The Vikings came to Sheffield Mencap this year as Activity Learning Hub collaborated with York’s Jorvik Viking Centre to celebrate
Viking Week 2024.

The Jorvik Viking Festival, held from 12th – 18th February this year, is Europe’s largest viking event, and celebrates the region’s rich Norse heritage.

Visitors could meet Vikings camped out in York city centre, explore Viking goods at the 10th Century Traders stalls and have a go at historical crafts themselves. There were also expert talks, workshops and unique events including the Best Beard competition and Poo Day!

A highlight of the festival was the Sheffield Mencap exhibition at the Jorvik Dig centre, developed from a term of Viking-themed sessions in Activity Learning Hub.

Groups enjoyed sessions exploring Viking life through crafts, mythology, food, sports and handling artefacts from the Jorvik centre.

Each Activity Learning Hub group developed their own responses to the Viking theme, coming together to form a creative, immersive and educational exhibition enjoyed by hundreds of visitors. Work included drama performances based on Norse mythology, unique shields and helmets, intricate textile pieces, stories and poems.

Sports Group Leader Hannah told us more:

We started with archery which was popular with the Vikings. We practiced how to hold the bow and the movement needed to fire the rubber arrow, then moved on to targets.

We learnt how to play a Viking game called Kubb. In Kubb, the objective of the game is to knock over wooden blocks by throwing batons at them. This proved very popular (and very competitive!) with the groups. We also tried out a Viking game called Knattleikr which is likened to Hurling or Rounders. Each activity was made inclusive for the members, and everyone took turns and cheered each other on. The groups all very much enjoyed learning different activities relevant to the Vikings and adapting them into their own versions and styles. Each week we also discussed the Vikings, the sports and what things would have been like for them.

The Viking project was a fantastic opportunity for our Activity Learning Hub to explore a new topic, collaborate with an exciting partner organisation and see their hard work displayed publicly.

Thank you to the team at Jorvik who made this project possible.