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Tribe Carlisle

Carlisle, UK July 2022 - August 2022

Our workshop space at Tribe Carlisle was a creative hit! We ran literary activities to add some bookish fun to the summer holidays.

If you want to try artist Lottie Smith's cardboard making activities at home you can download the Get Making Pack here!

For 25 glorious days, the summer holidays at Tribe Carlisle became synonymous with creativity and inventive fun. We welcomed kids of all ages every weekday to our pop-up workshop space and offered them ten literary-themed challenges to spark their imagination. 1254 little inventors and 655 of their adults came to experience our space, set against the backdrop of sunny Carlisle with the smell of homemade food and the promise of ice cream only a stone’s throw away.

Shipping container

For every bit of inspiration we gave to the kids, they gave us back brilliant creations in droves. The ten challenges were each inspired by a much-loved children’s book. We had something to suit the little ones who were loving picture books and older readers who were getting stuck into novels. If inventing a vehicle to navigate hidden lands and lost lakes was what they were looking for, they turned to The Polar Bear Explorers Club by Alex Bell for hints and tips. If they were leaning towards devising a star catching device, they looked no further than Look Up! by Nathan Bryon for inspiration. We used classics like Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and George’s Marvellous Medicine as springboards for challenges, sprinkled in with some Philip Pullman and Sally Gardner.

The ten challenges each asked for something completely different, allowing the kids to develop their creative thinking and hopefully open them up to a delightful new read.

Several of the authors, illustrators, and publishers also joined in on marvelling at the kids’ ideas. Author of The Nowhere Emporium Ross Mackenzie was wowed by an inventor who created a magical door that could take you anywhere in the world. Alex Bell thoroughly approved of an invention that could navigate through the North Pole and was eager to see more. Emma Reynolds, writer and illustrator of Amara and the Bats, loved our bat-themed challenge. Publishing houses Kelpies and Puffin also gave the kids a figurative pat on the back.

Literary challenge

In no time at all, invention drawing sheets started to engulf the walls of our container. Any spare bit of counter space was soon filled up with invention prototypes being proudly shown off. We had become an inventing powerhouse! The space was manned by our very own general manager Craig Bright who was thrilled to have a change of scenery and spend his workday in the sun. He says, “every day the excitement was palpable. We had kids flocking to the space but we were still able to give time and attention to each one and help them develop their ideas. It really helped us connect with the community in Carlisle”.

Cardboard artist Lottie Smith was also around to enrich the experience further with her crafting skills. Craig and Lottie helped the kids bring their idea into fruition using materials and resources to make a tangible invention they could see and touch. Anna Chippendale, Culture, Partnerships and Outreach Lead at Cumbria County Council, also heaped praise on our work at Tribe, “providing a place for kids to learn, create and have fun is important. Seeing what the children have come up with and how much they loved coming to the space has been wonderful”.

Girl holding drawing sheet

To enhance the sense of community spirit further, we were endlessly grateful to receive support from some fantastic Carlisle-based sponsors to keep our space up and running. A huge thanks to Print Point, Cannon Gardens & Landscapes, Bendles Solicitors, Thomas Graham & Sons, The Cumberland and Peter Tyson. We kept them updated on the fruits of their contributions with regular photos of the kids in invention mode across our social media. Thank you to Cumbria County Council, our main sponsor who made it all happen, and of course, a colossal thanks to Tribe Carlisle for providing us a space to move in for the summer. We collected many beautiful snapshots of our summer of creativity, take a look at our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and you might just be amazed at what the little inventors are capable of!

boy with crafts