The Children’s Poly-Olbion is a groundbreaking young heritage initiative celebrating and reinterpreting the literary and cartographic heritage of Poly-Olbion (1612; 1622), the epic Jacobean topographical poem describing England and Wales, composed by the poet laureate Michael Drayton (1563–1631) and illustrated with fantastical maps by William Hole (1588-1624).
It is being delivered by the acclaimed, dynamic educational non-profit Flash of Splendour, supported by Exeter University and the Royal Geographical Society. Through an innovative workshop programme, a major exhibition, publications and the commissioning of major new work by Stephen Walter and David McInnes, it is enabling children and young people, particularly those with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) and ALN (Additional Learning Needs), to access and interact with the Poly-Olbion both as heritage and as powerful therapeutic tool.
The project is creating significant legacies and remodelling paradigms, notably through the creation of new transferable methodologies for engaging demographics with complex, traditionally “difficult” heritage. In this way, we hope to make real discernible changes within heritage outreach, supporting a new generation of young academics and heritage educators.
George Wither, To his Noble Friend, MICHAEL DRAYTON, Esquire, vpon his Topo-chrono-graphicall POEME, from part two of Poly-Olbion (1622):
Ages to come, shall hug thy POESY,
as we our dear Friends Pictures, when they dye.
Those that succeed us, DRAYTONS Name shall love….
And our great-Grandsonnes Childrens children may,
(Yea shall) as in a Glasse, this ISLE survey, As wee now see it.
And as those did to, Who lived many hundred yeares agoe.