Animated films for the First World War Galleries part three

Here’s our third guest post from Rubina, who attended our Summer Schools, where she and other students used items from our collections as inspiration as they created silent animated films that may feature in our new First World War Galleries opening in 2014…

Rubina works with other New Perspectives summer school students to research the Psychological Impact of the First World War

Choosing either physical or psychological impact wasn’t a tough choice. I knew I wanted to explore the psychological impact of the First World War because it was somewhat under the radar when it came to learning about the war at school.

Aside from the awkward ice breakers we started to learn about the various themes associated with the First World War, from the shock of modern warfare to propaganda.  In groups we linked the themes to objects from the war. This included Dont’s for patients. This object was a comical list of advice for wounded soldiers at a hospital in Chelsea, London. It had taken a humorous point of view in the rigid rules the hospitals had for the soldiers set by the nurses, for example “Don’t smoke after 8pm, unless the night sister’s back is turned!”. This interested our group as it was something that made people chuckle and really think how humour was used as a coping mechanism for the shock of modern warfare- the two themes we highlighted. We were able to link our object with an IWM collection piece, which was an artificial hand, given to soldiers who had lost an arm in the war.

Rubina and her group present their ideas to curators from IWM’s First World War galleries team

From researching – in depth!- our object and IWM collection piece to giving a pitch to the IWM curators and historians, teamwork became incredibly important and throughout the week things were a lot less awkward!

As well as the research and historical element to the summer school, our creative and imaginative side also came out in the form of animation! We had to produce a short animation showing our object essentially come to life. It wasn’t easy especially at the beginning with the cutting and gluing of the soldiers limbs and the nurses clothing! However once a few scenes had really come together it was definitely worth it!

Rubina watches part of her groups animation come to life on screen

Narrowing down the highlights of the week is tough. But I have two. One of them is visiting the archive office at IWM, and finding out more about our object. It was great to see original handwritten documents almost 100 years old! The final highlight (a close call with meeting new people and pizza for lunch on Friday!) was finally seeing each animation in the final presentation. The transition of silence to the sound of laughs during the animation for Don’ts for patients was for me one of the best moments of the week!

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