Story of an industry: Resources: Learning about the shoe industry in your area

This resource is aimed to provide a flexible structure which will enable pupils in schools (KS2) across the county to discover their own and collective connections to the boot and shoe trade and to articulate these creatively. Schools can adapt the suggested structure below which was piloted with Rushden schools to suit their own curriculum. Depending on the direction you wish to take, the resource can support the teaching of history (local study), geography, art and design, English (speaking & listening), Drama, Music, ICT and citizenship curriculum.

This resource draws on the material created and collated through Global Footprint project of 2012 and hosted on this site. It is complemented by the pack produced by Northamptonshire Record Office and with their services to schools. The following structure was used in the pilot sessions with primary schools in Rushden:

1. Research:

Pupils can search material on this site, material held at your local museum or provided by Northamptonshire Record Office. These can include new films, commissioned artworks, archive footage, still photographs from archive, audio recordings, transcripts, maps, factory records, census records etc. In the pilot, pupils used their own record sheets to capture their own connection to the industry.

Independent study sessions will require pupils to draw on and develop key skills including photographic studies of local architecture, businesses. They can also draw on family histories by recording oral histories, digitizing and studying photos.

Inspired by this they will explore and record their own personal journeys related to the local shoe industry and how they interconnect with their peers and wider community. This might be through personal journal or using a ‘shoe family tree’ or emotional map with themes covering ‘spaces’, ‘people’ and ‘events’. Pupils can make connections between these and one another’s histories.


This is the most flexible element and the following are some suggestions for ways in which pupils can express their findings.

Material uncovered and produced as part of the research phase can be used as a starting point for a whole class or individual creative response to the brief. Their ideas and findings could be communicated through media such as the creation of new artworks by individual pupils and class/school groups. These may be influenced by the Global Footprint commissions and might span:

• Music and sound composition following Robert Jarvis’ works and utilizing their own recordings or some sampled audio extracted from interviews and recordings made at factories.

• Creative writing using the language and emotions conveyed in interviews and interpretations of archive photos.

• Group work of individual artworks inspired by Dominic Wilcox’s Field. These might be a Field for the school created from shoes donated locally or another grid-based artwork utilizing found objects or by-products of shoe making (leather scraps donated by local firm, phrases or memories pinned to a wall). The Cabinet of Curiosity Footfall commission may also be adapted for this outcome.

• Schools might also take their discoveries and weave them into stories which in turn could be articulated as a Foot Steps style footprint trail around the school and grounds.

We would love to see what you produce. Please log in through the contribute button at the top of the page and send us any images of work. This will be added to the archive already developed and pupils can share their approaches with other schools. To see what schools in Rushden did, visit the project finale pages.


This page was added on 09/07/2013.

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