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Carmel Page

Author - Storyteller - Artist - Community Artist - The Flying Teddy Bear Woman

Just Published...

Yorkshire Folk Tales for Children, published by The History Press and available in all good (Yorkshire) bookshops.

The Blub says, "These old tales are beautifully retold here for 7-to-11-year-old readers; written and illustrated by storyteller and artist Carmel Page – who is a Southerner by birth but has lived in Sheffield for so long that she now uses her back-door as her front-door and has started to eat her dinner at lunchtime."

Things I do

Writing stories for all ages.

Enchanting audiences with lively storytelling in schools, at festivals, for parties and at The Royal Armouries.

Exciting children with fun art projects.

Engaging people with my writing sessions.

Teaching storytelling skills. 

Developing literacy in schools. 

Leading creative writing sessions. 

Community art workshops. These have included sculpture, drawing, painting, murals, storytelling, writing, recycling, book binding, interior design and much more. I have run over fifty projects in the last ten years.

Philosophy for Children

Engaging hard to reach groups.

Participating in solo and group art exhibitions.

Continuing Professional Development for teachers.

Planning and organising events.

Leading school visits to museums and galleries for Museums Sheffield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.  

 

Who I Work With

I love to collaborate with other creative people and work with:

Families, including families in crisis.

Early years and school key stages 1, 2, and 3. I am a trained NNEB Nursery Nurse so am very at home working with children.

Youth clubs. I run one for my church and have worked in others.

Refugees and asylum seekers, I run an art workshop for ASSIST.

Elderly people, I run storytelling sessions in a care home.

Groups of adults.

People living with mental health issues.

Teachers including sessions in creative education.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Museums Sheffield.

I am interested in working with new groups.

 

My Methods

I can provide off-the-peg entertainment and workshop activities but prefer to work with people in devising project which are exactly what they want. I like to design projects which respond to challenges. I believe in listening to and respecting ideas, the power of creativity and the importance of joyfulness. I focus on having clear aims at the beginning of a project but keeping plans flexible so that we can adapt as the project develops.

Please note my way of working is very creative but I often work in areas where I have no training. For example, I have worked with three schools to creatively redesign rooms I so consider Interior design to be something I do. However, if you have just bought a house and want an interior designer I would not be the right person. 

Examples of my Stories

The Flight of the Teddy Bears – Warning this performance piece includes flying teddy bears and has a tendency to become joyfully anarchic.

Flapjackosaurus – Some dinosaurs are small, some dinosaurs are big and they all eat each other that’s how dinosaurs live. How will Flapjackosaurus and Recipe Rex solve this food crisis?

The Bad Samaritan, Homer and Roamer and other parables with a modern day twist.

Captain Nobeard (The smoothest Pirate on the Seven Seas) She will let you try on her triangular hat and she will let you try on her wooden leg but will she let you see her treasure map? Probably not!

Plato’s Potatoes, Descartes Tarts and other philosophical tales to feast your thinking on.

 

I really enjoy the challenge of creating a story for a specific event or to highlight something important. Please let me know your story needs and I will aim to write one for you.

 

Examples of my Work

Philosophy for Change: Staff in a primary school were concerned that one racial group was ostracising another racial group. I used P4C and arts-led activities to explore cultural identity. We set up different types of dinosaur community to see how they would get on together, we made skin-tone portraits and we learnt about ourselves through studying Geography and skin pigmentation. Each pupil created a story of their own ethnic origins. On the celebration day to mark the end of the project both racial groups included each other in their play and chat.

Breaking Down the Barriers: In a primary school with very low parental engagement I taught a class how to create treasure hunts and marble runs so that they could invite their parents and teach the skills to them. Parents attended who had never been into the school before.

The Foundation of Nursing Studies ran a project to explore how the quality of life can be improved for older people through creativity. I provided open-ended art activities such as collage, colour-mixing and wax-rubbings. This led to the production of images which were very meaningful to the residents and initiated a lot of reminiscence. On evaluation, residents noted that the activities had increased their sense of wellbeing and of belonging to a community.

 

Gender Respect Project: A senior school teacher wanted support in challenging gender issues and sexist behaviour in her school. I worked with her to set up a weekly discusion group and provided activities which prompted insightful discussion. The young people have since become advocates for Gender Respect in their school.

Let’s get Digested: A nursery school was concerned that their parents and children had very limited understanding of healthy eating. After making a sculpture of a human digestive system which was big enough to explore from the inside, all the children experienced being digested and learnt which foods were healthy. The sculpture also prompted discussion about healthy eating with parents.

Environmental Action Project: Sheffield Wildlife Trust wanted to work in a Youth Club, to raise their awareness of recycling. Many of the members had challenging behaviour. We made furniture and sculptures by recycling old objects, by the end of the project the group had become more cohesive and had many inspiring ideas for how to reuse materials.

Are There Questions Under the Sea?: A primary school wished to move away from the National Curriculum but the pupil’s lack of questioning was a barrier. Working with the Y2 class I made a Question Machine from which they learnt questioning skills. The questions they devised then led on to further child-led creative learning and increased staff confidence in devising child-led lessons.

The Magic Bed: A nursery wished to improve oracy and develop storytelling skills. By travelling on a magic bed to imagined destinations we developed stories and I inspired some very quiet children to speak. I then shared ideas with the staff on how to use the stories in class and trained them to deliver creative story-making sessions.

A Voyage to Full Attendance: A primary school wanted to raise excitement about school attendance levels. During a visit from Captain Nobeard (the smoothest pirate on the seven seas), we searched for treasure and helped to inspire improved attendance.

Daring to be Different: A primary school felt that their pupils were held back by a reluctance to try new things and to be different. I made a Magic Tunnel with a Y1 class and every child spent time inside having a magical experience. We then made costumes and props which enabled the class to act out their magical ideas. These were then turned into a series of books showing the very different things they had tried. At the end of the project I spent a day with the teacher redesigning her planning for the year to allow more opportunities for creative, child –led lessons.

The Hucklow Diner: A primary school had a very drab dining hall and wanted the pupils to be involved in its redesign. I used a range of methods to consult the children so that the staff could observe and learn new skills. We then redesigned the room, the pupils and parents worked with me to create the look they wanted. The result was a room the whole school felt proud of and enjoyed eating in. The changes also improved the acoustics which had been echoey.

Solar System Fashion Show: A Y6 teacher wanted to run a science based arts project led by the pupils. The class recruited me to work with them and we learnt about the solar system by designing costumes representing all the planets. They then performed a fashion show which demonstrated the solar system and the orbits of the planets. The pupils were very engaged with the learning and gained in confidence through devising their own project.

If you like the sound of these projects or think there is an issue we could address with a creative approach please get in touch.

Other Things

Qualified first aider

Public liability insurance

Recently DBS checked and updates are available online.

Trained in child protection as a designated lead.

Regular storytelling at The Story Forge, Sheffield’s own storytelling club.

 

Time Banking

I've tried this and think it is great. Please get in touch if you think I have a skill you could use.

Skills

Some of our members only offer some of their skills in only certain capacities on the timebank.