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ROCKAWAY PARK'S WORKSHOPS & COURSES

Here at Rockaway Park, we’re committed to engaging with the local community and beyond.

With a wealth of talented craftspeople, artists, makers, musicians and performers - all keen to share their skills and experience in a supportive and inspirational environment - our series of workshops and courses are open to everyone and kept as low in price as we can make them.

For a taster of past workshops, see the short video below.

If you'd like to get in touch to express an interest in past workshops being run again, or you'd like to collaborate with us, or you'd like more details about our workshop and course experiences, please visit our Workshop Archive page by clicking below

Alternatively, if you'd like to support Rockaway to enable us to provide more low-cost and free workshops and courses, you can become a Patreon. With a small monthly donation, you can help us continue our valuable work supporting the community and providing valuable skills-based sessions to those who need them. For all the info on how you can become a Rockaway Patreon, please click on the image below.


Rockaway Park's circular Patreon symbol with a colourful picture in the centre featuring the Rockaway yard, plus the words 'Help Rockaway Thrive. Become a Patreon'

You will also be helping spread the crucial message that actively supporting each other in these testing times is a way to initiate positive change.

Thank you!

CURRENT WORKSHOPS & COURSES

Songwriting Workshop

Sunday 14th July, 12.30pm

Songwriting workshop flyer featuring a palette of pink and purples with drawings of Carol Hodge and Julia Othmer, plus details about the workshop.

We’re thrilled that piano-playing, singing song crafters Carol Hodge and Julia Othmer are joining us for a special Sunday Session in July, as well as to provide this amazing songwriting workshop!

 

Across the Atlantic Ocean - from the unlikely locations of Huddersfield in Yorkshire and Kansas City, USA - Carol and Julia have struck up a pen pal relationship of songs, bringing light to what divides and unites us, geographically, politically and personally. Having met on tour in 2018 supporting Welsh legends The Alarm, the pair quickly bonded over their shared love of all things heart-centred and magical.

 

With over 40 combined years of songwriting and performance between them, they've got ample experience of songwriting, performance, collaboration and creativity to share.  

Montage of striking photographs featuring Carol Hodge and Julia Othmer performing at carious gigs.

For this special workshop, Carol and Julia will open their tool kit of artistic approaches to unlock creative potential, including strategies to handle the proverbial 'blank page;' working through writer’s block and expanding possibilities. They will guide the group through a series of games and experiments with exercises that can be translated to a variety of artistic mediums. The workshop also provides time for a Q&A and live co-creation with workshop participants.

 

All are welcome, at any level of experience.

Places are limited, so if you'd like to take part, please click on the image below to book.

Biodiversity in the Garden
Saturday 27th July, 10am - 4pm

Rockaway is excited to present the first in a suite of new courses which focus on gardening, led by the wonderful Penny Austin. 

Designed for adults of all ages and abilities, this course is a mix of practical activities and observation, based in the Rockaway classroom and Community Forest Garden.

Penny has a degree in Social Psychology, a level 5 DET teaching qualification, and is a fully qualified and experienced horticulturalist.

Having begun her career working in theatre, film and then natural stress management, she retrained in horticulture. For over 25 years she’s worked as gardener, designer, head gardener, consultant and lecturer within the industry. Her work has taken her all over the country and abroad, including France and Sicily.

 

She has extensive experience working on a range of smaller domestic gardens and  community gardens, as well as large forest gardens and traditional country estates, but always with organic, sustainable principles at the forefront of all she does. She has a particular passion for soil health and in creating a natural balance in the garden.

 

Penny currently lectures for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) delivering professional qualification courses to budding horticulturalists, and has now recently also taken on the beautiful gardens at Rockaway Park.

Her first session is an introduction to biodiversity, which can be undertaken as a stand-alone course. If you'd like to delve deeper, Session 2 is available on Saturday 10th August.

Course Structure
Session 1: Saturday 27th July, 10am - 4pm

This introduction looks at what is meant by biodiversity, as well as how it’s relevant in the garden and wider environment, by exploring the following:

  • Biodiversity from the perspective of plants and planting and how we're entirely dependent on plants for our existence, like most living organisms. 

  • How climate change will affect caring for our gardens and the populations within them.

  • The wider food web and how encouraging biodiversity is multi-layered - there’s so much more than just planting some wild flowers, although that in itself plays an important role. We will look at why!

  • Caring for our soil and water, and how that can impact on diversity. 

We will also look in detail at the plants and planting styles that can support and encourage biodiversity with the following: 

  • Basic botany to support understanding.

  • Plants provide food, shelter and breeding grounds for many forms of life, so we’ll examine how our choice of plants and the way we maintain them has an impact on the diversity we’ll attract.

  • How plants have adapted to attract specific pollinators.

  • Why some flowers cannot produce pollen and why.

  • How different shaped flowers suit different insects. For example, butterflies like wide flowers they can land on and walk across.

  • How insects and other pollinators work with plants, as well as how they help each other.

There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions and discuss the issues, as well as explore how you can develop your own garden. Specific plant choices and planting design will also be studied within a historical context. Plus, there's opportunities for advice and guidance about plant choices for your own garden by using photographs for reference.

Cost for this session is £40 for unwaged/benefits or £60 for employed, and includes a delicious home-made vegan lunch.

Places are limited, so if you'd like to join Penny for this first session, you can book a place by clicking on the image below. If you'd like to book both sessions of this course and receive a discount, please select the 2 Sessions Discount option!

Session 2: Saturday 10th August, 10am - 4pm

This session will build on the previous introduction by focusing more on the environment, while exploring the following:

  • Basic soil science, different soil types and what lives in it.

  • Cultural practices, such as digging/not digging, mulching, and how they affect soil health and soil biodiversity, which in turn affects plant health.

  • The role of different organisms in the soil and how they fit into the food web.

  • The role of water in plants and the soil, plus how water in the garden encourages biodiversity.

  • Creating water features that will encourage and support biodiversity.

  • Choosing plants that will thrive in these environments and the role they play in pond health.

  • Creating habitats and adapting gardening practice to support biodiversity.

  • Utilising what has been learned about food webs and the complex relationships between organisms to create a balanced environment that can support the optimum populations that can live and support each other.

There will also be practical opportunities to build features like bug hotels, while considering how well they work and why.

Cost for this session is £40 for unwaged/benefits or £60 for employed, and includes a delicious home-made vegan lunch.

if you'd like to join Penny for this second session, you can book a place by clicking on the image below.

(NB: Remember that if you'd like to do some gardening you can also become a Rockaway Community Forest Garden volunteer. To get in touch with us and sign up, just click below!)

Stained-Glass Workshop

Saturday 27th July, 9am - 5pm

Stained glass July flyer & process pics.jpg

Since they were first launched in February, Ben Ford’s stained-glass workshops have been incredibly popular and we've received some wonderful feedback from participants. Using reclaimed glass wherever possible, Ben uses traditional methods, combined with modern design software. 

 

On this one-day workshop for absolute beginners, participants will learn:

- How to design and make a template (cartoon.) 

- How to cut glass. 

- How to stretch, cut and solder lead with a vegan flux. 

- How to construct a simple stained-glass panel using lead came. 

Montage of the stained-glass workshop participants creating their pieces through the various stages of design, cutting, soldering and finalising.

All participants go home with a small leaded stained-glass panel chosen from pre-designed options, using their own choice of glass. 

Cost for this workshop is £30 for unwaged/benefits or £50 for employed, and all materials and kit are provided.

Places are limited, so if you'd like to take part, please book a place​ below.

Sustainable Gardening in a Changing Climate

Saturday 7th September, 10am - 4pm

Rockaway is excited to present this second course focusing on gardening, led by the wonderful Penny Austin. 

​If you’re interested in understanding how to adapt gardening practice to be more sustainable, and move with the ever-fluctuating temperature and weather conditions, then this is the course for you!

Designed for adults of all ages and abilities, the course consists of 3 sessions and is a mix of practical activities and observation, based in the Rockaway classroom and our Community Forest Garden. 

Penny has a degree in Social Psychology, a level 5 DET teaching qualification, and is a fully qualified and experienced horticulturalist.

Having begun her career working in theatre, film and then natural stress management, she retrained in horticulture. For over 25 years she’s worked as gardener, designer, head gardener, consultant and lecturer within the industry. Her work has taken her all over the country and abroad, including France and Sicily.

 

She has extensive experience working on a range of smaller domestic gardens and  community gardens, as well as large forest gardens and traditional country estates, but always with organic, sustainable principles at the forefront of all she does. She has a particular passion for soil health and in creating a natural balance in the garden.

 

Penny currently lectures for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) delivering professional qualification courses to budding horticulturalists, and has now recently also taken on the beautiful gardens at Rockaway Park.

Course Structure
Session 1: Saturday 7th September, 10am - 4pm

This first session is a general introduction to different approaches to gardening with some basic study around soil, as well as plant science and how the climate affects our gardening. It will include recognising the pros and cons of different approaches to gardening practice, such as traditional methods, no dig, permaculture, using raised/deep beds, forest gardening and biodynamics.

We will also examine more traditional garden styles and look at alternatives that may be more adaptable. This can be put in a historical context because there are old methods that readily lend themselves to the current requirements of the garden.

Cost for this course is £40 per session for unwaged/benefits or £60 for employed, and includes a delicious home-made vegan lunch. 

Places are limited, so if you'd like to join Penny for this first session, you can book a place by clicking on the image below. If you'd like to book all 3 sessions of this course and receive a discount, please select the 3 Sessions Discount option!

Session 2: Saturday 14th September, 10am - 4pm

This second session will look at strategies to mitigate temperature fluctuations, as well as extreme and unpredictable weather conditions by exploring the following:

  • Propagating and growing on plants, including collecting seeds.

  • Improving soil structure, composting and mulching.

  • Protective environments and microclimates.

  • Reducing the need for fertilisers and making your own.

  • Providing water sources, including rain gardens, dipping ponds, irrigation and collection, and reducing the need for watering.

  • Maintaining gardens sustainably and reducing our carbon footprint.

Cost for this session is £40 for unwaged/benefits or £60 for employed, and includes a delicious home-made vegan lunch.

Places are limited, so if you'd like to join Penny for this session, you can book a place by clicking on the image below.

Session 3: Saturday 21st September, 10am - 4pm

This final session will focus on plants with resilience and choosing the right plant for the situation by exploring the following:

  • Managing pests and diseases, creating a balance in our gardens and greenhouses and encouraging biodiversity.

  • Growing produce, ornamentals and cut flowers, as well as more naturalistic and wild plants within a garden context.

 

Participants will have a chance to look at designs for their own gardens or the Rockaway Community Forest Garden. They will identify plants suitable for a variety of environments and understand how to care for them. Plus, they will be able to develop a strategy that will enable them to move forwards using sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.

Cost for this session is £40 for unwaged/benefits or £60 for employed, and includes a delicious home-made vegan lunch.

Places are limited, so if you'd like to join Penny for this session, you can book a place by clicking on the image below.

(NB: Remember that if you'd like to do some gardening you can also become a Rockaway Community Forest Garden volunteer. To get in touch with us and sign up, just click below!)

Automata Workshop

Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th October, 9am - 5pm

A montage of 3 of Fi Henshall's beautiful automata creations featuring a mix of moving parts - wheels, kettles, small doors and windows, miniature books, miniature figures, bells and other minute metal pieces.

We're really excited to be able to offer this automata workshop with the brilliant Fi Henshall. We're especially excited because there are hardly any automata workshops available in the world, so it's a unique opportunity to learn this magical creative skill from a true expert!

This 2-day workshop will introduce participants to basic mechanisms, as well as enable them to experiment with ways in which they can be combined with form to create automata with a narrative theme. The combination of movement and materials, such as wood, wire, metal tubes, metal sheets, found objects and figures, will be explored, with Fi using some examples of her own work to demonstrate the mechanisms you'll be working with.

 

Fi will also draw attention to the use of different materials, colours, textures and compositions, as well as share some helpful books on automata making. By the end of the first morning you'll be provided with the basic ingredients of an automaton - cranks, cams, levers, pulleys and a treasure trove of other materials - which you can assemble, customise and elaborate on with Fi's help and guidance.

 

At the end of the second afternoon there will be a 'show and tell' to enjoy each other's creations, as well as a chance to discuss any improvements or future plans.

Expect to work with wood, wire, metal tubes and sheets, old tins and found objects.

 

Most materials will be provided by Fi, but please bring any of your own interesting materials or found objects you would like to work with.

Montage of two automata birds on tree stumps, created in previous workshops. Plus, photos of metal objects and other cornucopia that can be used to create automata.

Cost for this 2-day workshop is £250.

If you'd like to take part in this unique and exciting workshop, please click below.

NB: If you're fortunate enough to be in a position where you'd like to support someone on low income or benefits to take part in this workshop, that would be amazing! Please get in touch below to let us know and thank you - your support for someone else could be life-changing and will be very much appreciated.

ONLINE COURSES

Beginners Yoga

Do you want to get into yoga but don't know where to start? Then Maddie's course is for you! Designed to help beginners find confidence with breath work and yoga poses, Maddie invites you to dip into some amazing meditation practices.

This six-part course will allow you to explore lots of areas of yoga, encouraging you to get into a regular practice that works for you. With easy to follow videos and a supporting worksheet with additional information, the course covers the following:

Session 1: Breath & Basics

An introduction to the 3 key elements of yoga - Breath, Movement, Chill.

Session 2: Poses & Peacefinding

An exploration of classic poses that can be sewn together to eventually create a flow.
 

Session 3: Serene Stillness

Finding stillness in body and mind.


Session 4: Mindful Movement

An introduction to flow and the sun salutation.

Session 5: Flowing Freely 

Going with the flow and listening to what your body is asking for.


Session 6: Yoga For When You're Tired

Slowing down and gentle stretches.

Cost for all six sessions is £50.

To sign up and get started on your yoga practice, just click below:

Our Workshop & Course Programme in 2024

Montage of colour photographs featuring images from different workshops - screen printing, guitar for beginners, bangle making, silver ring making, Rockaway Kids graffiti and badge making and welding for women.

We've been lucky enough to work with some fantastic practitioners delivering workshops and delighted by the response to everything we've offered with some amazing feedback from participants. Thanks to each and every one of you for taking part.

 In 2024, we'd like to continue offering creative practitioners space for hire to deliver their workshops and courses at Rockaway in the classroom, terrace, chapel, main shed, or yard, with electricity and heating provided, if needed. PLUS, we'll promote your workshop or course through our newsletter, website and social media platforms, which means it will reach a following of over 32,000 people.

 

It will be like any other venue hire to deliver a workshop or course, except our Michelle will happily work with you on promotional materials, such as images, info and videos (if you have them) to help with recruitment. 

If you're interested in running a workshop or course at Rockaway with this approach, then please get in touch below for a chat. We look forward to hearing from you!

Accommodation Options

Picture of the Rockaway atrium with an apartment window and bougainvillea
A bedroom in one of the Rockaway Air BnB apartments

If you're travelling from afar for a workshop or visit, don't forget there are on-site accommodation options at Rockaway. To find out more and check availability, head to our Accommodation page!

ROCKAWAY PARK

"Would those who say it can't be done, please stand clear of those doing it"

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