Natural Inspiration

Guys! You know those days when things just fall into place…? Well Sunday was one of those days and I thought I’d share it with you all as OYAP inspired it.

I spent Sunday in London at the Natural History Museum. Now those who have known me for many years will know that between the ages of 8 and 16 I was convinced I wanted to be an archaeologist/palaeontologist. Yes, I did then go to university wanting to do maths and music, and yes, I did then convert to a full music degree… but I ended up doing mostly social history modules within a music context. Clearly my passion for history has not diminished! So a trip to the Natural History Museum was always going to be exciting. However, what I didn’t expect was the wealth of inspiration it gave me!

Now I am a very logical, methodical person. I’ve always been someone to make things happen, not necessarily the one to come up with the original idea. In fact over the last year or so I feel like I’ve struggled for inspiration and ideas have not been flowing at all. Through Stepping Up however, I feel like my brain has been kick started again, and ideas are coming thick and fast. I found that before the training I was very focused on my own art form, whereas from talking to the other young leaders and people at OYAP I’ve begun to think in a very cross-art-form way.

Walking round the museum I began to think about how much knowledge was around me, and what a diverse range of topics could be covered and used to inspire workshops and projects. Just as we were coming to the end of our visit we walked into a side room, very square, with a large floor space and cabinets full of sea corals and shells around the outside. And do you know what I thought? I thought that it would be the perfect space to run a youth project in, working with young children to engage them in the history of the oceans, and in turn different periods of history, particularly pre-historic periods. One week you could focus on the seas, another on the skies, and another on land.

It had struck me walking around the museum just how multi-sensory the whole experience was. Looking around kids were engaged at every age, pulling on levers, feeling different rock formations, testing their strength compared to different animals… There was SO much to engage with!


So I bought this postcard to remind me of the day and the wonderful exhibits that the museum has to offer.

This of course included the dinosaur exhibit which, let’s face it, is a must see. There was even a queue to get into that section!


On the way home I began to come up with ideas for activities, such as painting shell surfaces and using cloths to print the patterns onto (there’s a technical name for this sort of art but I can’t remember it right now!), coming up with impressions of what dinosaurs looked like from their skeletons, trying to replicate animal calls and dinosaur rawrs (technical term right there), involving movement to try and mimic different species’ walks. The list of ideas just goes on. I also began thinking about what measurable outcomes were possible. What could young people take away from there in terms of practical skills and general knowledge? These were things that we’d discussed in OYAP training sessions, things that I hadn’t considered before.

I think today was a bit of a breakthrough for me and I’m so grateful for the opportunities that OYAP are providing and the ideas they are inspiring. And who knows?! Maybe one day I’ll be leading a project in the Natural History Museum! *crosses fingers*


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