Animated films for the First World War Galleries part two

Animating films for the new First World War galleries.

Here’s our second guest post from students from the Summer School, where 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…

Combining history with animation is not simple, but I enjoy a challenge, so I eagerly signed up for the “Physical Impact of the First World War: New Perspectives” Summer School.

Every day was a marathon; initially I felt torn between research and animations, but it soon became easier. I thought our film would still be in production when time was up, as each research question led to five more! But we all pulled together and finished in time.

Summer school students getting creative

Our team focused on a skull x-ray with a bullet lodged inside. We wondered how the bullet landed there, but we soon discovered much more than just ‘how’. Letters to and from the patient’s mother inspired our film, which subsequently acquired a more personal note. We were fortunate enough to meet the curator who rediscovered the x-ray from an archive of 11 million images!

Despite everyone in the summer school being so different – from different locations and faiths, and of different ages – our differences made us stronger. We were each creative in our own way – although I hadn’t believed myself to be especially creative until this week – and our final film reflects all our different attitudes.

Working together to research the film

Not only did I learn invaluable historic facts, but also skills that I can take with me anywhere I choose to go; sensitivity towards other cultures, an understanding of research methodology, collaboration, problem solving and all the relevant skills for creating animations.

My highlights included meeting the curators and watching the finished films. I was most surprised that not only did my knowledge of history increase, but my interest in it grew too.

My experience of IWM was so unforgettable that I did not want to leave! That our film could potentially be shown in the new gallery makes me even more proud. It would be a real honour.

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