Tuesday 21 October 2014

Heart of Conflict - official press release

It always takes quite a bit of time to put together a press release - so thought it worth putting this one up on the blog. It has been signed off by the Heritage Lottery Fund and may well go up on their website.....


Girl Guides, volunteers and local historians in Camborne, Redruth and surrounding parishes in west Cornwall are joining together to collect memories, objects and stories 100 years on from World War One in a project funded through a grant of £6,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) First World War: then and now programme and run by the charity Bridging Arts.

“This project, Heart of Conflict, will bring volunteers together to research just what happened when dozens of young men joined up in west Cornwall in 1914 and subsequently,” says Bridging Arts trustee Susan Roberts. “So many never returned. We are thrilled to have received backing from the HLF so we can work with groups and volunteers to uncover stories and objects to create an exhibition recording this history and showing ways that the conflict affects people’s lives today.”

Camborne Girl Guides, trained by Pool-based community enterprise company Azook, will visit residential homes locally to record stories and memories. Praze Women’s Institute and other community groups are collecting objects, and talks by local historians and visits to memorials and museums will be arranged.

In February a selection of objects, recordings and stories will go on display at Cornwall Studies Library in Redruth. This exhibition will subsequently tour to other libraries, churches and schools – so that as many people as possible can view them and add to the collection. A website, created especially for the project, will be regularly updated with photographs, background and recordings.

An Education Pack will be written around this that schools across the country can download.

Explaining the importance of HLF’s support, the head of the HLF in the South West, Nerys Watts, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £58 million in projects - large and small - that are marking this global centenary. With our new small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in the ‘Heart of Conflict’ project to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”


Notes to editors
1. About Bridging Arts
Bridging Arts aims to tackle difficult social issues through art-related projects. For more information, visit www.bridging-arts.com or call Susan Roberts on 0794 12 52 444.

2. About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported more than 37,000 projects with over £6 billion across the UK. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on twitter @heritagelottery #understandingWW1

Through its First World War: then and now programme, HLF is making at least £1million available per year for six years until 2019. It will provide grants between £3,000 and £10,000 enabling communities and groups right across the UK to explore, conserve and share their First World War heritage and deepen their understanding of the impact of the conflict.

To find out how to apply for funding visit www.hlf.org.uk/thenandnow. If a group needs a grant of more than £10,000 for a First World War project, it can apply to HLF through its open programmes www.hlf.org.uk/firstworldwar

UK Government Centenary plans

In June 2013, the Government set out its plans to mark the centenaries of the First World War commencing in 2014. These plans include a £35m refurbishment of the First World War galleries at the Imperial War Museum (IWM); The Government’s principal partners in the commemorations will be the Heritage Lottery Fund and the IWM, but will encompass support for a multitude of other initiatives, large and small, as they come together in the months and years to come.

For further information, images and interviews, please contact
Susan Roberts, Chair of Trustees at Bridging Arts on 0794 12 52 444 or info@bridging-arts.com.

Friday 17 October 2014

Final meeting of the week: touching base with Karin Saunders

Friday. The week ends - as it started!  - at Weatherspoons, Camborne.
It is not actually raining but it's a blustery afternoon.  The entrance tells a story of its own: Christmas is on the way.  The spade door handles are clearly a concession to Camborne's mining past. And beyond an elderly lady is having tea. It's a warm, inexpensive place where it's possible to spend a quiet Friday afternoon. (How different will it be later in the evening?!)
Karin Saunders, Camborne Guide leader, and I run through the week's meetings and developments in Heart of Conflict. My "to do" list is updated.
Karin points out that I could do with a highlighter....

Praze Youth Club: spreading the word

Great to go to Praze Youth Club this evening in the Village Institute to talk about Heart of Conflict. (This building gets well used - I was there on Monday night to speak to the WI).

Such a brilliant group of local children who seemed so interested. I showed them the medal that has been loaned to us and told them the story of the man who died for it,  Frank Johns.  It's surprising in this centenary year to hear that schools haven't taught more about World War 1 - apparently it's hard to fit it into the secondary school curriculum.

And also so nice to see old friend and fellow Leedstown Guide (many decades ago!) Loveday Jenkin.
We started to make plans to take things forward. Researching Praze War Memorial on the plan will be a good starting point.

Cornwall Family History Society - a great resource

Kim Cooper at  Cornwall Studies Library points out that there is a great resource created by Cornwall Family History Society on World War 1 research.  Click here to read.

Lots of background for people researching War Memorials, medals, letters....and photographs. It will prove very useful as we take Heart of Conflict forward.

Thursday 16 October 2014

Cornwall Studies Library, Redruth: planning for 2015 exhibition

At Cornwall Studies Library, Redruth, making plans for the launch of the Heart of Conflict exhibition at half term (February) 2015.
On display: artefacts gathered by local groups, with their background. Plus sound recordings created by local youth groups, including Camborne Guides.
At the moment we're making plans for visits and training, and eying up the space.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

A visit to Penponds

Called in at Penponds Church, near Camborne, on the way back from meetings in Truro.
Penponds has a remarkable memorial to World War 1 soldiers in the porch. Money to create this was raised by Canon James Sims Carah, who was vicar there from 1895 to 1935.

On the gate is a notice about an event on Saturday, 25 October, 2015 by local historian David Thomas who is based at Cornwall Records Office. David is an immense expert on local history, not only Camborne but across Cornwall.  As part of Heart of Conflict we'll organise a visit to the Records Office where we hope to draw on his expertise.
It's a sombre day: a lovely hydrangea in the graveyard lift the spirits.

An appointment at the County Records Office

A day of meetings. Luckily the next is not far off - at the County Records Office, Truro.
David Thomas, who works there, is THE expert on local history in Camborne/Redruth. His time is currently even more circumscribed than usual. He is exceptionally busy - not only with his day job but also at Camborne Church during the interregnum there (Rev. Mike Firbank, genius behind the Street Pastor idea, has left).

David puts me in touch with Chloe Phillips, who works on educational and outreach activities at the Record Office. I hope we can arrange a visit for volunteers as part of Heart of Conflict.

I take the opportunity to look at Canon James Sims Carah's records of Penponds Church. Canon Carah also raised money for an impressive war memorial. We will visit this, too, as part of Heart of Conflict.

Meeting at the Royal Cornwall Museum

Touching base at the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, with Michael Harris. Our researcher George Harris (no relation) made contact earlier in the year and Michael has been great point of contact.

Now that we have funding (thank you, Heritage Lottery Fund), we are able to make plans to take things forward. There is a lot of potential for working together.

One of my favourite objects (still) in the Museum is Nick Jensen's skateboard, which he created for our project Whatever It Takes. His design  for a Cornish skateboard was inspired by an arrowhead in the museum.

George Harris, formerly of the Goldsmiths' Company, will probably say that his favourite objects are the gold loaned to Gold: Power and Allure  that he worked on in 2012. George is now no longer at Bridging Arts as he has a new job at the Bowes Museum, Co. Durham. Hats off, George! But we will miss you at Bridging Arts.
All the research and background work done by George on Heart of Conflict has really laid strong foundations for the project.

Nick Jensen's Cornish arrowhead skateboard on display at Heartlands, Pool

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Heart of Conflict: an old friend and fine stained glass at Paul Church

At Paul Church, near Mousehole, talking to the vicar, Rev Andrew Yates, about the extraordinary window in the church.  Andrew helped us to develop I Packed This Myself  (working with migrant workers, schools and other groups in Cornwall) - more here and the blog here. He is now vicar at Paul and still keenly interested in social justice issues.

This window is considered by experts to be one of the finest in the south west.
Groups will visit and learn more as part of Heart of Conflict

Monday 13 October 2014

Heart of Conflict: asking for help at Praze Women's Institute

It's a rainy Monday evening in Praze (west Cornwall) and I'm talking to the Women's Institute after a rousing chorus of Jerusalem.

We're hoping that the WI will help us to collect artefacts and memories for Heart of Conflict, the project that we're running in the Camborne/Redruth area to mark the centenary of World War 1.
We've received a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)  grant to run this - a huge thank you, HLF!

I left a list so that interested people/volunteers can sign up: people are collecting artefacts and memories for collection at the end of November.

They will form part of an exhibition that will go on display at the Cornwall Studies Library, Redruth, in February 2015. We're also creating a website around this.

Camborne Guide leaders spread word about WW1 project

Torrential rain this morning in Camborne, west Cornwall.
In Weatherspoons,  several people already have pints before them....
But the coffee is cheap and it's great to see Karin Saunders, Camborne Guide leader, and her colleague Sue Norfolk. They run the Camborne group against all odds, keeping things going despite funding difficulties, and creating an interesting programme. It's an important social activity for lots of those who attend.
Karin and Sue are full of enthusiasm and are helping to spread the word about Heart of Conflict.
A great way to start the week.
Weatherspoons, Camborne, on a drier day. This used to be the town market. A solid granite building dating from the days when Camborne was a wealthy industrial hub.

Saturday 11 October 2014

Heart of Conflict - parish stories from the First World War

We're delighted to have received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to work in west Cornwall on Heart of Conflict. This is a project that George Harris has been developing over the past few months - and it's great news that we can get going on it now.  We are working with many different groups in the Camborne/Redruth area to collect objects and stories that will go on display at the Cornwall Studies Library in Redruth in the New Year, then move to libraries, schools or churches, giving as many people as possible the chance to see and contribute.

Kicking things off are Camborne Guides, who are going to collect stories from older people about the way World War 1 and subsequent wars have affected families and communities today. They're being trained in digital recordings at the end of the month by local media specialists, Azook, and will talk to people in residential homes.

We're keen to find other groups of young people from schools, youth clubs or anyone who lives in the Camborne Pool Redruth area, who may want to be involved. "Duke of Edinburgh volunteers or people who want to do media for their skill sections activity would be ideal," says Guide leader Karin Saunders. "But any young person with an interest in history can take part."

The Guides are starting off this week by filling small model suitcases with items they would send to someone at war today (as they did in World War 1), such as letters, poetry, photos, clippings of news from the West Briton etc. These will be part of an exhibition at the Cornwall Studies Library  in February half term 2015 ..
We'll be visiting local churches to see how they have commemorated conflict, in particular Penponds Church (pictured), where Canon James Sims Carah and his congregation collected money to send to the Front during the war and, after it was over, collected funds to create an impressive memorial to the dead.

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