‘Conversations with the Past’ focused on researching World War 1 and how it impacted upon the lives of the community in Burntwood and Lichfield in Staffordshire. Working with members of the local community The Sculpture and Art Foundation CIC have engaged over 2,000 people directly from the area with their local heritage and aided opportunity and access to participate in learning creatively through working alongside professional experts, artists, and musicians in order to explore the past and its relevance with the present.
For The Heritage lottery ‘Then and Now’ program, we were able to capture stories and portray sentiments visually, sharing individual tales and exploring the local areas relationship with conflict and its relationship with modern life and the next generation. Through a series of community orientated collection and gathering event days, responses to WW1 were digitally archived, narratives, letters and images of past relatives were gathered and information about the connection between the local community of Lichfield and Burntwood in World War 1 explored.
Over 2,000 people participated in the project with big thanks to local groups and School children from the area such as Highfields Primary, Ridgeway Primary, Chase Terrace Technology College, Burntwood Library, Burntwood History Group, Burntwood cadets, Lichfield Cathedral volunteers, whom all took part in writing a ‘Postcard to the Past’. Learning with creative writer Sophia Moseley, the postcards encouraged people to reflect and by either writing as if to a soldier in the trenches or from a soldier back to their family. The postcards were then turned into an art installation and were seen by members of the public who also participated.
The final part of the project was to gather all the information and work with the participants and volunteers in the creation of an amazing Son-et-lumiere which was a final event open to the public. working with artists from Sound and Light art collaboration ‘Luxmuralis’, a wonderful tribute for November 11th Remembrance day was made by the community depicting school children’s interpretation of World War 1 as they understand it today and combining this with peoples memories and letters and stories from the past.