taking our culture forward

Manx Tradition Colouring Book

Mon, 11 Apr 2022

A new book has been gifted to every primary school in the Island to help young people learn about Manx traditions.

The book is themed around ancient Good Friday customs in the Isle of Man and it is beautifully illustrated by internationally acclaimed Manx artist and illustrator, Jay Cover.

Over the past few weeks 100s of copies of ‘Flitter Dance: A Manx Colouring Book’ have been given to each of the Isle of Man’s 32 primary schools. These have been provided for free thanks to Culture Vannin, who have been working with Jay Cover and the Department of Education, Sport and Culture.

James Franklin, Online & Educational Resources Officer, Culture Vannin, says:

“With Jay’s beautiful and engaging artwork, this book is a brilliant way to engage young people in this Easter tradition which connects us to nature, the seasons, to music and dance, and to practices which have been carried out on the Manx shores for centuries.”

The book tells the story of the old Manx tradition for Good Friday, when people went down to the shores to gather, cook and eat flitters (a shellfish known in England as a limpet), before throwing the shells into the sea and dancing the ‘flitter dance’ of the book’s title.

Each of the book’s 12 pages carry a simple line drawing of a key step in the process, leading the reader, or budding colourist, through the Manx tradition.

Jay Cover was inspired by Culture Vannin’s online resources, and so he approached the charity with his novel idea for this book project which he hopes will help pass on knowledge of the flitter tradition to new generations.

Jay Cover says:

“This book was originally created for an exhibition in Japan, with the help of Culture Vannin we were able to translate it into a resource for schools on the Island. I’ve been living away from the Isle of Man for some time now, working in the UK, often travelling abroad. The older I’ve got the more I’ve come to realise what an important impact these traditions had on me growing up; In relation to my identity and cultural inheritance and appreciating the Manx community and Manx ecology. So being able to help young folks around the Island engage with one of our many wonderful traditions is a great privilege for me.”

As well as the complimentary copies issued to Manx schools, a PDF version of the book has also been made available internally, so that all children can learn about the tradition for many years to come.

Jo Callister, Advisory Teacher for the Manx Curriculum, Department of Education Sport and Culture, says:

“Resources which capture the imagination and inspire children are so important in classrooms today. We have worked with Culture Vannin before in creating lesson plans and resources for teaching Manx traditions, which hundreds of children have benefitted from over the past few years, but this book is exceptional in engaging children in new and exciting ways. We are delighted to have it available in all of the Island’s primary schools, increasing opportunities for young people to access our culture through the curriculum and creative activities.”

The books were delivered to schools from mid-March and they have been used in classrooms all over the Island over the past week, engaging the children in a subject which many will take on to engage in new ways within the Manx landscape over the current Easter holidays.

A small number of the books are also available for the public and Culture Vannin will be issuing these via their social media channels this week.

Additional Photos