A new sensory experience map called ‘Potter and Ponder’ officially opened with a launch party at Croome near Worcester, on the 29th September 2016.
Local special schools for children with wide-ranging special needs and learning disabilities collaborated with the National Trust to create a new sensory map which takes you on a journey of different sensations such as sound, touch and smell to unlock ‘Capability’ Brown’s landscape in a very different way!
The project led by Katherine Alker (Garden and Park Manager) and Rachel Sharpe (Creative Partnerships Manager) at Croome has been described as ground breaking in its approach, co-producing the experience with a seldom heard audience.
The project was funded by the Capability Brown Festival as part of their audience development programme, and has been an inspiring project for all those involved. Ceryl Evans, Director of Capability Brown Festival, was present at the launch and spoke of the innovative approach taken by the staff at Croome to create a very different way of looking at Brown’s landscapes.
Rachel Sharpe, Creative Partnerships Manager, said:
“Being a family is tough enough these days, but life with a child with disabilities is a totally different journey - you have to face situations and decisions you never dreamed existed. Our existence, like so many other families, fell into a seemingly never ending spiral of hospital stays, terrifying diagnoses, head-scratching paediatricians and mile stones whizzing by; there comes a point where you realise you’re not just a square peg in a round hole... you're not even a peg.
In the midst of this, you are also trying to find something you can do, somewhere you can go and be a family, and this is where the idea came for the sensory trail. I'm incredibly lucky to work in one of the most beautiful places in the world, with some of the most imaginative people. Katherine and I set out to enable people to access and enjoy this amazing ‘Capability’ Brown landscape in a different way, especially in the year of his tercentenary. We wanted to work with some amazing children to make his happen, so we invited local schools to help us make our idea a reality.”
‘Potter and Ponder – Sensory Experiences at Croome’ is free to download here and printed copies of the map are available to pick up from Croome’s visitor reception.
Croome is open 7 days a week from 10am. Please see website for more details www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome or call 01905 371006.
If you would like to learn more about how the project was developed, Katherine and Rachel recorded a webinar for us to help explain what they did.
About the Author: Rachel Sharpe, Croome.