What sticks in your mind, and why?
Our work with the group of young volunteers at Queensbridge School – a specialist college in visual and performing arts – was ended prematurely in December 2016 as the staff member we were working with left the school, and our work was postponed. This unexpected interruption meant we had to re-plan the project to ensure the outcomes we had pledged as part of our funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. More positively we had a chance to reflect and evaluate what we had achieved so far, and plan some new activities that acknowledged and developed the learning and deepened the young peoples' engagement with heritage resources. We were excited to discover what they had remembered, and were confident that our work with them had endured and stayed in their head and hearts.
The Company decided to create a short film using Highbury Hall as an authentic backdrop for moments of drama that built upon the Theatre/Drama stimulus of the performance of 'Over The Top'. We also decided to expand our our original plans and organise a visit to Lodge Hill Cemetery, in Selly Oak, a few miles away from Highbury Hall. The cemetery contains almost 500 soldiers, mainly from the First World War who mostly died from their wounds in the local Birmingham hospitals, including Highbury Hall and from when the University of Birmingham acted as the 1st Southern & General Military Hospital.
Our friends and partners, the excellent People's Heritage Co Operative, have been working with young people using Lodge Hill as a stimulus for learning and research - http://peoplesheritagecoop.blogspot.co.uk/p/warfare-lodge-hill-cemetery.html
To continue to work with archives, we will also offer a visit to the students to attend the Cadbury Archives at the University of Birmingham, linking Highbury Hall, Lodge Hill and the University itself. In this way we want the young people to understand that the impact of the conflict was felt across the country, with massive resources contributing to managing the thousands of wounded soldiers who were distributed across the hospitals set up across Birmingham. We also want them to consider the themes and historical events that permeate through the script; the unrest in Ireland, the emancipation of women and the new world order established after the war that still creates conflict today.