Terrific Technologies at St Anthony’s Primary School

It was Terrific Technologies week at St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School in Leeds last week, and I went along one afternoon to teach Year 4 how to take photos using my BigBuzz Photography Technique and my digital cameras. The children caught on fast. Very fast! Take a look at some of the terrific photos they took in their school grounds:

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It’s amazing what you can find on a cold, grey afternoon in February when you’re being observant, isn’t it?

What did the children think of the workshop? Well, more than one came up to me and said they now wanted to be a photographer when they grew up!

And what did form teacher Miss McGuire think about it all?

‘Thanks so much for the fabulous workshop. The children really loved it and I was so impressed by the quality of the photos they took!’

I was really impressed too! Congratulations to Year 4 for learning to use the terrific technology that is the digital camera so fast and so well. It’s a skill for life. Who knows where it will lead them?

If you’d like a BigBuzz photography workshop in your school, and you’re within an hour of York, then just get in touch.

And you can find out more about my photography workshops here and here .

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz

St Nicks Autumn Fayre

I love putting on community poetry activities. They’re a great way of getting everyone involved in an event. And anyone who was anyone was getting involved in the Amazing Autumn Acrostic being created at St Nicks Autumn Fayre yesterday. From York’s MP Rachael Maskell and the Sheriff’s Lady, Brenda Tyler, through to both the junior and senior winners of this year’s Longest Apple Peel contest, young and old alike helped create our acrostic poem, as you can see from the slideshow below.

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The weather was kind to us, and it was a delight to see people of all ages and from all backgrounds stream into ‘the green heart of York‘, to look around and take part in a host of autumnal activities, from apple juicing to apple olympics, bird walks to water vole wanders, Nordic walking to sloe gin tasting.

The Civic Party arrived by tuktuk (100% electric; zero emissions):

The Lord Mayor's party arriving by tuktuk

The Lord Mayor’s party arriving by tuktuk

and joined in events with gusto:

The Sheriff and Sheriff's Lady taking part in the Longest Apple Peel competition

The Sheriff and Sheriff’s Lady taking part in the Longest Apple Peel competition

And as for the cake competition – mouthwatering in the extreme!

Some of the entries in the cake competition

Some of the entries in the cake competition

At the end of the Fayre we had two complete Autumn Acrostics that celebrated what visitors had enjoyed about the day, and about St Nicks in general.

Me, Ivana of St Nicks and the two complete acrostics

Me, Ivana of St Nicks and the two complete acrostics

I realise it’s a tad tricky to read these, so let me quote some of the lines for you here:

‘Totally blown away by apple-juice making scrumptiousness’

‘Bobbing apples was amazing’

‘Nature in the middle of town and the community’

‘Really, really, really looooong apple peels’

‘Acrobatic minibeasts’

‘Song thrushes, sycamores and sawflies’

‘Talking with old friends’

‘Amazing autumnal activities’

‘Swinging on the swings’

‘Carefree autumnal strolls’

‘Looking for butterflies makes me feel happy’

‘Going through the bendy paths is fun’

‘Gaining my potter’s spot’

‘Sloe gin after Nordic walking’

Winner of the Longest Apple Peel competition (Junior section)

Winner of the Longest Apple Peel competition (Junior section)

If you missed this year’s Fayre, look out for the upcoming events at St Nicks. But you don’t have to wait for a special event. Come and walk around your local nature reserve any time you fancy. (Directions here.) Who knows, you might even spot a water vole!

Thank you to Ivana and all the other staff members and volunteers who made St Nicks Autumn Fayre such a success. It’s a privilege to be a St Nicks patron.

Oh, and if you’d like me to put on a community poetry event where you are, just get in touch!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Performing at Le Moulin Rouge

Well, I never thought when I started up theBigBuzz back in 2007 that I would end up performing at Le Moulin Rouge in the company of Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Ant and Dec. But that’s exactly what happened this Yorkshire Day (= 1st August, for the uninitiated!)

Perhaps I need to unpack that a little. Le Moulin Rouge in question was a fantastic Spiegeltent temporarily erected in the centre of my home town York, as part of The Great Yorkshire Fringe Festival.

Le Moulin Rouge (The York spiegeltent version!)

Le Moulin Rouge (The York spiegeltent version!)

And Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Ant and Dec were in fact present in the guise of face masks only, aka local volunteers judging the Yorkshire’s Got Talent portion of the day’s events. (And boy, has Yorkshire ever got talent! The contestants all sang amazingly!)

Simon Cowell (almost)

Simon Cowell (almost)

What was the day? Well, it was the family part of the Yorkshire Day Festival, a whole day and night’s worth of acts performing to raise money for the Lord Mayor’s charities, one of which is St Nicks (of which I am a Patron).

It was fabulous to watch so many other talented acts over the course of the day – and in such an amazing performance space.

Ukelele Sunshine Revival performing in Le Moulin Rouge

Ukelele Sunshine Revival performing in Le Moulin Rouge

My contribution to the day was an edu-taining ‘Birds and the Bees’ poetry show. I’m pleased to say the feedback was great – including this on the day:

‘The Birds and The Bees act was very good. My granddaughter loved it and was up on stage holding up drawings. Very good day indeed.’

and this from @FamiliesYork on Twitter:

‘Loved it. Anneliese was amazing of on

Can’t ask for more than that!

I hope that much money was raised for the Lord Mayor’s charities. And that the families who came along were inspired by my portion of the day to do plenty of minibeast hunting and birding over the summer holidays.

Thank you to the friendly and professional crew at the venue who were a great help to us all. And to Emma Courtney of The Social Octopus and Kellie Taylor for organising the event.

The Moulin Rouge crew in action

The Moulin Rouge crew in action

If you’d like some ‘amazing’ eco-edutainment at your event, just get in touch!

Anneliese Emmans Dean theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

AGM – with attitude!

Let’s face it, an AGM can be a little … lacking in pizzazz. However worthy the organisation. And Edible York, the organisation holding its AGM last night, is a *very* worthy organisation. It’s a ‘lively local charity that aims to support people to become closer to the food they eat’. Take a look at what they get up to here.

To counter the ‘lack-of-pizzazz’-ness of the evening, Edible York invited me to come and perform for them, after the formalities of the agenda were over. So I did just that. A set of poems all about what they get up to, which is growing fruit and veg.

Entertaining at the Edible York AGM

Entertaining at the Edible York AGM

How did it go down? Here’s what one  attendee tweeted afterwards:

‘Spectacular performance poetry this eve from the ever effervescent Anneliese’

Edu-taining at the Edible York AGM

Where would we be without bumblebees? Edu-taining at the Edible York AGM

And another comment:

‘I loved the way you tied everything together with merry words and buzzing characterisations. It made our AGM such a happy, memorable event!!’

Adding to the festive atmosphere was Tim Pheby playing and singing some beautiful songs (and updating us on the England v Slovakia game).

An excellent way to spend a June evening.

If you dig digging, then Edible York are always looking for new volunteers! They’ve recently produced an excellent ‘Guide to Community Growing‘ which you might find inspires you further. You can download a copy here.

And finally … if you’d me to come and pep up your AGM, then get in touch!

Anneliese Emmans DeanBringing poetry to life – theBigBuzz.biz


Fizzing at the University of York

I had the honour of being invited by the University of York Disabled Students’ Network to speak as part of their ‘Access Your Future’ event last week.

Their invitation explained the nature of the event as follows:

‘We are inviting speakers who we believe to have interesting and empowering experiences to talk about their journeys and successes. We are looking for our guests to speak or run interactive workshops addressing achievement in the face of adversity.’

It was a great pleasure to meet the attendees, and I’d like to thank them all for making such fabulous real and metaphorical lemonade with me during my workshop.

Making lemonade at the University of York

Making lemonade at the University of York

I trust you found the event as a whole useful – inspiring, even – and I hope most sincerely that you will all succeed in making your futures fizz!

Making lemonade at the University of York

Making lemonade at the University of York

A big ‘thank you’ to Evelyn Kramer of the Disabled Students’ Network for all her excellent organising and administrative work around this event.

Fizzy metaphorical lemonade, as created by members of the Disabled Student Network

Fizzy metaphorical (poetry) lemonade, as created by members of the Disabled Student Network

And congratulations to the DSN committee as a whole on being ‘Highly Commended’ in the recent Love York Awards.

Anneliese Emmans Dean theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life



Eat, drink and write poetry!

What a beautiful park Rowntree Park is!

Rowntree Park in York on a sunny August day

Rowntree Park in York on a sunny August day

And what a beautiful place to have a Reading Café.

On the balcony of Rowntree Park Reading Café

On the balcony of Rowntree Park Reading Café

I have performed in this Reading Café before, and it seemed the perfect place to have the official launch of our York Food and Drink Festival ‘Poetry on a Plate’ placemats.

Now it just so happens that Salma was 8 last week, and one of her birthday treats was a trip to the Reading Café. Which is where I met her. And introduced her to our new placemats.

Introducing Salma to our new ‘Poetry on a Plate’ placemats in the Rowntree Park Reading Café, York

Introducing Salma to our new ‘Poetry on a Plate’ placemats in the Rowntree Park Reading Café, York. (Photo: AR Marketing)

I had the honour of performing my ‘Passion Fruit’ poem (which appears on the placemat) specially for her as a little extra birthday treat. And then she wrote a fabulous poem (in the space provided on the placemat) about her favourite food – which she’ll be entering into the Festival food poetry competition.

Salma with her freshly written food poem!

Salma with her freshly written food poem! (Photo: AR Marketing)

Not to be outdone, her 5-year-old brother Larbi also came along and wrote a poem for the competition about his favourite food.

Larbi writing his food poem

Larbi writing his food poem on our ‘Poetry on a Plate’ placemat. (Photo: AR Marketing)

Well now, if Salma and Larbi can, so can you!

You can find our Poetry on a Plate placemats in cafés and restaurants around York, including Library Cafés (across York), Pizza Express (on Lendal Bridge), York Cocoa HouseWinner WinnerCafé No 8Walmgate Ale House & BistroEl PianoBirdies PerchCakes Delicious, Evie Brown’s Tea Room and Waterstones café.


Anneliese Emmans Deanwww.theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

Championing the Tansy Beetle

One of the important things I did at the Insect Festival in York last weekend was to sign up to become a Tansy Beetle Champion. If you live in or near York, do you fancy becoming a Tansy Beetle Champion too?

sm 150611 Tansy beetle Champions poster

Buglife has just appointed its first Tansy Beetle Conservation Officer, Sophie Badrick, here in York, and I was very pleased to make her acquaintance on the Buglife stand at the Festival.

As you may know, the Tansy Beetle is also known as The Jewel of York. It’s a stunning green beetle, one of the most endangered beetles in Britain. It’s found along the banks of certain stretches of the River Ouse here in York – and virtually nowhere else.

People have been coming to York since Victorian times specially to see this beetle. I first saw it in 2009, and have been a big fan ever since.

The beetle features in my Buzzing! book (page 134, for those of you who have the book on your lap as you read this!), and in many of my Buzzing! minibeast poetry shows and poetry workshops.

As the name suggests, this beetle is a bit keen on Tansy. Keen to the point of obsession. No Tansy plants, no Tansy beetle. So the more Tansy plants there are, the better the chances of the Tansy Beetle surviving and thriving. Enter the Tansy Beetle Champions …

At the Insect Festival I signed up to be a Tansy Beetle Champion in charge of growing a Tansy plant. I was given a plant in a pot to take home and grow on.

Tansy plants being given out to Tansy Beetle Champions to rear ...

Tansy plants being given out to Tansy Beetle Champions to rear …

Now, being responsible for the survival of an entire species is a bit of a heavy burden (especially given my track record when it comes to raising plants), so the more of us who grow these plants, the better!

If you live in or around York and fancy doing your bit for the Tansy Beetle (and lifting some of the responsibility for its survival from my shoulders!) then email the new Tansy Beetle Conservation Officer  Sophie.badrick@buglife.org.uk, or phone her on 07880 316026.

And if you’d like to print off this poster and put it up somewhere, you might be able to recruit some more Tansy Beetle Champions too.

Of course the really amazing Tansy Beetle Champions in York are people such as Geoff and Roma Oxford, who have been working tirelessly for decades to highlight this beetle’s plight and put in place measures to protect it. It was great to see both Geoff and Roma at the Insect Festival. Not forgetting Buglife’s York Officer Vicky Kindemba.

Find out more about the Tansy Beetle here and here. And enjoy being a Tansy Beetle Champion!

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life