Once again Learning & Participation are working in partnership with the National Army Museum, the Royal Hospital Chelsea and the Royal British Legion to mount an exhibition to run alongside the Festival of Remembrance. The title of this year's project is Reflecting Remembrance.
Through this project over 1,000 students from 15 primary and secondary schools across London and the South East explored the realities and consequences of conflict. After learning about conflict and remembrance the students created a wide variety of artwork to express their thoughts and ideas. This project was an opportunity for the students to engage with people of different ages and backgrounds to share memories and experiences of conflict. Students were encouraged to see conflict both through the eyes of those who have served in battle and those who have been the victims of war. The artwork that the students produced form the exhibition that is currently on display at the Royal Albert Hall.
Thanks to the Royal British Legion and Poppy Travel, the project featured a two-day INSET for teachers, that included a trip to Ypres in June, prior to the start of the project. On this day trip to the poignant battlefield site, teachers had the opportunity to have a guided tour of the battlefield and cemetery and attended the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate. The trip was followed by an INSET day at the National Army Museum in early July that focused on the practical and creative elements of the project, prior to the teachers returning to school to explore the topic further from both an historical and artistic viewpoint.
All of the schools involved in this project were invited to a private view on Thursday 5 November where the exhibition was formally opened by Ralph Bernard, Chief Executive of the Royal Albert Hall and Peter Clemminson, National Chairmanof the Royal British Legion. As part of this day Learning & Participation organised a series of sessions for the students to attend. There were two interactive sessions led by Richard Knight which explored what life was like for First and Second World War soldiers. In these two sessions students were able to try on the uniforms that soldiers would have worn and see the weapons they would have had to carry. In addition to this two of the red coated Chelsea Pensioners: Norman and John came in to the Hall to talk about their experiences during the Second World War as well as their lives as Chelsea Pensioners. Students were able to chat with these two veterans and asked them quite searching questions about leaving their loved ones behind during conflict and their thoughts and feelings on the conflicts they have experienced.
The Reflecting Remembrance exhibtion runs from Thursday 4 November to Tuesday 8 December 2009. There are two free public open days which are on Friday 20 November 12 and Saturday 28 November 12 noon to 4pm. Entry is through Door 1.
This project was made possible by the generous support of The Man Group plc Charitable Trust.
Check back soon to see images of the private view and some of the artwork.
Reflecting Remembrance is primarily an art project based around the Festival of Remembrance and is open to both primary and secondary schools.
This is the fourth year we have run this project in conjunction with the National Army Museum, the Royal Hospital Chelsea and the Royal British Legion. This year we are also working with Poppy Travel who is planning the day trip to Ypres.
In the past schools have run this project as a cross curricular project, linking it in with History and Citizenship. Some schools arranged for their own guest speakers (ex and serving soldiers and refugees of war) who have experienced conflict first hand and encountered loss to visit their school and share their experiences with the students.
The day trip to Ypres included a visit to one of the most startling and moving battlefield sites from the First World War. There was a guided tour of the battlefield and cemetery including observing the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate.
The follow up creative day at the National Army Museum was a chance for teachers to be shown a range of creative possibilities by visual artists/teachers as to how to deliver this project in school and were offered a range of resources including free workshops for their schools at the National Army Museum and the opportunity for pupils to have a guided tour of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. The second INSET took place on Wednesday 8 July 10am-4pm at the National Army Museum.
After attending the two INSET days schools were asked to submit 2D artwork for the exhibition.
Jenny Mills, Head of Art at The Gateway Academy in Essex writes about the experience of attending the INSET to Ypres:
I was lucky enough to visit Ypres with Poppy Travel and the Royal Albert Hall in June. The day was a very unique experience and one that I will not forget.
The purpose of the visit was to fully engage with the surroundings and use your imagination to set the scene of 1914. Many of the places we visited on the day meant that you had to imagine the life of a soldier, adult or child living in the area, as you can appreciate this sparked many emotions throughout the group and really made everyone reflect on the past.
The day was amazing; we visited various cemeteries learning about soldiers that died during battle, we got a chance to experience Sanctuary Wood and the preserved trenches and museum; we walked up Hill 60 and stood on the front line. Can you imagine the emotions and empathy everyone felt as our guide passionately told us very detailed stories at each of these places?
The day fully enlightened my teaching when I returned to work, and at one point I was very moved whilst talking to students about being in the centre of a war, particularly as in a neighbouring town a young man has recently died as a result of the Iraq war. The children too were silent while they each told stories of their grandparents and respectful and emotional as we spoke about children that suffered.
To see some of the artwork as well as the ideas behind it have a look at the exhibtion booklet on this page.
Reflecting Remembrance is an art project focusing on the Festival of Remembrance and is suitable for primary and secondary schools as well as home educated groups.
This year’s INSET took place over two days.
Day trip to Ypres on Friday 26 June 2009. The trip included a guided tour of the battlefield and cemetery, attendance at the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate and an evening meal in the town square of Ypres.
The Battlefield Tour focused on the personal experiences of soldiers in war and how these ordinary men dealt with the extraordinary circumstances in which they found themselves. The emphasis of the tour was on seeing how soldiers lived and coped with the conditions of war rather than on the strategy and weaponry of the battles. The aim of the tour was to give visitors a vivid impression of life in the midst of the battles fought around Ypres on the very sites where these terrible and dramatic events took place.
Detailed itinerary for Ypres Day Trip.
A follow-up creative day on Wednesday 8 July 2009, 10am-4pm at the National Army Museum (Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, SW3 4HT). This was a chance for schools to be look at a range of creative possibilities by visual artists/teachers as to how they could deliver this project in school. Teachers were also offered a range of resources including free workshops for their school at the National Army Museum and the opportunity for pupils to have a guided tour of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
The Royal British Legion
The Royal British Legion is the nation’s largest charity providing welfare support to service people, past and present, and their families. It also creates many opportunities for young people to learn about the importance of Remembrance. Each year, for example, it sends special packs to over 43,000 schools and enables young people to experience Remembrance at first hand via Poppy Travel.Royal British Legion Website
The National Army Museum
The National Army Museum explores the way in which Britain’s past has helped shape our present and our future. From Hastings to Helmand, the museum’s inspiring exhibitions and events programme look at the impact the British Army has had on the story of Britain, Europe and the world.
National Army Museum Website
The Royal Hospital Chelsea
The Royal Hospital Chelsea is the home of the ‘Men in Scarlet’, the Chelsea Pensioners. Founded in 1692 by King Charles II and intended as a retreat for veterans who had become unfit for duty, The Royal Hospital, with its Grade I Listed buildings, still serves its original purpose and intends to continue to further its role well into the 21st Century with the introduction of female in-pensioners. There are currently 300 in-pensioners, with the average age of 84.
Royal Hospital Chelsea Website
Poppy Travel is the specialist travel arm of The Royal British Legion and has been arranging visits to battlefields, war cemeteries and memorials since 1927. As a caring charity everyone is welcome to join the tours. The organisation’s background in remembrance means that they are able to provide a unique insight into the historical significance of destinations, which they then blend with their proven travel and holiday expertise to provide a truly memorable experience. Poppy Travel offer tours worldwide which span the last 250 years of British and Commonwealth history.
Poppy Travel Website
The Man Group Plc Charitable Trust
Have a look at some of the artwork produced during this special project and find out more about the ideas and thoughts behind them.