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Miscellaneous Events

mural of wildlife at shandy hall

Observations/Transformations 2014-15

When Laurence Sterne published Tristram Shandy in 1759, another creative thinker, Carl Linneaus was enlightening the world in a different way with his classification of the natural world. He was described by the writer Strindberg as ‘a poet who happened to become a naturalist.

Observations / Transformations is a creative project which takes inspiration from close observation of the natural world. Unlike butterflies, moths are often unfamiliar insects due to their largely nocturnal lives. We see them pinned and displayed in Victorian glass cabinets or encounter them as unwelcome summer guests inside the house, attracted by electric light and an open window but we often fail to see their real beauty.

Shandy Hall and York Museums Trust formed a partnership to bring moths into focus. A programme of moth trapping, which has been running at Shandy Hall since 2005, is part of this practice of observing, photographing, identifying and recording live moths in their natural habitats and then safely releasing them.

Trapping took place throughout Summer 2014 in both the Yorkshire Museum Gardens and Shandy Hall Gardens to show how remarkable, extraordinary and beautiful moths are – to help a greater understanding of their largely invisible presence. Many species, previously unrecorded have been discovered including a rare micro-moth never before seen in Yorkshire. To that date over 350 different species of moths had been identified at Shandy Hall, some of which may have ancestors among the nineteenth-century Allis Collection specimens on display in the Exhibition ‘A Kaleidoscope of Moths’.

During the project students from Goldsmiths University London worked with students from Yamanashi Prefectural University in Japan in creating Haiku based on moths.

The project culminated in a multimedia performance with music, poetry, and readings at York University.

See Performances 2015

Free partnership events took place at the Yorkshire Museum including Haiku workshops, nature illustration and moths.

Poetry by Heart - Continuous Professional Development day for teachers - 2013

Poetry by Heart CPD Days

These CPD days offered participants the opportunity to work with contemporary poets and other specialists skilled in sharing the purpose and process of committing poetry to memory – and reciting it. Participants will work with a poet or other expert to develop their own skills and practices in reading poetry aloud, as well as exploring new/revived practices for teaching poetry.

The Shandy Hall evening

In association with the National Association of Writers in Education

Free – but places must be reserved.

Shandy Hall welcomed participants to an after-school event exploring poetry and memory. Shandy Hall, the former home of the 18th-century writer Laurence Sterne, is often referred to as the birthplace of the modern novel. Today it continues to play host to a wealth of adventurous initiatives, including this event in the Poetry by Heart programme. Patrick Wildgust, the curator, and Paul Munden, a poet with a long and close association with Shandy Hall, together presented an intriguing range of mnemonics to help you grasp how poems can be endlessly and pleasurably recalled.

Paul Munden – Director of the National Association of Writers in Education. His poetry has been published by Faber and in the recent book, Asterisk, a collection of poems taking their inspiration from Shandy Hall but bringing the whole process of personal memory into the mix.

Patrick Wildgust  – the Curator at Shandy Hall, where he has set up ground-breaking educational projects, enabling schools to use the Hall, its artefacts and environment as inspiration for new, creative work.

The Shape of the evening

The core of the session – a workshop facilitated by Paul and Patrick, leading to a group recitation of poems. Participants worked with a small sample of the poet’s own work along with poems from the Poetry By Heart timeline anthology. This was to support practical exploration and experimentation with the idea of reading aloud as an act of interpretation. There was also space to consider the relationship between recitation and more dramatic modes of performance.

The day was enhanced by time to talk to a member of the Poetry By Heart team about all aspects of the project and the competition. We will also consider the evidence for the value of poetry performance and memorisation, drawing on recent research and other publications. There will be a pack of materials to further inform and inspire your teaching. Refreshments were provided.

The Rationale

The central idea underpinning Poetry By Heart and these associated CPD days was that poems are written to be spoken and heard (as well as read and written about). We are interested in developing more embodied classroom approaches which free up enjoyment of poetry to a wider constituency of students and a more expanded mode of engagement. This is a central concern for high quality teaching and learning in this area of the curriculum, as well as offering young people a pleasure and resource for life.

National Insect Week - Cryptic Crossword by Araucaria- 2012

National Insect Week Cryptic Crossword 2012

To mark National Insect Week Shandy Hall commissioned a special crossword from Araucaria  (RIP) of the Guardian newspaper

The crossword is cryptic and had an appropriate theme and an appropriate prize. It can be downloaded here

Eugen Gomringer - A Day Out at Shandy Hall with Eugen Gomringer- 2011

Eugen Gomringer
Eugen Gomringer

Reading and presentation by Gomringer, together with informal conversation at Shandy Hall. With guided tours of the Hall, opportunity to view the exhibition ‘The Emblem of my Work’ and lunch at Coxwold Village Hall.


Giving Offence - Martins Wainwright and Rowson in conversation - 2011

Giving Offence cherub Rowson
Giving Offence cherub Rowson

Giving Offence* is a talk and discussion on the contemporary political cartoon – how it works and why it matters.

Martin Rowson is political cartoonist for the Guardian and is the author of several books including: The Illustrated Tristram Shandy, Stuff, F**k, and the soon to be published graphic novel of Gulliver’s Travels.

Martin Wainwright
is Northern Editor of the Guardian and the author of True North, The Coast to Coast Walk and A Biography of the Morris Minor. He also keeps a moth blog.

Coxwold Village Hall.

Supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund.

Once more with Feeling - International Conference on Re-enactment - 2008

An international conference on re-enactment took place at Shandy Hall, 15-18 October 2008. A collaboration of academics, filmmakers, curators, and visual artists interested in the relations between memory and re-enactment and the imaginative relationship between past and present participated in seminars, lectures and garduate workshops.

This was based around Tristram Shandy’s Uncle Toby and Corporal Trim (the first war-gamers). Corporal Trim used re-enactment of the Seige of Namur as therapy to help his master recover from the trauma of injury.

The Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past (IPUP) organized the 6th International Conference on Re-enactment in collaboration with WUN (World Universities Network), Australian National University, Canberra, University of Sydney, Vanderbilt University, U.S.A., and the Laurence Sterne Trust.

See the conference programme Conference programme [pdf file].

Thomas Newton -Wings of Time film - 2008

A film of the village of Coxwold based on a text from Tristram Shandy, by Thomas Jerome Newton.

Watch the film below.

Wings of Time hourglass
Wings of Time hourglass

“A passage from The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (Volume IX chapter 8) is the spark of inspiration for this visual exploration of the perception of time. In my previous work Flatland and Wingbeats, I had treated time as physical matter rather than an abstract concept. Here I turned my attention to the village of Coxwold where Sterne lived whilst writing Tristram Shandy, and especially to St. Michael’s church where Sterne was appointed vicar in 1760.

Physically affected by its people, animals and weather, the Coxwold of today and Sterne’s Coxwold co-exist as time becomes as tangible and visual as the cogs of St. Michael’s clock. The ‘light clouds of a windy day’, the twist of a lock of hair, the dance steps of children or a fallen leaf trapped in a stream – through these images we can experience time from a different angle and break our perception of it as a linear phenomenon.”

Commissioned by The Laurence Sterne Trust with funding from Renaissance Yorkshire



A Cock and Bull Story - "official unofficial" film premiere- 2005

Stephen Fry playing the Carator 'Patrick' filmed at Shandy Hall
Stephen Fry playing the Curator ‘Patrick’ filmed at Shandy Hall

The film of Tristram Shandy directed by Michael Winterbottom was released this year. Curator Patrick Wildgust had helped in an advisory role during the making of the film, part of which was shot at Shandy Hall. The official (unofficial) world premier (or first screening) was shown in the Village Hall, Coxwold!  Michael Winterbottom was special guest.

There were competitions – Name the Cock (Cockerel made by Coxwold Pottery); Guess the weight of the bull (courtesy of Turnbulls’ farm) . . .

Read review of the event in The Independent and article in The York Press

See flyer for the event here

Michael Winterbottom and Andrew Eaton talk about the making of A Cock and Bull Story

Georgian Puddings evening - 2004

Georgian puddings
Georgian puddings

A cookery demonstration on Georgian recipes and georgian puddings. Followed by a visit to Shandy Hall dining room, table set in Georgian fashion, to eat the puddings!