College Students Bring to Life Abbey at Centre of Historic Nuneaton

Two students from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) have helped bring to life the story of Nuneaton Abbey which played a significant part in the town’s history as part of an interactive exhibition now on show at Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery. The students have created educational interactive displays as part of a new exhibition entitled ‘Nuneaton Abbey and the Birth of a Town’ supported with funding from Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants.

Art and design students, Alexandra Owen and Marie Springthorpe, effectively worked as freelancers for the museum, developing creative material for the exhibition. They followed a brief provided by the museum to create fun and educational interactives for children and families visiting the exhibition, bringing the themes of the exhibition to life.

The Abbey once dominated Nuneaton’s skyline and was highly influential in turning the small village of Eaton into the prosperous town of Nuneaton. Its remnants are now part of St Mary’s Church, and its history is remembered in local street names. Nuneaton Museum is working with partner organisations and the community of Abbey Green to tell this fascinating story.

Museum Learning & Engagement Manager, Matt Johnson contacted the college to offer the students this unique placement opportunity within the project. Matt said, “We were particularly keen to showcase Nuneaton Abbey’s history to families and children inspired by the museum’s collections. It made sense for us to approach NWSLC to offer their creative students this opportunity to develop their skills and also benefit from the experience of working alongside professional designers on an active brief with real deadlines.”

The exhibition is due to be launched on Friday, 21 January 2022 when a medieval manuscript, The Nuneaton Book, on loan from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, will be unveiled.  

Matt added, “This exhibition has been made possible by the Government Indemnity Scheme. Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery would like to thank HM Government for providing Government Indemnity and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England for arranging the indemnity.”

Dawn Helsby, student employability manager at NWSLC said, “We’re grateful to Nuneaton Museum for enabling our students to access some interesting and rewarding work experience. Work placements are an important part of study programmes at the college for students aged 16-18. Placements are based on meaningful projects that can take many months, which helps students to gain the maximum benefit and enables organisations to get the most out of their skills. We are always looking for workplace opportunities for our students so if anyone would like some help, please get in touch via ip@nwslc.ac.uk.”

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