News Release 24th October 2022
The Creating Connections Project 

Creating Connections is a two-year project funded by ACE (Arts Council England) and is a combination of:

  • public engagement: The project engages with local community groups and children of secondary school age by using Vindolanda’s small finds collection. The aims are to reach out and visit community groups as well as encouraging them to visit the Trust's sites. We support their interactions with freelancers and encourage participants to deliver their own creative projects. 
  • collection care: The project is part of our collection digitisation programme, working with our small finds and adding them to our digital museum database, which will lead to Vindolanda’s collection going online.  

A team of dedicated Vindolanda Trust volunteers supports both parts of the project as well as the Collections Engagement Officer. In addition, the project has enabled recruitment of new Collections Volunteers. Outputs of the project are to be driven by the community groups themselves. Two exhibition projects are currently being developed with the Haltwhistle’s Zigzag Days group and the newly founded Vindolanda Youth Panel. 

Zigzag Days is an inclusive project targeting people who feel isolated due to disability, unemployment, mental health, or other issues. It is a support group for vulnerable and/or socially isolated adults, based in Haltwhistle.

The group are researching health and mental health during Roman times, finding out about people who didn’t fit in - being on the edge of society and raising awareness of health and mental health today. They are developing a travelling exhibition, in collaboration with Vindolanda which can be seen for the first time during the Haltwhistle’s late night shopping event 2nd December 2022. In addition the group will present their display at the Vindolanda Museum, scheduled to take place in February 2023. The group has recently received additional support for the project from the Hadrian's Wall 1900 Community Grants. 

Watch this short video to hear more about the Zigzag Days journey with the Vindolanda Trust

The newly founded Vindolanda Youth Panel is a group of teenagers aged between 15-18 years, they all come from the surrounding towns and villages near Vindolanda. The group will be curating a display case at the Roman Army Museum covering the topic of Roman identities and other identities on Hadrian’s Wall. They are exploring questions such as what it means to be Roman, Native or maybe just something in between? Is there a Roman or Native identity? Their exhibition will launch end of February 2023. 

Several community groups have already visited the site for the first time through the project. These include Haydon Bridge Scouts Beavers and Cubs, who made roman leather gaming pouches, tried their hand at working with willow and explored the site and museum. The Haltwhistle Youth Club Young and Sweet came for a Roman foraging walk, tasted Roman food, enjoyed a pottery workshop and discovered the not so pleasant side of living at Roman Vindolanda. The Haltwhistle Allotment Group and Greenhead WI undertook a tour of the Roman Fort Magna focusing on the threat of climate change on archaeology. Haltwhistle, Brownies,  Rainbows and Humshaugh Primary School explored Vindolanda’s handling collection. 

In addition to working closely with community groups the funding allowed has enable the Vindolanda Trust to offer short work placements to university, A-level and GSCE students.  These placements have let students look behind the scenes of the work undertaken by The Vindolanda Trust and given them an introduction to collection care and management, museums ethics, archaeology, object handling and heritage interpretation.