During the last week was our final get together at Bowes museum, before we hand in our final draft pieces of writing so that the new designer can plan her side of things. We presented our current drafts to each other and the staff at Bowes museum. I was impressed by everyone else’s work and the staff seemed keen with the fact that we all seemed to be taking different perspectives on the World War I project. For me, I wanted to approach this project with emotive writing. I want my audience to feel and reflect and imagine themselves in this situation which we could never understand. However, in reflecting, I hope to make my readers more aware of the First World War, and to spark their interest in its history, but to also help them understand that these were real people with very similar lives and thoughts to modern people today. I am not sure if I have achieved what I aim to do yet, however, I hope that the more drafts I produce the more feedback and critical advice I will get.
During my last visit to the museum, Rupert asked us to pick five objects or locations to base our final pieces of writing on. During that last visit, I only managed to think of two locations and still I have kept those same locations (the woodland walk and the 1700 period rooms). However, since then I decided to write pieces on the Victory Medal, three of the poems I attached to the last blog post, and finally propaganda illustrated through a children’s book. Each of these objects and locations are vastly different, but each ask the reader to imagine themselves as different people during the war, allowing my reader to explore various emotions and experiences which came with the war.
Today was my second visit to the museum itself. Like the first time I arrived there, I felt an overwhelming awe at the building. I feel like it will always impress me. In the morning, each of us interns took the time to explore more of the Great War archives. Rupert had set us the task to find five objects or locations which inspired us. At first I found this difficult as I wasn’t sure what it was I was looking for. I discovered little poems, the dead man’s penny, letters written to say someone had died or gone missing. The lack of emotion in these letters were shocking, and when I thought about how many times a day someone would have written these letters, it is no wonder they become mechanical scripts with blank spaces for names and signatures.
After lunch, I took the afternoon to explore the grounds of the museum. This is where I felt true inspiration for the World War I project. I imagined myself as Vera Brittan and the awful things she experienced. I imagined myself as a soldier telling his sweetheart that he was going to war. Taking this time to reflect allowed me to jot down little hints of emotive pieces of writing which I hope to use for my final pieces. Out of the five objects or locations I chose, the ones I took inspiration from today and plan to keep are the Woodland walk and the 1700 style rooms. I am very excited to invest myself in each of the five pieces now.
After discovering that I was chosen as one of three interns for the WW1 program with Bowes Museum, the first port of call was meeting with my new colleagues. Gavin was the first to make this leap, he contacted Hannah and I on social media and since then we have kept up communication over that original message. We met in university a week later to introduce ourselves and discuss possible plans for the internship. As the internship calls for us to produce a creative response to the WW1 archives we were unsure as to what we could do. We discussed possibly putting on a performance, holding a creative workshop for primary schools or even creating a short anthology of our work. All of which are still under discussion since our trip to the Bowes Museum.
On Friday 18th March the three of us made our way down to Darlington to explore Bowes Museum together. It was worth the long journey as the building itself and the archives it held, were incredible and inspiring. The morning was spent meeting the museum workers and looking through the archives. These consisted of first hand letters, an old newspaper, honour rolls and so much more. It was fascinating and scary handling such old artifacts.
After lunch we were encouraged to visit the war memorials in the grounds, and after explore the museum itself before we sat through a lecture on graves and memorials throughout Europe and across eras. All of which was something new and fascinating to me. A little time was spent exploring creative responses to the archives each of us analysed, which we shared with the rest of the group. It was interesting to see how each of us reacted differently to the same material.
Before our next meeting we must finalise what we hope our project to be. This is almost as intimidating as the Bowes museum itself, but it is an exciting challenge I am looking forward to partaking in.