singers and instrumentalists to give them some clue as to what rock actually is. In the meantime they wait for “the dreamer,” they have heard about in their prophecy to restore rock once again.

In the musical I am playing “Madonna”, a likeable character and the fashion guru of the bohemians. She’s a diva and loves to find new styles for anyone joining the bohemian movement. As much as I enjoy the part, I have found maintaining the broad Glaswegian accent a ‘wee’ bit challenging. It has been said on occasion I sound more like a mad Irish woman than a Glaswegian hen. Madonna helps Saramouche find her inner rock using the power of dress.

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My favourite few scenes so far are “A crazy little thing called love,” as the bohemians really showcase their carefree ‘let your hair down,’ kind of attitude. This is a great contrast to the rest of the show in which everyone is indoctrinated, brainwashed and programmed. But moreover the song is complimented by the amazing duo of Megan Blair and Will Pierson, aka Britney Spears, that play their ‘loved up’ characters tremendously well, in a comical way, and yes you did read it correctly. Will is Britney!

Another highlight and one definitely not worth missing is where Kaggoshi, Killer Queens assistant, brain fries the bohemians for not explaining their knowledge of rock. She tortures them by electrocution and the characters endure the punishment because of their undying love of rock music. I know when you see the performance you will revel at the artistic mastery of the cast’s electrocution faces – it really is a sight to see! A zapptastic scene!

One of the things that really makes the musical is the mix match of personalities. Saramouche and Galileo, both not comfortable in their own skins, come to terms with their relationship very slowly, and are slightly embarrassed and self conscience, whilst Meat and Britney are very flamboyant throughout the entire show.

I am very much looking forward to seeing the set, which sounds amazing. But, the real buzz is for the outlandish costumes everyone will be able to sport! I think this will just be the finishing touch to a series of spectacular individual performances. A line that resonates in my ears and that may stay with me for some time to come was that of Mrs Walton, the director, asking the whole cast: “Does anyone have or know of any severed heads I could borrow….” then pausing and after absorbing everyone’s horrified expressions, quickly explained “for the wigs to go on of course!”. Not something you hear every day at NS.

As well as Kai Miller, playing Galileo, leaning out of one of the music schools top windows singing “We are the champions,” with a ukulele for the entirety of the cathedral close to hear. That’s one way to promote the show I suppose!

With only a week or so to go I can’t wait to see what the final performance looks like! The dancing is terrific and the singing is already pitch perfect! Now all that remains is to master doing them at the same time. Something, I’m told is essential for a musical!

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Playing Your Own Game

At the end of September Head of Fifth Form Mr Rowlandson gave this fantastic address to the members of the 5th Form during their section assembly:

I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook.

I love the opportunity it gives me to keep up with old friends as well as the way it lets my friends and family know what’s going on in the ‘Rowlandson Household’.

But…my love of Facebook is starting to wane.

Not just because it’s a big time waster but because without realising it, I have been falling into the comparison trap!

Before the summer, in the space of a week, I read about three friends from my year at school who had done extraordinary things:

1.       Ryan – the fly-half in my 1st XV rugby team started a company called ‘Propercorn’ a few years ago – selling gourmet popcorn. He posted a link to an article in the Financial Times which reported that ‘Propercorn’ was the 5th fastest growing company in Europe.

2.       Then Riz – who I worked alongside in the school Year 9 play and has gone on to become a Hollywood actor. Riz posted a picture of himself on the front cover of ‘Time’ magazine as he’d been named in the global list for the 100 most influential people.

3.       Finally Angie – who I remember going bowling with and playing laser quest as a teenager. Was named as one of the UK’s top 10 travel bloggers. Angela runs the Silverspoon London blog, has over 2.5 million views on Google and 23,000 followers. Angie spends her time travelling the world First Class, staying in the finest hotels and eating in the best restaurants. Talk about a dream job!

Whilst I ‘liked’ all their posts. I found myself feeling a little more inadequate and a little less confident.

I wonder if you ever compare yourself with your friends. Perhaps you think others look more attractive than you, are more built than you or dress better than you. Maybe you wish you could ace your exams or star in the school play or sports team like your friend. Perhaps you wish you had their life?!

I accept, some could argue that comparison might inspire us to better ourselves. To look at the strengths in others and set new, stretching personal goals. Perhaps. But I think more often than not, comparison leaves us feeling worth less.

Recently, however, I’ve reflected on the way in which I am not making a fair comparison.

A study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin confirmed that people are less likely to reveal their negative emotions than their positive emotions. The study found that people tend to overestimate the presence of positivity in the lives of others, while they misinterpret or fail to detect negative feelings in others. So not only is what’s being posted online an incomplete picture, we tend to distort the information we receive — a double whammy!

We therefore need a better filter to be more critical of the information we view. One reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes footage with everyone else’s highlight reel.

But is this a problem?

I believe it is. How we view ourselves in the light of comparison with others can have quite profound effects on our behaviour…

I recently read an excellent book called ‘Chimp Paradox’ written by one of the psychologists behind Team GB Cycling Team who were so successful in the 2012 Olympics. Here’s an extract from his book:

“While working with a group of medical students in a hospital setting, I tried an experiment. Several students were asked to believe they were the Clinical Director of the hospital. The students were then observed to see what they did. Most of them walked down the centre of the corridor and greeted staff and patients with a polite ‘Good Morning’ and were seen to initiate the interaction.

Then we asked them to walk down the corridor again but this time as if they were the cleaner of the hospital who was on a temporary contract and likely to lose their job very soon. This time most of the students were observed to walk down the edge of the corridor and not to engage with others they passed. The students did not know that they were being observed for behaviours in the corridor. When shown their change of behaviour based on the perception of themselves they were surprised.”

Rather than inspiring excellence, more often than not comparison leads to a lower self-esteem and a dimmer view of ourselves which can manifest itself in our behaviours.

At Norwich School we want you to reach your potential. We want you to dream big. To truly believe you could become a Hollywood actor, Entrepreneur or if you’re really lucky – a teacher.

I don’t want anything to get in the way of that – especially not your own, misguided view of yourself.

Gary Haugen the Founder and CEO of the charity International Justice Mission said, ‘Don’t allow self to destroy your dreams. It is our everyday insecurities that lead us to abandon our dreams without putting up a fight.’

As we start this year, I encourage each of you to focus on playing your own game. To worry less about how you compare to others and more about reaching your own goals. I implore you to use social media with caution and to view information others allow you to see through a more critical, realistic lens. One of my wife’s favorite sayings is:

Comparison is your worst enemy, not your best friend

Comparison is your worst enemy, not your best friend

If we remember this, I am sure we will have a happier 5th Form Community as a result.

My Year At Norwich School

Morgan Hardy, who is now in her first year in the Norwich School Sixth Form, tells us about her last year, which included taking her GCSES, as part of the Senior School:

“My last year at Norwich School started, as it has since I joined the school, in the beautiful surroundings of the Cathedral Close. It was busy, really busy, I was excited, my friends were buzzing and there was an energy amongst my peers.

We started the year with a welcome assembly in the cathedral, although a familiar place to me, it never fails to leave me full of wonder and awe.

Already there was an enthusiastic atmosphere brewing, as the annual House Music Festival, where every member of school comes together to sing in St Andrew’s Hall, approached.  Each House is pitted against each other, to win the coveted title of ‘Best House Song’. Aside from Sports Day this is the main House event of the year and brings all eight Houses in the school together. Ensembles, orchestras and choirs could showcase their talent and show off the skills they had learned.

House Music Festival in St Andrew's Hall

House Music Festival in St Andrew's Hall

 Everyone was talking about “Who in our house (Nelson) could sing, could play the piano, did we have a conductor in our ranks?”

Then there was the school committees, this year I had been chosen to be on the head of the school food committee. I believe one of the most important aspects of school life is most definitely……our tummies!

Opportunities were rife this year. But this year I knew I needed to really focus on my exams. I was determined to plan my revision and stick to it. I would spend Sunday mornings on my most dreaded subject… Physics! There- I’d made a start.

It wasn’t long until I realised there weren’t enough hours in the day to be involved with every event. I made a decision to spend more time focused on revision this year, mixed in with a little R&R. This was accompanied by involvement in one of many clubs and society’s; my choices included the Pop Choir, the prestigious Chapel Choir, as well as the green group - a society that helps educate pupils on all matters ecological.

Before I knew it Christmas was upon us and mock exams were imminent.

Our carol service took place in the cathedral, lit with candles held by over a 1000 people; it really was a sight to see, parents, children and staff all together as one.

Norwich School Carol Service

Norwich School Carol Service

It’s difficult, no it’s impossible, to forget the staff panto, which really ended the term on a high note. Seeing my chemistry teacher dressed as snow white, singing at the top of her voice was priceless.

Over the holiday I spent almost every day brushing up on my old text books, there was so much to review and so many presents to wrap! 

Mocks turned out well, but there was room for improvement. My teachers offered advice and support, afterschool clinics became part of my daily routine.

The start of 2017 also saw a singing exam, a public speaking competition and the start of the new rowing season as well as working with the Hamlet charity - a really worthy cause.  Female rowing is really growing at the school. The new girls’ rowing team was beginning to come together, we were growing into a formidable force on the water!

The public speaking competition went well, a win in the Regional Finals! Could this be a 2017 roll? Next, we had to speak at Magdalene College Cambridge! What a great day we had, and returned feeing proud to have represented the city of Norwich so well.

As the weather became warmer my revision was really hotting up too, study leave was as busy as I had ever been, I felt productive and confident around the forthcoming exams.

The time for my first exam came around, then a second, then a third until finally all 23 exams had been taken. 

Gala Night, the epic finale of Gather 17

Gala Night, the epic finale of Gather 17

After the exam period is over, the school embarks on its end of year creative arts festival Gather. The festival saw the school put on 10 different performances, celebrating the many talents of pupils here. The festival came to a climax with our Gala Night. The event had an almost ‘festival’ feel to it, with a stage and crowds all in the Lower Close playing fields. There was dancing, singing and acting all hosted by our head of school Benedict Smith. The audience made up of our parents, Governors, teachers and guests, including the Lord Mayor, laughed and sang along. I performed a sketch that I had written for the show and sang Tom Lehrer’s Elements song accompanied by my good friend Jonathan Jolly, Norwich School’s Music scholar. As always he never missed a note!

Several weeks later, results day! I found myself in a huddle with my friends in the school grounds, It was silent, no one wanted to speak, I found myself in tears, I couldn’t speak as I open the envelope.  9 A*s and an A! I felt, excited, euphoric. I had an overwhelming urge to hug my friends, how did they do? Were they all as happy as I was? There were good results all around!  I wanted to thank my teachers, I even want to hug my younger brother for all the support he had given me! 

Hard work, revision and lots of fun along the way; the winning formula. A fitting end to a great year at Norwich School that I’ll never forget.

Morgan celebrating her amazing GCSE results

Morgan celebrating her amazing GCSE results