New Perspectives and the First World War

Students from Broomfield School creating animations for New Perspectives

I first became aware of the New Perspectives project with IWM when I was asked by Anna Lotinga to act as a consultant to the project last summer. After we met at Broomfield School where I work as an Advanced Skills (History) Teacher and Head of Department, I was so impressed with what I heard that I immediately asked to be part of the project. This was an awesome opportunity for my students to create animated films about the First World War. After successfully going through the application process Broomfield School was fortunate enough to be chosen as the second school to take part, with a focus on Turkey and Gallipoli. This was a really apt topic for the school as there is a large Turkish community that lives locally in Enfield and this was a really exciting way of introducing this material into the Year 9 History curriculum to make it relevant to the students.

Students inspired by biscuits, Buster Keaton and our collections.

After a launch assembly, twenty students were selected to be part of the project after they completed an application in which they outlined why they were interested in participating and what skills they could bring. We then embarked on a series of weekly workshops to delve deeply into the story of Gallipoli and engage with some incredible source material. At the first ‘away day’, hosted at Churchill War Rooms, the students created a timeline of the key events and selected the most appropriate resources to support the narrative. This was to form the basis of the future workshops where each group focused on a key theme which they had chosen (spying, alliances, propaganda, enemy) and a key piece of archive material (oral interview, jacket, poster and letter). Over the next ten weeks the students debated, selected, shared, evaluated and constructed a narrative which they were able to turn into a one minute, silent, animated film. They were fascinated by the stories, photos and documents, inspired by Buster Keaton, excited by seeing the animation software in action and their motivation was maintained by fruit juice and biscuits!

Students at Churchill War Rooms with help from Chocolate Films and staff from IWM.

The culmination of the project was the final workshop, again at Churchill War Rooms, where the students had just six hours to create their films. This was an incredibly challenging task especially considering it could take an hour just to animate a few seconds of film. At one point it was touch and go as to whether the films would be completed, but after a huge effort from everyone involved – the Broomfield students and staff, the team from Chocolate Films and the IWM staff, all the films were ready for the final edits.

I can honestly say that this project has been one of the highlights of my teaching career. The combination of meticulous planning, superb collaboration, inspirational resources and a team of enthusiastic and committed students and adults led to an exhilarating ride. I can’t wait to see the final films and if you think I’m excited you should see the students!

Dan Lyndon, AST

Head of History, Broomfield School

  1. Xan Karn says: July 10, 20134:20 pm

    Great project. When/where can we see the films?

    • David says: July 23, 20134:12 pm

      Hi Xan – some of the films will feature in our new First World War galleries opening next summer, so you’ll have to wait until then I’m afraid! More films are being created this summer as part of our summer schools – you can find out more in a previous blog post. –

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