Australia meets Britain meets Ireland meets Turkey at our conference

16 year old Kobi Watson travelled from Melbourne, Australia to speak at our conference in Birmingham. Here he tells us more:

Kobi Watson with historian Martin Purdy

Kobi Watson with historian Martin Purdy (photo: C. Watson)

Students and teachers set up their displays and presented their findings. I was thoroughly impressed by all their efforts; many of which looked at war diaries, archival documents or specific moments in time. Students’ work covered many different mediums to express their opinions and emotions about the Gallipoli Campaign. The room was filled with various paintings, banners, visual media and a buzz of excitement. Although the works were vastly different they all shared a common message and answered the question: “Gallipoli? What does it mean to me?”

After being warmly welcomed by Robin Clutterbuck; National Coordinator and Lyn Edmonds, Executive Officer, Gallipoli 100, Martin Purdy, author of ‘The Gallipoli Oak’, gave us a keynote presentation about ‘Why is Gallipoli important?’ Martin’s presentation started with a quote from English historian and diplomat, Edward Hallet Carr: “History in not unlike a mountain in that it can appear very different depending on which angle it is viewed from.” Martin continued to talk about how history can be distorted and interpreted differently depending on ‘which angle you choose to look at!’ He was a hard act to follow but there was a continual stream of amazing projects presented, which made for a fascinating day.

Schools produced and presented us with felt work, songs, PowerPoints, videos, artworks and presentations. Each school had its own perspective of what it meant to their local area. It was interesting to see how even some of these projects brought together communities or led onto other exciting opportunities for those involved. After lunch I had the opportunity to discuss what ‘Gallipoli’ means to Australia today and how our ‘ANZAC Spirit’ is celebrated. I then followed my presentation by screening my documentary; ‘Gallipoli, through the eyes of a teenager’ which traced my own journey throughout the Centenary year. Who would have thought that the ‘Gallipoli Centenary Education Project’ would have given us amazing personal development and growth. It gave us the opportunity to investigate and learn more about the Campaign and the toll and impact it had its soldiers and the families they left behind. I congratulate all involved in this project: it has preserved stories from this tragic battle and given us a platform to share them with the broader community. Over the past two years Robin and Lyn have put a tremendous amount of dedication and commitment into coordinating such a project, we are all truly grateful! The wonderful opportunity they have given us to come together and unite our ideas, guarantees the Campaign will not be forgotten. In my eyes the project was a triumphant success and ensures that Gallipoli/Anzac Spirit forged in World War One will be remembered forever.

Read more about the conference here. We also arranged for Kobi to visit two schools while he was in the UK. He will be telling us about his travels in his next blog.