In the latest Hastings Independent Press issue, there is a letter from Dame Marie herself to the children of Hastings.


#ImaginedAbbey schools workshop days, funded by Chalk Cliff Trust and Heritage Lottery Fund, introduce children to the medieval female cultural workforce through fun, creative activities. Workshop facilitators are today’s Hastings-based female artistic innovators reflecting on their counterparts working eight hundred and fifty years ago, particularly writer Dame Marie, also known as Marie de France.

The practical skill-based workshops explore margin illustration, scribing, music, writing, reading, an exploration of the HMAG curated medieval collection for the project and a practical contextual history detective session. The latter has been developed by project partner UCL historian Dr Emily Joan Ward, funded by The British Academy. Activities validate personal passions encouraging individual entry points into history. They are tailored to meet the range of accessibility needs.

The Marie in the Margins project includes #ImaginedAbbey schools workshop days and school holiday adventuring days focused on Dame Marie’s narratives. Both these experiences add to 1066-themed history topic learning promoting history as the study of many stories that embrace diversity. These experiences empower children to aspire to career dreams and plans.

"Times like these make me very happy to be a teacher. Children loved it. Great to have hands on experience."

"We felt very welcome. The activities were very engaging. A lot of learning has happened today."

"A very engaging, hands on experience that the children could connect to their current learning."

"Activities varied to suit all needs of the students. Especially liked the detective garden."

"Thank you for a wonderful, rich day of learning for the children. It was really exceptional and the children (and adults) gave great feedback from the day."