Friday, 16 March 2012

Visit to Brighton...

We met at Lighthouse in Brighton with two tasks to complete. Firstly to test our collection in Historypin and secondly to take photographs for the exhibition. Our aim was to recreate the war time photographs on the streets of Brighton today. These photographs will be exhibited alongside the original war time photographs in the Past Present exhibition.

With a minimum of ten photographs to take and with only two hours to take them we split into teams and set off. I headed up to the train station with Amy-Lou and Alicia, whilst Connor, Rory, Terri-Jo and Carina made their way towards the Sealife centre and Kemptown to find the location of the bombed Odeon cinema. Max, Dean, Ruth and Louise made route to the sea to split off and take the photos of the barricaded front. We met up an hour later in the Pavilion Gardens to take the final image of the gasmasked man.

We headed back to Lighthouse and looked through the photographs taken by the students. We discussed how the location has changed, and selected the best images for print. The images the students took are totally brilliant. They put in a lot of thought about how to reenact each original photograph and paid close attention to the angle the photograph needed to be taken to reflect the original.

Here are our selected photos for print:

Now I am looking forward to the final exhibition and to see these photographs placed alongside the war time originals.

Creating the Historypin collection

Thanks to the brilliant support of Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museum and Art Gallery we now have our final selection of photographs for the Historypin collection.

Here are a few of the selected images:

Equipped with photographs and inspired by the material from the Mass Observation Archive the students got to work pinning their images and stories onto Historypin.

Take a look at the Lighthouse PastPresent collection at:

Mixing fact with fiction the students have created stories that they placed against their chosen image (in Historypin). Some students created fun, imaginary characters whilst others used thought provoking facts, all of the narratives reflect what they have learnt about life on the home front in Brighton over the last month.

Great work BACA!!!!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Mass Observation Archive visit - Lovely Betty and Ivy

On Valentines day and during the half term break the committed group from BACA met at the Mass Observation Archive to continue to research Brighton in WW2. During this three hour session the students knuckled down and gathered a rich collection of material from the archives.

Splitting into couples the students explored files containing day survey's, diary entries, newspaper cuttings, promotional material, posters and photographs of Woman at War and Life on the Home Front. 

For the second half of the session we had a visit from Betty and Ivy who both were children during WW2. The students were lucky enough to chat with the older people and ask questions about their experiences. Betty and Ivy both lived in Brighton during the war and had many stories to share. Promoted by the questions from the students and the research that was selected we had a very rich and interesting Q&A session.

Here are a few photographs of the material selected from the Mass Observation Archive:

Terri-Jo and Carina looked at the WAFFs and the WRENS

Louise and Ruth looked at the Air Raid Precautions

 Max and Dean looked at the Home guards

Amy-Lou and Alicia looked at the Land Army and evacuation

Ruth and Louise looked at the ATS


Connor an Rory looked at the Home guards

Thanks so much to all the staff at the Mass Observation Archive and also to Betty and Ivy for begin so generous with their time.


Short Session at BACA

February 8th 2012 - Session 3 at BACA

Just a short session so no time to waste....

Today the students located their chosen photographs from WW2 on street view. Firstly they needed to find the exact location in Brighton that the photograph had been taken and then try to find the correct angle. This was quite a tricky business, but the students managed with ease.

If they could not find the exact location then they began to think creatively about where to locate the photograph and why the selected location was appropriate. This was apparent especially for images taken in air raid shelters and in the surrounding countryside.

Here are a few examples of the images chosen for the tour. I can only post a few at the moment as we are awaiting copyright permissions for the others. See if you can place where these photographs were taken in Brighton.

Next week we are off to the Mass Observation Archive to research narratives, diaries, posters and propaganda produced during the war. We are also delighted to have a visit from Betty and Ivy, two lovely ladies who grew up during WW2.



Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Past Present continues



Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of meeting a group of students to begin work on the next strand of the Past Present project. Twelve year nine students from BACA, the colossal academy in Falmer, Brighton, warmly welcomed me into their brand new building.

This first session of six introduced the students to the project that aims to create a photographic tour for the phone app Historypin. ( Exploring the nature of augmented reality the students will create a photographic tour that invites a user to experience the real world environment with overlaid images of World War 2 presented on a smart phone.

We will be concentrating upon the themes Life on the Home Front and Woman at War. The students will have the opportunity to research images and narratives of those who experienced World War 2 through the photographic records of Queenspark, the archives of diaries and day surveys of the Mass Observation Archive. They have also been given the rare opportunity to talk to those who lived during the war and get a real perspective on what life really was like, the hardships they endured and the fun times they remember.

To begin the students were asked to research the roles of those on the Home Front. Selecting a photograph from a series of roles listed below they worked in two's to produce a spider diagram that asked questions about their chosen character. 

  • Women's Auxiliary Service (ATS)
  • Land Army
  • Women's Royal Naval Service (WRENS)
  • Women's Auxiliary Service (WAAF)
  • Air Raid Wardens
  • Home Guards
  • Fire Guards


Tomorrow I will be going back to BACA to continue our research into the roles of those on the Home Front. I look forward to see what information the students have gathered and what material they have selected to be presented to the rest of the group.

Thumbs up to those who are involved and a big thank you to BACA for helping to make the project happen.


Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Feedback from students at Longhill High School - Has taking part in this project changed your opinion of history?

Yes, what's been important for me is the discovery between the lives of the young and old.



The game will give a fun and interactive spin to a history lesson and supplies kids with plenty of information via a unique experience.


Feedback from students at Longhill High School - What is special about learning along side the older people?

What is special about learning along side the older people?


I really enjoyed talking to the older people as I think it is really important to hear an oral history from them because they are the best last generation who will be able to tell the stories. I feel I really benefit from hearing their stories.



It was great talking to the older people about their experiences in the war because they all have first hand knowledge. Learning about how people lived during the war from people who were actually there, really brings the war to life.



Hearing their personal experiences and stories. It is really interesting to hear about what it was really like living during the war. It has given a new insight into the lives of older people who experienced the war.



It's really great as they are really nice, interesting people. They help us understand history upon a deeper level but make is more interesting. I don't think my understanding on our topic would be so good if they weren't there.



I enjoy learning from the older people because I like hearing about their real stories and how they lived during the war. It is so interesting because we are hearing the stories from a primary source and it seems much more believable than reading things from a book or on the internet.



Working alongside the older people gives a personal insight into the war and helps give our ideas and the game a personal spin which enables a more realistic experience.



Learning about a major historical event such as WW2 is brought to life by learning bout it first had from people  who were really there.



Yes in a positive way. Working with the elderly people has demonstrated to me how we are all connected in a continuous line of history. How the lives and experience of older people have shaped and informed our world.

I also believe history is about the collective memory of all humanity. This project has offered me a valid and important insight into the world of others who have participated in an important period of history - an invaluable insight to a world that seems so long ago.