Geordie at War
Geordie at War was designed to engage young people with the heritage of their region, exploring the impact of warfare on communities from Roman times to the present day. The project aimed to provide young people with opportunities for formal and informal learning, and the development of new skills, both ‘soft’ (personal and social skills) and ‘hard’ skills (such as restoration, research, interviewing and filming techniques) at the same time as raising awareness of North East heritage.
The Geordie at War Project started in October 2011. A number of school groups, a youth group and young trainees worked on the project throughout the 18 month activity period. In addition to the main project links were established with a number of local projects following similar themes, and this enabled some groups to engage further in their own local history. 108 young people have touched their local heritage, supported by 24 local organisations and 5 veterans, receiving further help with their research from 16 Regimental Museums and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The project culminated in March 2013 with a celebration event. Held at All Saints Church of England College in Newcastle upon Tyne the event was attended by approximately 130 people, including young participants, volunteers and other interested parties. There was a full exhibition of all the work produced during the project, and re-enactors attended in costume representing ‘squadies’ across the ages. Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant, Mr Nigel Sherlock OBE, attended the event and presented participation certificates; he spoke to the audience about his personal connections to those who had served our country and said he was impressed by the standard of the research and display work produced.
A mobile exhibition will go on tour around Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland over the coming year, and will find a permanent home at the Blyth Battery Museum at the end of that period. Two hundred copies of the DVD have been distributed and copies are being deposited in museum archives and libraries as a legacy for future researchers. A new permanent display at Blyth Battery Museum will open later this year as a result of the restoration work young people have completed. 500 photographs of war graves have also been made available to the public on-line through the War Graves Photographic project.
I joined LookwideUK in June 2012 when the Geordie at War project was half way through its 18 month duration. I can say that it has been a pleasure and a privilege to see the work the young people have produced and the professionalism with which all of the adults involved have nurtured the skills, education and personal development of young people. It is a credit to David McKenzie who initiated the project, David Smith who co-ordinated the project and Heritage Lottery Fund that made the project possible financially.
I hope that you will enjoy reading this evaluation, watching the DVD, and exploring the online resources that have been produced as a result of ‘Geordie at War’.
Chief Executive, LookwideUK
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