Caisson Project


The whole idea of a box of stories started with the Todmorden Touchwood project. I wanted to create something that was both tactile and would spark the children’s imagination without using direct text.

As the Touchwood project progressed we were told that there was not enough funding for a story-cabinet as well, so we had to put the idea on ice for
several months.

I have a friend who always says “Things are as they should be” and in this case he was absolutely right! If I had proceeded with the first idea the end product would have been a large story cabinet (much like an Indian Kavad). On reflection this would have been too big, hard to transport from school to school or indeed classroom to classroom and meant that only one class in one school could use it at any given time!

Sometimes delays in funding are a blessing (this is not something that you will often hear me say). It gave us time to think, to cogitate and to come up with a plan so cunning that in the words of the great Baldric “You could have put a tail on it and called it a weasel”!

So one sunny day, it seems so long ago I can’t remember the actual date, in 2009 we were told we had the funding, provided we made a story box that could be used by pupils with special needs as well as those on the regular curriculum……. and the ideas and the build began!

Nine individual boxes, carved, inlayed and embossed with metal, glass, fabric, wood and plaster, every side different, every box relating to a particular subject. Inside would be a number of unexpected objects, fantastic devices, artifacts and objet d’art to give flight to the imagination.

We could no longer call this a story cabinet on account of the fact it was now nine smaller boxes. So we decided to call the whole thing a Caisson which is medieval French for box and in some cases a “Box of Delights”.

So follow us on our journey as we build these fantastic things and work with three wonderful schools – Woodbank School, Luddenden Dene School and Midgley School.

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Each box contains a selection of objects and resources providing a range of sensory and kinaesthetic stimuli to the imagination, encouraging exploration of rhyme, rhythm, riddle, imagery, wordplay and story. Each box has a unique collection of objects, specific to a general outline applicable to all boxes. The objects are stored, when not in use, in a bag within the appropriate box.

The boxes were designed to be sturdy and are therefore heavy, Always use two people to move the boxes and empty them before turning over.

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Artists and People involved in the Caisson project.

Sea Box
City Box
Faith Box
Space Box
Light Box
Community Box
Battles and Heroes Box
Myths and Legends Box
Environment and Journeys Box