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University research inspires school pupils about migration to America

Pupils at a local primary school have been inspired by Hull’s role in mass migration to America – a focus of Dr Nicholas Evans’s research at the University of Hull.

Stories, artefacts and local landmarks connected with the important role played by Hull in the lives of those passing through the city from 1830-1914 have been used to engage the Year 4 Eagles Class at Estcourt Primary School in Hull.

As part of the Hull-based Heritage Learning award-winning Hull Curriculum, a programme which has been adopted by 41 schools in the city, this hands-on project involving Dr Evans’s research has inspired pupils to create a pop-up exhibition on the topic of transmigration.

Dr Evans, who has spent more than two decades researching migration to, through and from Hull, was delighted to work with the Heritage Learning team to provide support and content for the development of the transmigration theme, which had been selected by teachers as a key local history.

“I was able to share some of my own images of child migration through Hull to help the pupils understand the topic. I was honoured to be invited to their exhibition of their work.”

Dr Evans’s work is already familiar to many in Hull. His research on migration provided the inspiration and detail for Arrivals and Departures, a powerful and emotive projection shown on The Deep as part of Made in Hull during Hull’s City of Culture year, demonstrating that Hull’s prosperity grew as migrants arrived by sea, train and air since the 1800s.

“It was amazing to see my work projected onto the side of The Deep and I feel so pleased that we are continuing to tell the migrant story to new generations of children in Hull,” Dr Evans said.

From geography to history, pupils have spent the last five weeks looking at the transmigrant story.

Nathan Ullah, Class 4 teacher at Estcourt Primary School, said: 

“The children have loved the chance to get their hands on actual artefacts linked to this period. Usually, resources are difficult to obtain in the classroom but having access to these types of things for weeks has been a great help and embedded the learning even deeper.”

“That this is a local history has also made it more relatable for the children who have discussed how they have seen certain landmarks or passed certain buildings during their time in the city centre.”

Natalie Oldroyd, Acting Head at Estcourt Primary School, said:

“It has enhanced and enriched the curriculum and given the children the chance to explore real life sources of evidence. This has maximised their understanding of the topic and allowed them to showcase their understanding to parents, carers and the local community.”

James Stockdale, Schools Engagement Manager at Heritage Learning, said:

“The Hull Curriculum gives the children that live in the city a new perspective on the cultural and historical development of the local area. As part of the programme schools can access pop-up exhibitions to use in school. The pop-ups allow the children to investigate the Hull Curriculum key history in a unique way. It can be used across the school curriculum and allows children to develop their literacy, numeracy, social skills and historical enquiry skills while researching their key history and presenting their work at the opening of their exhibit”

Rebecca Nelson, Digital Learning Officer for Heritage Learning and a PhD student at the University, helped develop the programme.

Rebecca said:

“The Hull Curriculum is a fantastic resource for children in the city. Our online platform, that all our member schools get access to, is packed full of exciting historical resources, from Hull Museums, the Hull History Centre and other external partners including the National Fairground Archive.

“There are also downloadable classroom resources based on the historic material, as well as lots of suggestions for engaging, cross-curricular teaching ideas. The transmigration key history is fascinating, and showcases Hull as an important centre for people across Europe on the search for new lives around the world. Through the related pop-up exhibition, the children at Estcourt have been able to get hands on with a range of objects that represent the journeys taken by some of those migrants.”

"It was amazing to see my work projected onto the side of The Deep and I feel so pleased that we are continuing to tell the migrant story to new generations of children in Hull." Dr Nick Evans, Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull

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