Added: 29 December 2014
Saltaire World Heritage Education Association is a body that creates and promotes learning resources about Saltaire and the surrounding area for use by groups and individuals.
Telephone: 01274 593585
New charity, shared purpose
Molly Kenyon describes the journey to creating Saltaire Stories: Past, Present and Future
Some readers may recall a consultation in 2009 about Saltaire’s educational potential. It was a very lively event in the Glen Room at Victoria Hall. People attended because they believed in the widest possible use of Saltaire as a “world classroom”. A wide range of groups, businesses, schools and voluntary groups explained what they contributed to education about the World Heritage Site. The significance of digital material was noted, such as the QR codes to be placed along the canal towpath by British Waterways (later the Canal & River Trust) and the huge amount of information available at www.saltairevillage.info
A report had been prepared about resources available at that time, and gaps were highlighted, including the need for material specifically designed for schools, and for an interpretation centre. Thousands of items in the Saltaire Archive held at Shipley College could be displayed only once a year. It was clear that a working group was needed to pursue the improvement of resources. Partnership between groups and individuals with different skills was essential. During 2010 an informal group called “Saltaire Learning” was set up. This group shared information and ideas leading to Saltaire’s first World Heritage Weekend in April 2011 (linked to International Sites and Monuments Day – 18th April). It also carried out an audit of what spaces were available for educational groups to meet in Saltaire.
Via Saltaire Learning, people from the United Reformed Church, Shipley College and the Salt Foundation met, and by 2012 were discussing what they could do together. Developing educational resources would require funding, and we realised that the three bodies would have to set up a new charity. That was hard work and took another year, but the Saltaire World Heritage Education Association was created. Even the acronym SWHEA is a mouthful, so we use the working name “Saltaire Stories: Past, Present and Future”.
Charitable status was granted in October – a big relief, but just one milestone on a long journey. Central to the purpose of Saltaire Stories is to work alongside other groups and individuals – both those who are longstanding contributors to educational resources in the World Heritage Site, and those who have new ideas and energy to offer.
This shared sense of purpose is at the heart of plans for the Conversazione to be held at Victoria Hall on 18th April as part of Saltaire’s fifth World Heritage Weekend. It is a revival of that special gathering – last held in 1964 – where people meet, learn, discuss, laugh, dance and create a buzz about whatever is new, or newly revealed about our history.