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A BEACON OF LIGHT
Intern Insights: September 2022
Amy Outterside joined Newcastle Cathedral in July 2022 as our Schools Learning Intern. In this article, she writes about some of the skills and experiences she’s gained already.
History and heritage are fascinating subjects, and Newcastle Cathedral encapsulates both; you can trace the history and development of the city through the stories and monuments found in the Cathedral. Before joining Newcastle Cathedral as a Learning Intern (Schools) I worked as a lecturer at a North East University following my PhD in History, during which I also gained some experience volunteering with heritage learning teams at various historical sites in the North East. These experiences prompted a career change to learning and teaching in the heritage sector. The internship programme at Newcastle Cathedral is coinciding with an exciting time for the Cathedral, following its £6m transformation by the Heritage Lottery-supported Common Ground in Sacred Spaces project. The Cathedral is, of course, a major place of worship but also more than this: a living community, a visitor heritage destination, and a place for the community to come together whether for learning, inspiration, art and culture or for sanctuary.
Since joining the Learning team in late July 2022, I have already gained valuable insights and experiences into the operation and management of a heritage site and how to run an effective and engaging learning programme. I was able to acquaint myself with the fascinating history of the Cathedral, take one of the Cathedral’s popular Lantern Tower tours and familiarise myself with the Cathedral’s existing engaging Schools offer in preparation for the return of schools after the school holidays.
I have been lucky to have an opportunity to engage directly with the public, helping to run the family Dragon Hunts in the Cathedral over the summer. The Cathedral has a wealth of dragons and other fantastical beasts hidden within its walls and furniture, a hit with both curious children and adults alike.
Planning for the months ahead has been a key part of my internship so far; we have an exciting Autumn ahead! With the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the Laing Art Gallery in September, we are running Gospel-themed school workshops throughout the autumn and are hosting a series of events linked to their stay in the North East. Although it was high summer, we have been busy planning for Christmas; this has helped me gain experience of the importance of long-term planning at heritage and religious venues. I have been involved in planning a schools Christmas workshop and a family Christmas craft event and gained some experience in how to market the Cathedral to schools and how to increase our visitor numbers.
Going forward, I am looking forward to welcoming schools into the Cathedral and delivering school workshops and other learning events. I am hoping to utilise my existing teaching skills to engage children with the history of the Cathedral, the city and the Lindisfarne Gospels.