Public engagement at the Green Man Festival
Last weekend I had the great fortune to be part of a team which ran an archaeology-related educational stall in Einstein’s Garden, the science exploration area of the Green Man Festival near Crickhowell in Wales. Our overarching theme was the relationship between humans and animals in the past, and we ran a number of different activities at different times. One way we explored this was by displaying casts of the skulls of different dogs – an animal humans have changed an awful lot through selective breeding , as well as a cat, which really isn’t that different to a wild cat.
Dr Jacqui Mulville and artists Paul Evans reprised their Future Animals project, which invited children to imagine how people might change animals in the future.
We also demonstrated how people maximised their use of the animals they killed through costume, and showing people how to make coin purses out of empty milk cartons (which is making the most of our resources today).
I wrote a brief guide to the local archaeology, which we displayed at the stall, and authored an augmented reality layer for Layar, which I was unable to test due to poor phone signal. we also displayed some finds. Finally, a quick activity used to draw people in was the Washing Line of Time, where we invited people to pin some key dates on a washing line divided into different periods.
The weekend was a lot of fun, and we saw over a thousand people at the stall. That Einstein’s Garden exists is a wonderful thing, and I was very happy to have been invited. It was also a pretty steep learning curve. One of our activities was to excavate finds from a sand pit, which very quickly became a creche as parents headed off to see band, buy food etc. We withdrew the activity, and did not allow unaccompanied under-8s at the stall after that. We hope to go back next year, our heads are already buzzing with new ideas.