Recently the linking Network brought together two secondary schools from different parts of Yorkshire to spend the day together at Bradford Cathedral. Ryedale School, from York, and Bradford Academy came together for the first time to take part in a range of activities focussing on identity and community.
The day started with an informative introduction to the history of the venue from the Dean of the Cathedral, Jerry Lepine, explaining to the students the archaic past of the cathedral and, whilst it is a place of worship and congregation, it is also a public building used by people of all faiths and none.
Then activities began, starting with human bingo! An icebreaker activity where students have to find at least one other person who fits the criteria they are looking for on their bingo sheet.
After this students worked in groups, two from Ryedale and two from Bradford Academy, to identify their invisible similarities and differences. The aim of this activity is for students to identify what they have in common, but also their differences that are not at first visibly apparent. It was lovely to see students, who at first seemed very different, bonding over their love for a certain sport or the latest show on Netflix!
Up next was identity circles. This activity starts with students drawing a self-portrait, around this they include aspects of their lives they feel constitute their identity. Usually this includes hobbies, religion, favourite subjects, music as well as friends and family.
To make the most of our beautiful venue, students then went on to explore the cathedral on an activity trail. This was a chance for students to do their own thing for a while, walking around the cathedral and identifying important parts whilst getting to know each other.
After lunch students took part in the last activity of the day. Starting off with going through iconic and infamous symbols now and throughout history, students discussed what these symbols mean, their significance and why some of them may be seen as controversial. It was news to many, including the Bradfordian students, that the original CND peace symbol was designed in Bradford and the original sketches can be found in Bradford University.
Working in their tables, students went on to complete values questionnaires, ranking certain values such as kindness, loyalty and materialism from 0-10, 10 being highly valued. In groups, students from both schools had to work together to agree on the values they jointly felt were most important and translate them into a symbol, representing themselves and their communities.
During the day, packed full of activities and team work, it was lovely to see friendships being formed between students as they realised all that they had in common and all that they could learn from one another.