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York student volunteers demonstrate commitment to local community

Posted on 18 June 2014

Student volunteers from the University of York will host a free art-inspired family workshop at St Mary’s Church in York this weekend.

Students are in involved in three York Curiouser projects: They are pictured capturing York Curiouser at the National Centre for Early Music.

Taking inspiration from the Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition on show at the York church, visitors can make a ‘bee shaker’, masks or help to create a hanging garden in the church grounds.

Part of York Curiouser and the York Festival of Ideas, the arts outreach event on Saturday, 21 June, is just one of number of volunteering projects taking place across the city as part of the University’s @Work programme.

Coordinated by the University’s Careers team in partnership with academic departments, @Work allows student volunteers to demonstrate their commitment to the local community, while gaining valuable work experience to enhance their future career prospects.

This year, around 200 students from the Departments of Education, English and Related Literature, History of Art and Politics, are taking part in 35 community projects. These are run in partnership with 50 community partners, including the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the National Trust, York Children’s University, York Museums Trust and the Company of the Merchant Adventurers of the City of York.

Other @Work projects include creating a dementia friendly film for business, projects linked to the Tour de France, creating marketing materials for Tang Hall Community Centre and storytelling at York Castle and the Yorkshire Museum.  

Sarah Leith, Volunteering Project Officer in Careers, said: “University of York students have a lot to offer the city and community in terms of enthusiasm and skills. The @Work scheme is about helping students to develop their skills, enhance their employability and gain valuable experience in the sectors that are of particular interest to them, such as the heritage and cultural industries and the education sector.”

The Aesthetica Art Prize workshop is one of three @Work projects run in conjunction with York Curiouser, which is exploring the historic city of York through contemporary art interventions. The aim is for new artworks to lead people into unexplored and hidden areas of York, as well as encouraging them to take a fresh look at better-known parts of the city.

The Aesthetica workshop challenged a team of six University of York students to create a workshop which would engage families in a discussion about modern art.

Second-year History of Art student Charlotte Vinson said: “The workshop is about celebrating modern art and bringing it forward to a new audience.  Taking inspiration from the bee-themed winning artwork, Song for the Last Queen, families can make and decorate bees from recycled materials, filling them with rice to create a shaker.

“We will also be inviting people to help us create a hanging ‘garden’ – a new piece of artwork, which will encourage visitors to think about bees and sustainability. A third activity is around mask making, which relates to another piece of artwork in the exhibition, 541 dias, which is about identity.

“Taking part in @Work has been a fantastic experience which has helped us develop some really useful skills and contacts for the future.”

Griselda Goldsbrough, Education Coordinator, York Curiouser, said: “We are delighted to be able to work with students from the University as part of York Curiouser and co-ordinate the Saturday workshop. Students have looked at the artwork of Susanne Davies, whose work can be seen in the grounds Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, which inspired the hanging garden participants can create.”

The Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition workshop will take place outside St Mary’s Church. Coppergate, York on Saturday, 21 June from 11am-1pm and 2-4pm.

Further information:

  • Organised by Aesthetica Magazine, the Aesthetica Art Prize is a celebration of excellence in contemporary art from across the world, supporting and bringing the work of contemporary and emerging artists to a wider      audience.
  • The fourth annual York Festival of Ideas features over 140 inspiring, varied and mostly free events taking place across the city and the University of York campus between 12 and 22 June around the theme of ‘order and chaos’. To see the full programme and to book tickets visit:
  • More information on York Curiouser at
  • For more information on student volunteering at the University of York      
  • For more information on the University of York’s Department of Education visit
  • For more information on the University of York’s Department of English and Related Literature visit
  • For more information on the University of York’s Department of History of Art visit
  • For more information on the University of York’s Department of Politics visit

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