We’re honoured to be hosting The Digital War Memorial on Historypin, an initiative to bring together libraries, communities and artists to create unique artistic responses to the First World War.
Ten libraries around the country have been working with members of their communities to explore the rich and diverse First World War historical materials in their collections, including photographs, letters and newspaper articles. Community groups then worked with local artists using poetry, dance, music, writing and visual arts to reflect on the impact of the First World War and how it resonates a century later.
All the historical materials, contemporary media and creative films and recordings made have been added to the Digital War Memorial on Historypin where they can be explored and further added to.
Face to face connections and live performances were foundational pillars of these projects, offering powerful ways for people to connect with their libraries and each other. But the complementary use of digital technologies offered innovative ways for the collaborations to be captured and curated, creating additional ways for people to participate and experience the projects.
In The Digital Scrapbook Leeds Library digitised an archival gem, a scrapbook created by a matron at Gledhow Hall, a country home transformed into a hospital during the war. The scrapbook is a treasure trove of photos, clippings, examples of craftwork made by the recovering soldiers. Through a series of workshops they opened this scrapbook to local writers and craft groups who created new material inspired by the Matron’s collection.
Students, song writers, musicians and choirs came together in Lest We Forget writing and performing poetry and songs inspired by research into local First World War stories and using digital tools such as SoundCloud to collaborate on the final audio recordings.
Over in Lancashire where students were exploring the theme of conscientious objectors, one of the final pieces was a powerful recreation of a tribunal hearing, based on the original transcript.
Visit the Digital War Memorial to explore these projects and all the others around the country.
The Digital War Memorial is run by the Society of Chief Librarians, with support from the British Library and funding from the National Lottery supported Grants for the arts: Libraries fun through Arts Council England. Read more about the project here.