GCSE students from The Park School and West Buckland School worked with artist Jane Churchill to create imaginative pieces showing the contrast between the reality of war and dreams of home.
The students at Park Community School had just three days to find out about the First World War, research Gallipoli, design their artworks and make them.
Alison Mills, the Development Manager at North Devon Museum, brought along a collection of artefacts for the students to study and inspire the ideas for their creations. The Sweetheart Cushion and tear bottles generated several responses from the students which were very moving.
In workshops with artist Jane Churchill they learnt new techniques and discovered the conditions that affected the men who travelled to the Dardanelles to take part in the Gallipoli Campaign. Many soldiers from Devon regiments died in Gallipoli and this project asked young artists to find a way to engage imaginatively with the human reality of what life was like during the First World War.
These pieces discuss the dreams and longings of soldiers far from home against the backdrop of the terrible conditions they faced in reality.
Two of the students from West Buckland School describe how they developed their pieces in the video below. They also spoke about the project at the schools’ conference – see their presentation here.
Comments from the teachers
Katie Phillips, Head of Art at the Park School said:
‘Our students found Jane Churchill’s enthusiastic teaching style captivating. Her knowledge of materials and techniques enabled all of our students to create a personalised response to the Gallipoli Campaign. Many of the students felt that her stories and personal artwork made this war from over 100 years ago feel like it was only yesterday!’
The art work they present is the response of these young artists to all they learnt about World War One and Gallipoli, and how objects from one hundred years ago contain memories and stories just waiting to inspire us.
Cameron Main, Head of Art at West Buckland School, said:
‘It was such a pleasure to be asked to work with Jane Churchill, DAISI Arts, Barnstaple Museum and the Gallipoli Centenary Education Project to bring such an important event to life. It was a real thrill for the young artists to not only work with a practicing artist but also interact with artefacts from the time period and specifically the Gallipoli Campaign. The body of work created by West Buckland School students, of all nationalities, is their interpretation of their reaction, not only to the events in Gallipoli, but also to the idea of conflict as a whole. The students had nine days to record, design and create these pieces. Working to such a tight timescale has been a challenge but the impact of the workshop with Julian Vayne (from North Devon Museum) and Jane Churchill ensured that not a moment was spent without trying new techniques and reflecting on how their own pieces reflected the conditions and atmosphere of the time. The students have enjoyed this experience and hope that museum visitors enjoy their creations as well.’