The Cowper & Newton Museum was delighted to partner with Milton Keynes Youth Council (MKYC) for this year’s MySayMK youth conference.
Voices – Amazing Grace 250 Youth Conference
Tuesday 11th July 2023
With activities based at the Cowper & Newton Museum and the parish church of St Peter & St Paul, the conference day offered opportunities for young people to demonstrate how they can develop their own views and voice on a topic and share this with the wider group.
Pupils from 9 Milton Keynes Secondary schools explored the use of voice in protest, and messaging in music, poetry and creative writing as tools of engagement.
9:30 – Arrival at St Peter & St Paul Church
9:45 – Introduction to the day
- Peter Taylor, Electoral Services Manager, Milton Keynes City Council,
- Amanda Molcher, Trustee Lead on AG250
- Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, Folk Musician
Workshops & Activities
Writer and performer, Dr Rommi Smith, delivered a workshop which encouraged young people to develop “for and against”, relating to John Newton and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Rommi Smith
Folk Musician Cohen Braithwaite Kilcoyne delivered a workshop using the concertina and voice which explored the voices of sailors in song. Cohen Braithwaite Kilcoyne
The young people also investigated the Cowper & Newton Museum to learn more about the Transatlantic Slave Trade, as well as the life of John Newton, his life as a slave trader and abolitionist, as well as an ordained minister and writer of the hymn, Amazing Grace.
‘Just a huge thank you from us. It was a wonderful day for the children and they grew in confidence and in their academics and ability to look at the world more critically. We really enjoyed the tour and the music lesson as well as the poet. All of these activities allowed our students to step outside their comfort zone and grow a bit as well as educating them.’
Members of the Youth Council also played a key role in deciding on the content of the day, as well as the organisation of the day, by welcoming the schools on arrival, registration and helping with the smooth transition from session to session.
As part of the Milton Keynes City Council commissioned documentary about Amazing Grace 250 project and programme, the Youth Council members also worked with film maker James Stiers, gaining experience in filming, film making and interviewing.