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Parallel Stories: Parables for our Time

The King James Bible, an English-language Bible also known as the King James Version and the Authorised Version, was commissioned by King James I of England in 1604 and finally published in 1611. To mark the 400th anniversary of its publication, the National Centre for Early Music invited children across the city of York to assist in the creation of a new book, Parallel Stories: Parables for our Time, a modern interpretation of one of the most popular works ever printed in this country.

180 young people at six York primary schools took part in explorations of the Authorised Version, discovering its history, examining its impact and creating their own artworks designed to reinforce its continued relevance. Pupils from Archbishop of York's C.E. Junior, Westfield Primary Community, New Earswick Primary, Woodthorpe Community Primary, Park Grove Primary and Dunnington C.E. Primary schools worked with student volunteers from the University of York to retell the Biblical parables using modern language and scenarios, creating new 'parables for our time'. These stories were then turned into visual designs and printed onto the pages within our Parallel Stories book, using techniques that emulate the woodcutting and engraving methods of the original King James Version.

The Parallel Stories: Parables for our Time volume was on display at various locations throughout York during 2011. It began its journey at the National Centre for Early Music on 8th July, where it remained until the end of the York Early Music Festival on 16th July. The book was then available for viewing at the Explore York Library Learning Centre from 20th July until 12th August. The book completed its tour of York at York Minster Library's A Book Fit for a King exhibition, which ran from 15th August until 30th November on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 12-4pm.

The Parallel Stories: Parables for our Time project, which was led by the National Centre for Early Music in association with the University of York Community and Volunteering Unit (Careers Service), also provided volunteering and professional development opportunities for students from the University of York. A group of eleven undergraduate and MA students from the English, Education, History of Art, and History departments attended seminars and training sessions on the cultural, historical and artistic aspects of the project. The students also played a central role in the delivery of workshops in the schools, developing their own teaching and leadership skills, while supporting the children's learning.

Parallel Stories: Parables for our Time was part of the first York Festival of Ideas. The Festival is a partnership between the University of York, York Theatre Royal, York St John University, the National Centre for Early Music and York Museums Trust.