From Ordinary to Extraordinary: Rockfield Centre YAC and their 'Monopoly - Oban Edition'! project
Today's blog focuses on the project created by the Rockfield Centre YAC based in Oban. The Rockfield Centre YAC set out to design a board game with a map theme that teaches people about the heritage of places in the Oban area as they follow the map. The club will be learning to use a 360 degree camera to document their chosen places that can be clicked on to reveal information about it or to listen to audio stories the club members create through interviews. But as you will see the magic of co-creation is leading them in a slightly different direction...
YAC leader Elisabeth tells us more...
If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but not the goal.
This is definitely something that is occurring here in Oban.
Listening to what our young members would like to do has really shaped our current project. The Rockfield Centre YAC is a very young club, having only just started online in September 2021 with myself, Elisabeth Stevenson, Heritage Officer for the Centre and co leader, Tara Coggans, archaeologist and artist. We were very excited at being invited to apply and then awarded the opportunity to design and deliver something for the Ordinary to Extraordinary project offered by the Shout Out Loud programme. The projects are encouraged to have a strong youth voice, and this has caused our project to evolve and change from the initial plan to something that is very much the idea of our young members.
The initial proposal was to develop a board game inspired by Monopoly that would include various sites around Oban. The club spent a session examining and playing several different types of board games. One included the American game CandyLand which I had brought back from a recent trip home to the USA. This game was created in 1948 by a teacher who was working to help children who had been hospitalized due to the polio pandemic. She wanted to provide a game which was simple enough for all ages, didn’t take long to play and had a cheerful theme. This game is still played by most American children. Our members made immediate connections between the past experiences of the children during the polio pandemic and their present experience of the Covid pandemic. They discussed how things have been created now so that people could be outside or maintain social distancing.
After looking at different types of games, the group started to brainstorm design features of their own. They liked the idea of making a map or trail that could be followed and Tara suggested travelling through time since all the places were from different eras. The group agreed because they had liked how one of the board games we had played did that.
Mhairi Ross, a local historian, spent one session speaking to the group about the caves in the area. The members took turns recording interview questions with her. Their questions were very well thought out and Mhairi was impressed at the variety. They loved this experience and want to continue to do recordings. The group talked about how they didn’t think people knew about the caves, MacArthur’s Cave in particular, and they wanted to explore more. Then they decided they wanted to know more about the places we were suggesting for their map and if we could do a walking tour around the town. Using the award funding we have purchased a 360 camera for them to photograph the places and engaged a guide to lead a special tour with hands on activities.
We may not end up with a board game, but we will have material that is created by the children explaining stories or heritage information they feel others don’t know enough about. Since the time period for finishing the project is very short, only part of the project will be ready. But, it is exciting to see how this will evolve further and invite more young people to get involved. The work the group does will be featured digitally on a page of the The Rockfield Centre’s website. Our plan changed but we are embracing that change knowing the final product of this project will truly reflect the goal of engaging our young members and listening to their voice in the creation of it.
Intro to the writer
I am a teacher with 20 years of experience but have been working as the Heritage Officer at the Rockfield Centre in Oban to take a few years away from the classroom. I love teaching about heritage and making connections between the past and present. Our YAC is very new as we just started in September 2021 but we have a fantastic group of kids whose enthusiasm for all things archaeology is so much fun!