Monday, May 13, 2019

Hobby Horses, Makerspaces, and Digital Literacies

Group displaying their completed horses.
Last week Dale and I led a hobby horse workshop as part of the SSHRC Conference on Makerspaces and Digital Literacies. The goal of the conference was to engage in scholarly discussion around how making is central the way that people practice literacies in their own lives. These can be both tangible and intangible objects and are very relatable to material cultures.
Pieces the horses together.
The aim of the conference was to consider how making and literacy can come together through the use of material culture to engage communities with concepts of citizenship. This conference also focused on how makerspaces can be developed in interesting and innovative ways through cultural institutions such as The Rooms and The Geo Centre.
Finishing touches.
As part of the conference Dr. Anne Burke asked Dale to give a presentation on intangible cultural heritage, and the work of the ICH office. We also led a very quick hobby horse workshop for the participants who came from different places around the world. Participants from the UK were familiar with hobby horses, and those from Finland recounted stories of a different breed of hobby horse which are ridden instead of worn. (If you want to learn more about the hobby horse revolution in Finland click here to watch a short video clip.)
Trimming up his chin.
For those who weren't familiar with hobby horses Dale gave an overview of the tradition and some of the mischief the horses were likely to get up to while mummering such as snapping clothes, stealing table clothes, turning off lights, and "eating" snacks. We split the group of fifteen into three smaller groups and led them through the process of creating and decorating a hobby horse from this template. The group had a lot of fun and were creative in the decorating process with one team adding braces to their hobby horse's teeth. If you want to learn more about hobby horses check out the Mummers Festival page, or keep your eye out come December and take in one of the hobby horse workshops offered by the festival.
Dentistry work.

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