CRsea exploration of creativity!

Sense’s Cambridge Resource Centre is an education and day service based on the outskirts of Cambridge, in the village of Knapwell,  reachable through an avenue of mature trees surrounded by farm land. Such beautiful settings have helped inspire the latest round of Creativity@Work projects.

Arts and Wellbeing aficionado at the Centre, Jess Brook, takes us through some of the recent developments in this lovely part of the world. This first installment takes us from snow-filled fields to medieval armoury.


Our journey of creativity started on the one day of snow we had, back in January this year. It was the obvious starting place for the creative path which would eventually lead us to our summer festival. Wrapped up warm, with iPads at the ready, the short burst of photography before our fingers chilled resulted in some very stunning pictures.


It was clear in the initial stages of the planning that we already had a real variety of creative interests to explore and we hoped to explore as many of these as possible along the way.

The Fitzwilliam Museum

Museum staff showing the group exhibits from the museum
Joanna and Jacqui from the Fitzwilliam Museum

Along with exploring the practical elements of creativity, we contacted the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge whose Outreach and Access Officers Joanna and Jacqui were brilliant at providing resources for our students to enjoy some of their amazing collection of artefacts and art. First they came to visit CRC and brought along with them replicas of medieval armour and a selection of fans used by different cultures from history.


Everyone was able to wear, hold or examine each of the different items. Each piece was an artwork in its own right, plus we gained knowledge of each item’s use and surrounding historic details.

A few weeks later we met up with Jacqui and Joanna again but this time we took a trip out to the Fitzwilliam Museum. We started in the armoury section, to revisit  and enjoy being able to feel and wear the replica armour again before moving up to the upper floor art galleries. As we wandered through all of us soaked up the architecture, atmosphere and colour changes as we moved through each artistic period.


We sCRR10topped at one very grand painting of Elizabeth Vernon (Countess of Southampton, circa 1603. The Fitzwilliam Museum. Cambridge).

When we got to the painting Joanna and Jacqui had prepared swatches, small samples of material matching the fabric in the painting, which we could hold and touch whilst they told us about the painting . The swatches for Elizabeth Vernon contained the red fur of the cloak, the lace and silk of the dress and the intricate beading all over the bodice.

Thanks to Jess and everyone at CRC for this great blog post. What a brilliant way to explore the painting! To find out what else CRC got up to in their creative adventures, check back here for part 2.

Thanks to Jess and all of the staff and students at CRC who have done a great job of finding local resources to link with and special thanks to the staff at The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge who have brought the museum’s collection alive in new ways for more people. We’d love to work with more museums looking to make their collections more accessible for people with sensory impairments.


Author: Kara Jarrold

Kara is Head of Arts & Wellbeing at Sense. She leads on arts projects that find ways to empower people to find their cultural voice, working collaboratively and experimentally with artists and participants to improve access to art through the senses.

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