At the heart of our vision for The Piece Hall is a high-quality learning programme that takes pupils on a journey through this building's fascinating past; from its roots in medieval times through to its eighteenth century beginnings and beyond.

Tailored to meet the national curriculum our learning programme brings The Piece Hall to life with interactive, practical and engaging workshops spanning multiple subject areas. Pupils will develop knowledge and skills and enjoy getting hands-on with history. 



A workshop day is delivered by a member of the Heritage & Learning Team and divided into three parts. These include an interactive guided tour, a hands-on workshop session linked to curriculum areas of study and self-conducted time to explore our three heritage spaces.

Workshops run from 10am – 2.15pm and can accommodate up to 90 pupils (in three groups of 30) unless otherwise stated.


Join a member of our Heritage & Learning team for a tour of The Piece Hall and a journey back in time. Groups will explore the fascinating heritage of the last surviving cloth hall through this interactive walk and learn incredible stories.

Tours last one hour and must be booked in advance.


Explore The Piece Hall through a self-conducted visit at a time to suit your group. Pupils will spend time learning about the first 30 years of The Piece Hall in our interactive heritage space ‘The Piece Hall Story’. They will learn about life on a busy Saturday in The Trader’s Room and explore the national and international trade routes in The Map Room. To support your visit, we offer a ‘Welcome and Wow’ introduction and a number of curriculum-led resources for you to borrow.


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People Play by Alice Irwin

School Workshops

A new outdoor sculpture commission and exhibition at The Piece Hall in partnership with The Artworks, Arts Charity Dean Clough and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Inspired by Halifax’s rich industrial past, a family of nine colourful characters will animate The Piece Hall’s courtyard representing the families from Georgian times who worked in the cottage industry and subsequent mill workers, to the many people who have contributed to Halifax as a town for making and production in the modern day. This playful sculpture will convey the innocence we possess as children, and our love of play, but also how some children both in the past and present are denied play.

We have an exciting array of workshops and guided tours available for your pupils to discover the stories, forms and symbols of Irwin’s work.


Guided Tour of Alice Irwin’s People Play (1 hour)

Adapted to all ages.

£3 per pupil +VAT

Join us for an interactive tour of Alice Irwin’s prints and sculptures. Discover the histories of the mill workers which inspired the sculptural figures and take some rubbings of the sculpture’s engravings. Draw your own playful street game with chalk on our courtyard. Spot the symbols in Irwin’s prints and create some abstract artwork with our viewfinders. Create a story inspired by the shapes and forms in Irwin’s prints.

Curriculum links: History, Art & Design and Geography.


Workshops – Full day (£5 per pupil +VAT)

Workshops include the guided tour



A day in the life of Victorian Emma: Play and Print

In this interactive workshop, your pupils will have the chance to learn about Emma a 10-year-old card-setter in Halifax in 1842 through role play and object handling. Pupils will use their detective skills to investigate where Emma lived, worked and played through exploring the clothes she wore, her belongings and images.

In the afternoon, pupils will discover the colours, shapes and mark-making in Irwin’s work and create their own monoprint investigating the theme of play.

Curriculum links: History, Art & Design, English and Geography.



Emma and Roshni: Children in the Cloth Industry

In this hands-on workshop, your pupils will learn about the past and present of child labour in the cloth industry through objects, documents and images. Investigate the case of Emma, a card-setter in Halifax in 1842. Aged only 10, she worked 6 days a week in difficult, factory conditions. In contemporary Pakistan, Roshni (also aged 10) weaves and embroiders day and night to earn income for her family. Pupils will build case studies about these two children, comparing their lives to gain an understanding of child labour then and now.

The second half of the workshop will be spent investigating the works of Alice Irwin and the stories of mill workers behind the figures. Pupils will create their own screen print portraits exploring symbolism, mark-making and form.

Curriculum links: English, Art & Design, History and Geography.


KS3 & KS4

Print, People and Play

In this art-based workshop, your pupils will explore the sculptures and prints of Alice Irwin through drawing, mark-making and collage. Discover the symbolism and stories of mill workers behind People Play. Investigate Irwin’s inspiration – from the brightly coloured forms of Joan Miro’s paintings to the abstract sculptures of Barbara Hepworth. Pupils will also learn the art of Drypoint printing, with pupils creating a design on metal plates to print and take home.

Curriculum links: History, Geography and Art & Design.

Workshops and tours are available to book from the 2 March – 29 May 2020

Contact the Learning team to book: email or call 01422 525220


Arts Award in a Day Workshop

Home Education

Thursday 9 April OR Wednesday 6 May

10am – 2pm

Join us for a jampacked day of drawing, games, printing and mark-making to discover the work of Alice Irwin. Investigate the artistic influences on Irwin’s work through a moving, art-based tour of her sculptures and prints. Have a go at rubbings, chalk drawings and sketching. End the day with the creation of a brightly coloured mobile with printed symbols inspired by Irwin’s work. Completion of the workshop will result in your child receiving an Arts Award qualification.

Suitable for all ages.

£10 per child + £3.95 for a certificate certified by Trinity College (certificate can be paid for on the day).

Refreshments and biscuits will be provided. Please bring your own lunch or there will be time to purchase food in one of our restaurants or cafes.

Booking essential, please contact The Welcome Centre on 01422 525217



Teacher Advisory Panel


People Play Programme TAP

Thursday 6 February 4 – 5.30pm

Join us for tea and cake as we introduce our new schools sculpture programme as part of our commission People Play by Alice Irwin. Have a go at our object investigation activities and test out some of the art techniques your pupils will explore. Find out about our family programme and receive a special discount for school workshop bookings!

Free, but places are very limited

To book call 01422 525220 or email


People Play Printing in the Classroom CPD

@ Artworks

Thursday 26 March 4 – 5.30pm

£15 - Booking essential. 

This workshop will explore different printmaking techniques that can be used in any classroom, as all the techniques demonstrated will not need an etching press or other specialist equipment. Printmaking can be used in the primary classroom with all children from nursery age to the end of year 6.

These same techniques can be developed for use with older pupils or pupils with SEND. Discussions about how this could  be done can be discussed during the workshop.

The people and play themes will be used throughout the workshop to illustrate how different techniques can be used to describe a recurring theme

Techniques demonstrated will be:

•           Different monoprinting techniques using paper stencils, fabrics, and other flat objects.

•           Trace printing with block inks and oils pastels.

•           Relief printing using polystyrene, foil and soft lino.

•           Collagraph (collage) using a variety of objects and papers


Why use printmaking in school?

The process of printmaking allows pupils to work and think in a completely different way, as printed outcomes often have unexpected results. It develops creativity.

There is something ‘magical’ about the process itself, the results are always a bit unexpected and surprises occur between an expected outcome and the physical reality of a print.

Printmaking liberates pupils as accurate drawing and painting skills are not necessary, so it helps them to investigate unexpected and exciting ways of working.

Pupils who feel they are ‘no good at art’  thrive and gain in confidence as they see positive and interesting results.

Pupils can explore overprinting onto different surfaces, experiment and explore colour mixing and develop different mark making techniques.

Concepts such as symmetry, reflection, positive and negative, sequencing and planning are all used in printmaking

Printmaking encourages problem solving skills  and develops both a specific printmaking vocabulary and opportunities to extended speaking and listening skills.

Printmaking can be used to illustrate and describe other areas of the curriculum, particularly, literacy, humanities and mathematics 

Pupils can experiment and extend their work by making two-dimensional prints into collage or a three-dimensional piece by using several techniques. 

Supported by
The Piece Hall heritage regeneration project is also supported by Garfield Weston Foundation and The Wolfson Foundation.
The Piece Hall is independently managed by The Piece Hall Trust, a registered charity, number 1156948. Registered in England and Wales, number 08906735.
Designed and developed by COAL/FACE © Copyright The Piece Hall Trust 2020