Tottenham students star in historical short filmA youth-led media project is celebrating the benefits of canals, rivers and wetlands
Tottenham students are exploring the history of the River Lea in a new short film.
Written by Amario Allen (a mentee at youth organisation Aviard) Markfield Memories follows a group of young people who visit the Markfield Beam Museum, before being transported back in time. The film was produced and edited by year two media students from Big Creative Academy and stars year nine students from Harris Academy, Tottenham.
Upon arrival in 1884, the characters meet the Wood Siblings, who tell them about the importance of looking after the River Lea and standing against climate change. The Wood Siblings are based on the Wood Brothers, John and Richard, who built the remarkable Markfield Beam Engine between 1886 and 1888.
The film comes as phase two of a joint project between the Canal and River Trust (CRT) and the entrepreneur Amani Simpson (founder of the youth organisation Aviard Inspires). The project aims to encourage people living near urban waterways to learn about the canals that pass through their communities, and to encourage diversity amongst those who engage with the trust.
During phase one, Amani worked with teachers at Big Creative Academy in Waltham Forest to co-design a curriculum for year-two media students. During workshops, they learnt about the history of the Markfield Beam and the benefits of being near water. Students then created visual pieces exploring how canals and wetlands can boost health, community and wellbeing post-lockdown. The group with the best pieces was awarded £1000 for their personal development.
“It was the highlight of their year,” said Amani. “That was a real benefit. It showed the students that this place is on your doorstep and that you should really be involved and be interested in it.”
Following the success of phase one, the CRT and Amani extended the initiative to young people from Tottenham. The media students hosted a film workshop for year nines at Harris Academy in June, during which they cast several young actors for Markfield Memories.
“It was a real collaborative effort. There were elements of peer mentoring from the media students as they became the teachers,” said Amani. “The media students had creative control over the manifestation of the project and did this outside of school in their own time.”
Big Creative Academy and Harris Academy Tottenham are planning to re-engage with the CRT on new projects this year
To watch Markfield Memories and read more about the initiative, vist aviard.co.uk/canalrivertrust/