Segedunum: Journeys and Frontiers
Recently, I had the privilege of delivering two creative writing and recording workshops at Segedunum Roman Fort and Museum in Wallsend. These formed part of the Culture Bites@North Tyneside Podcast Project sponsored by North Tyneside Council and Arts Council England. During the research for the workshops, I learnt about Segedunum’s amazing history.
Not only was this place a fort situated at the eastern End of Hadrian’s Wall and manned with soldiers from all corners of the Roman Empire, but this site also lead the world in coal mining and shipbuilding, exporting to all over the world. Now it has come full circle, looking to preserve the past with major archeological excavations and hand this on to future generations. It is also the beginning or the end for those embarking on the 82 mile long Hadrian’s Wall Walk across the breadth of England.
Segedunum, past and present, represents a place of journeys and frontiers and it was this theme that we explored for the workshops. The story of the famous passenger liner RMS Mauretania, built at Swan Hunter next to Segedunum Fort was the inspiration for writing about journeys – a series of diary entries from imagined characters who had been part of the ship’s life from being built in the shipyards, through her time as a liner, WW1 hospital ship and decommissioning.
To explore frontiers we centred on the Roman Centurions and those in their native land on the north side of the wall and what their view would have been. We also discussed what produces barriers between people and how they can be broken down.
The group produced some great work and also had the experience of recording their pieces for listenupnorth so I hope you will enjoy listening to the podcasts. Centurions and Frontiers is currently available to listen with Journeys out soon.