Through the Looking Glass

Project details:

The Black Country region is an area rich in cultural heritage and, during the 19th Century, was one of the most intensely industrialised areas of the nation. This industrial past gave rise to a number of art forms, crafts and skills that were known throughout the world.

This workshop enabled participants to learn about the history of the Black Country and, more widely, the West Midlands, and each day of the workshop focused on a different aspect of our local history.

With our worldwide reputation for glass making having its roots in Stourbridge and Dudley, participants witnessed artistic techniques in glass blowing and visit the recently restored Redhouse cone; the last remaining glassmaking cone in the world.

Participants also visited the Black Country Museum for a ‘canal art’ session where a leading canal artist guided the group through the history of the folk art style. Participants were able to paint their own piece of art to take away with them.

Another day of the workshop was spent visiting Lichfield where participants engaged in a tour of the city and had the opportunity to visit the birthplace of Samual Johnson, author of the 18th century 'Dictionary of the English Language'. Lichfield is also home to Darwin House, the 18th century residence of Erasmus Darwin (grandfather to Charles Darwin), and Lichfield Cathedral which has a long and fascinating history dating back to the 7th century.  

We also ran workshops throughout the week with the following topics: Pottery in the West Midlands (with a visit to the Wedgwood Visitor Centre), Japanned ware (with a visit to Bantock House Museum) and saddlery in Walsall (with a visit to the Leather Museum).

The workshop, as a whole, provided delegates with a rich and diverse experience of the Black Country region. Delegates were invited to research their own local history before arriving in the UK to allow everyone to share their own experiences and promote intercultural understanding.

  • Start date: 19 May 2013
  • Duration: 1 week
  • Project number: 2012-1-GB2-GRU13-08338

For more information please contact:

Rachel Henley  rachel.henley@wlv.ac.uk