A doughty champion of his local culture.(Poet Tom Hubbard)Your performance at the city hall was soooooooooo good! Christoph thought it was excellent! (Carolyn)



 Jakub Zahradnik in Tynemouth



Latest from Europe Direct in  North East England - September 2013
Your monthly e-bulletin to keep you up to date with the latest news from your Europe Direct centre in North East England

European Day of Languages
26 September 2013

You may already know that the 26th September is the European Day of Languages, which is celebrated all over Europe to encourage language learning for all and increase intercultural understanding. There are many ways to get involved and this month’s e-bulletin will give you plenty of ideas to get started!

Did you know…?
  • More than 6,000 languages exist across the world?
  • There are around 225 indigenous languages spoken in Europe?
  • The most commonly spoken language in Europe is Russian, followed by German, English, French and Italian?
  • Experts have estimated that at least half of the world’s languages, maybe more, will die out over the course of this century?

The European Day of Languages (EDL) is all about getting people excited about languages, including those which are less widely-spoken – It’s a celebration of all the world’s languages, not just European ones!


Below is a list of activity ideas for you to use in your school or youth group to help your young people discover a new language and find out fun facts about Europe along the way:
  • Treasure hunt with a linguistic theme – why not try putting some of the clues into another language?
  • International food markets – a great way to inspire young people and get them talking about their favourite food and drink in another language;
  • Why not ask a group of pupils to perform a play in a foreign language or organise a fashion show with a commentary in French or German?
  • International sports day – combining physical activity with languages!
  • Songs from around the world – music helps make a foreign language more memorable!
  • Languages quiz – see how much your young people know about Europe’s languages and in which countries they are spoken.

Where to go for more information and ideas:

We hope you have been inspired to join in and celebrate the European Day of Languages on the 26th September this year, along with thousands of people from all the other European countries and beyond!

Competition !!

The Association for Language Learning, Network for Languages North East, Europe Direct North East and Crossroads Languages have come together to organise a special competition which has been designed to stimulate young people to use text written in a language other than English to create their very own illuminated page; in the style of the Lindisfarne Gospels.
The Gospels are famously highly illuminated of course and written in a ‘foreign’ language – a form of Latin. Our competition this year asks pupils to produce an illuminated page, in the style of the Gospels or in their own take on that style, using a language other than English. For Key Stage 1 and 2 we ask them to locate a text (poem, paragraph, verse of a song, etc.) in their chosen language of around 4-6 lines long and to present it as an Illuminated Page. For Key Stages 3 and above we ask them to locate or create a text (poem, paragraph, verse, story etc.) in their chosen language of around 10 lines long and to present it as an Illuminated Page.

Entries must involve words in a language other than English, and should be no larger than a sheet of A4 paper. (Please note that the judges tend to see a lot of flags every year, and these are not recommended!). Entries should be clearly marked with the pupil’s name, age, class, teacher and school, as well as any necessary information about the language chosen (i.e. if it is a less widely learned language) to facilitate judging. Please give teacher contact details for your bundle of entries so that we can contact winners. We reserve the right to use winning entries for display or promotional purposes and will inform you accordingly through newsletters or e-bulletins. Please note that entries cannot be returned.
Entries are to be sent to: EDL Competition, c/o René Koglbauer, Network for Languages, School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, Newcastle University, NE1 7RU.
The intention is that this might form an activity around the European Day of Languages itself (Thursday 26 September), so the deadline for submission of entries will be: Monday 7 October.
vouchers will be offered to the winners; there will be one winner for each key stage, up to and including KS5. Runner-up prizes may also be awarded at the judges’ discretion. In the event of insufficient entries of good quality in any specific key stage no prize will be awarded; the judges’ decision is final.

Discover Germany 2013

The Modern Foreign Language department at St John’s School and Sixth Form College in Bishop Auckland was delighted to learn that they were successful in gaining one of only four places nationally on this year’s Discover Germany trip organised by the UK-German Connection.  This year’s trip had a high number of very good applications and so it was a great achievement for the St John’s students to have been selected.
The focus of this year’s trip was regeneration in the Ruhr area of Germany and in advance of the trip, students had completed project work based around the film “Das Wunder von Bern” which is set in the Ruhr area in 1954.  Our project hoped to look at the history and socio-economic development of this industrialised area of Germany through the eyes of Matthias, the eleven year old main character in the film, as he grew into adulthood, and to reflect on the changes that he would have seen during his lifetime between 1954 and the present day.
Whilst in Germany, students had the opportunity to visit a German school where they enjoyed some lessons with German students.  There were also many excursions such as a tour of the Ruhr valley, a visit to a mining museum, an afternoon at the zoo where students were able to feed the polar bears as well a visit to a German market with some of the German students they had met where they were able to sample some authentic German foods.  A highlight of the trip was climbing to the top of a regenerated “Gasometer” which gave the students an amazing view over the re-landscaped Ruhr valley.
The four day trip was a fantastic experience for all of the students and they have all developed a greater understanding of German history and culture which they can now share with their classmates in September as they report back on their findings.

Susan Graham


The partnership with County Durham and the City of Tuebingen in Germany was established in 1969.

Poet Doctor Keith Armstrong, who gained his doctorate at the University on Durham in 2007, following on from Bachelor's and Master's degrees there, first visted Tuebingen in November 1987, with the support of the County Council and the Kulturamt in Tuebingen, to give readings and talks there for a period of a month. Since then he has visited the city over 30 times and helped arrange for Durham poets, musicians and artists and their counterparts in Tuebingen to visit their respective cultural twins.

And the literary twinning continues to go from strength to strength. Most recently, poet Keith and folk rock musician Gary Miller, lead singer of Durham band the Whisky Priests, travelled to Tuebingen in March 2013 for performances in pubs, cabaret venues and schools where they performed with Tuebingen poets Sara Hauser and Tibor Schneider (who visited Durham in October 2012 as part of the ongoing exchange). Tibor joined his Durham counterparts for readings at the German Department, Durham University and at the Half Moon Inn. He was also interviewed on BBC Radio Tees concerning his Durham visit.

Keith will be back in Tuebingen in November 2013 to participate in a symposium about writer Hermann Hesse, who lived and worked in Tuebingen in the 1890s, and there are plans for Sara Hauser to come to Durham in 2014.

A highly successful series of events were held in 2007 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the literary/arts twinning established by Keith Armstrong when he first visited Tuebingen in 1987 for a month’s residency, supported by Durham County Council and Tuebingen’s Kulturamt. Since then, there have been readings and performances in pubs, universities and castles, schools, libraries, book festivals, jazz and cabaret clubs, even in Hermann Hesse’s old apartment, involving poets, writers, teachers and musicians from the twin partnerships of Durham and Tuebingen.

Tuebingen’s music duo Acoustic Storm, poet/translator Carolyn Murphey Melchers and Cultural Officer visited Durham and the North East in October/November 2007. The musicians performed in Durham schools and pubs and there was a special evening in Durham’s Clayport Library to celebrate the twinning, with Keith Armstrong launching his new Tuebingen poetry booklet and performances by poets Carolyn Murphey Melchers, Katrina Porteous, William Martin, Michael Standen, Ian Horn, Cynthia Fuller, Hugh Doyle and musicians Acoustic Storm, Marie Little and Gary Miller. Margit Aldinger of the Kulturamt in Tuebingen and Brian Stobie of the International Department, Durham County Council, also addressed the audience.

For the record, here's a list of those who have made it happen so far:

Tuebingen visitors to Durham since 1987:

Carolyn Murphey Melchers, Karin Miedler, Gerhard Oberlin, Uwe Kolbe, Johannes Bauer, Eva Christina Zeller, Simone Mittmann, Florian Werner, Juergen Sturm, Mary Jane, Wolf Abromeit, Christopher Harvie, Eberhard Bort, Marcus Hammerschmitt, Henning Ziebritzki, Andy and Alessandra Fazion Marx, Otto Buchegger, Tibor Schneider.

Durham visitors to Tuebingen since 1987:

Keith Armstrong, Michael Standen, Julia Darling, Andy Jackson, Fiona MacPherson, Katrina Porteous, Marie Little, Ian Horn, Alan C. Brown, Linda France, Jackie Litherland, Cynthia Fuller, Margaret Wilkinson, Jez Lowe, Jack Routledge, Gary Miller, Matthew Burge, David Stead, Hugh Doyle, Peter Dixon.

These events were supported by Tuebingen’s Kulturamt and Durham County Council.



The Lefèvre Trust is offering funding to support school to school joint projects between schools in the UK and France. The programme is open to all schools who teach 11-19 year olds. The grant funding will enable reciprocal visits between young people and educators from UK and France and aims to give young people the knowledge, skills and understanding to work not only bilaterally but in a global context. Grants are available for programmes starting this term. Apply for your grant by 30 September.

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THOMAS SPENCE (1750-1814)

93 Woodburn Square, Whitley Lodge, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear NE26 3JD
Tel. 0191 2529531
It’s good to welcome the establishment of The Thomas Spence Trust, founded by a group of Tyneside activists intent on celebrating and promoting the life and work of that noted pioneer of people’s rights, pamphleteer and poet Thomas Spence (1750-1814), who has born on Newcastle’s Quayside in those turbulent times.
Spence served in his father’s netmaking trade from the age of ten but went on later to be a teacher at Haydon Bridge Free Grammar School and at St. Ann’s Church in Byker under the City Corporation. In 1775, he read his famous lecture on the right to property in land to the Newcastle Philosophical Society, who voted his expulsion at their next meeting.
He claimed to have invented the phrase ‘The Rights of Man’ and chalked it in the caves at Marsden Rocks in South Shields in honour of the working-class hero ‘Blaster Jack’ Bates, who lived there.
He even came to blows with famed Tyneside wood-engraver Thomas Bewick (to whom a memorial has been recently established on the streets of Newcastle) over a political issue, and was thrashed with cudgels for his trouble.
From 1792, having moved to London, he took part in radical agitations, particularly against the war with France. He was arrested several times for selling his own and other seditious books and was imprisoned for six months without trial in 1794, and sentenced to three years for his Restorer of Society to its Natural State in 1801.
Whilst politicians such as Edmund Burke saw the mass of people as the ‘Swinish Multitude’, Spence saw creative potential in everybody and broadcast his ideas in the periodical Pigs’ Meat.
He had a stall in London’s Chancery Lane, where he sold books and saloup, and later set up a small shop called The Hive of Liberty in Holborn.
He died in poverty ‘leaving nothing to his friends but an injunction to promote his Plan and the remembrance of his inflexible integrity’.

The Thomas Spence Trust organised a mini-festival to celebrate Spence in 2000 when it published a booklet on his life and work, together with related events, with the aid of Awards for All.
Trust founder-member, poet Keith Armstrong has written a play for Bruvvers Theatre Company on the socialist pioneer which has been performed at St. Ann’s Church and other venues in the city.

Now the Trust has successfully campaigned for a plaque on the Quayside in Newcastle, where Spence was born. The plaque was unveiled on Monday June 21st 2010, Spence's 260th birthday, with a number of talks, displays and events coinciding with it.

Further information from: Dr Keith Armstrong, The Thomas Spence Trust, 93 Woodburn Square, Whitley Lodge, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear NE26 3JD. Tel. 0191 2529531.


On behalf of The Thomas Spence Trust and Newcastle City Council, I’m delighted to welcome you here today to unveil a plaque in honour of that great free spirit, utopian writer, land reformer and courageous pioneering campaigner for the rights of men and women, Thomas Spence. Myself and other members of our Trust, especially Peter Dixon and Tony Whittle, with the support of people like Professors Joan Beal, Alastair Bonnett and Malcolm Chase and activists like Michael Mould, Alan Myers and Councillor Nigel Todd, have campaigned for well over 10 years for some kind of memorial to Tom Spence and it is with great pride that we assemble here with you today.
We know that Spence was born on the Quayside on June 21st 1750, 260 years ago to this the longest day and Summer Solstice. We know that his father Jeremiah made fishing nets and sold hardware from a booth on Sandhill and his mother Margaret kept a stocking stall, also on Sandhill, but it has not been possible, all these years on, to pinpoint the exact location of Thomas Spence’s birthplace, which is why this plaque has been installed here at Broad Garth, the site of his school room and debating society and where he actually came to blows with Thomas Bewick because of a dispute over the contentious matter of property. Bewick gave Spence a beating with cudgels on that occasion but, surprisingly enough, they remained lifelong friends. As Bewick said of Spence: ‘He was one of the warmest Philanthropists in the world and the happiness of Mankind seemed, with him, to absorb every other consideration.’

In these days of bland career politicians, Spence stands out as an example of a free spirit, prepared to go to prison for his principles - the principles of grass roots freedom, community and democracy, for the human rights of people all over the world.

Spence mobilised politically in taverns in Newcastle and later in London. That is why this afternoon, after this short ceremony, you are all invited to join us across the road in the Red House to raise a glass for Tom and to hear informal talks, poems and songs in his honour. You can hear further talks on Spence tonight at the Lit & Phil, courtesy of the Workers’ Educational Association, and next Monday at Newcastle Library, along with a display of his works, and, if you like, you can join some of us at Marsden Grotto, South Shields, tomorrow lunchtime, where Thomas first chalked the phrase ‘The Rights of Man’ on a cave wall, to raise another glass for this man who in his own words ‘dared to be free.’

This plaque puts Thomas Spence on the map for all of those pilgrims who hold human rights and political freedoms dear. It does not trap his free spirit rather it gives his life and work fresh wings.
Thanks to you all for coming this afternoon on this proud day for both The Thomas Spence Trust, Newcastle City Council and the citizens of this great city of ours.
I’ll now hand over to the Lord Mayor who will unveil the plaque, after which my friend Gary Miller, esteemed singer and songwriter, will perform a folk song which I’ve written as a tribute to Tom.


Down by the old Quayside,
I heard a young man cry,
among the nets and ships he made his way.
As the keelboats buzzed along,
he sang a seagull’s song;
he cried out for the Rights of you and me.

Oh lads, that man was Thomas Spence,
he gave up all his life
just to be free.
Up and down the cobbled Side,
struggling on through the Broad Chare,
he shouted out his wares
for you and me.

Oh lads, you should have seen him gan,
he was a man the likes you rarely see.
With a pamphlet in his hand,
and a poem at his command,
he haunts the Quayside still
and his words sing.

His folks they both were Scots,
sold socks and fishing nets,
through the Fog on the Tyne they plied their trade.
In this theatre of life,
the crying and the strife,
they tried to be decent and be strong.

Oh lads, that man was Thomas Spence,
he gave up all his life
just to be free.
Up and down the cobbled Side,
struggling on through the Broad Chare,
he shouted out his wares
for you and me.

Oh lads, you should have seen him gan,
he was a man the likes you rarely see.
With a pamphlet in his hand,
and a poem at his command,
he haunts the Quayside still
and his words sing.


(from the music-theatre piece ‘Pig’s Meat’ written for Bruvvers Theatre Company)

the jingling geordie

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whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur