Sleaford Remembers WW1 - Digital Arts Project

I commenced the Sleaford Remembers WW1 Digital Arts project in September 2014, working with four schools in Sleaford:

 Sleaford Church Lane 
Kirkby La Thorpe
Leasingham St Andrews
Winshealsea

Working in conjunction with Rhubarb Theatre, Mini Morris, The Collaborators, Arts NK & the National Centre for Craft & Design.

 

I worked with ALL children in the four schools, from reception to Year 6, so effectively worked with nearly 1000 children, aged between 4-11 year old. With the younger children I felt it was important to keep the themes of WW1 as simple as possible, so decided that the youngest children would create poppies & animals.

 

I created stories which I told whilst drawing and painting on my iPads, giving the characters I was painting a voice, which proved to be successful with the very youngest of children at the schools, as I was able to fully involve then with the project, whilst telling them some simple facts about the Great War. The poppies they created in the iPad workshops were used to create the introduction to the digital installation on the evening of the ‘Sleaford Remembers’ performance. I also used all of their images in creating the individual school banners.

 

I delivered full day iPad workshops in all 4 schools, creating an atmosphere, which reflected WW1, with reproduction posters, newspapers, numerous books, DVDs and music, so the children were able to fully rehears their artwork.

 

With each school I tried to focus on different aspects of the Great War, linking themes with local history, such as the fact that the first tanks in WW1 were built by women in Lincoln, that T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) was stationed at RAF Cranwell, etc. This was also reflected in the work that Rhubarb Theatre did with the schools, as each school chose one of the following themes to work on: - Nurses, Soldiers, Conscientious Objectors, Women of WW1

 

It was important to treat the sessions as art workshops, and not history lessons, so I worked closely with the schools to show the children the artists of the Great War, whilst also using graphical art from the period. The teaching staff also ensured the children had grounding in the period, and we started all workshops with a thorough introduction and Q&A.

Each school had their own banner designed, which I ensured the children had an involvement in the process of editing the images for the banner and ensuring that each schools banner was different.

 

The older children in Year 6 would help out the younger children in their workshops. This worked really well particularly at Kirkby La Thorpe School.