Our Creative and Media Diploma students have created an exhibition of work, Remembering Bradford, based on interviews conducted with survivors of WWII from the Bradford area. Intended to raise awareness of the hardships and losses endured by those who lived through the war, it marked the 70th anniversary of the beginning of WWII.
The exhibition was held in the Henry Mitchell Hall, which was decked out in bunting, union jacks and wartime memorabilia, from 25th November to 2nd December and was launched in great style with a tea dance.
Course Tutor, Sarah Holmes, enthused, “The exhibition and tea dance has been organised by the students as part of their ‘Show’ unit, for which they have to come up with the concept for an event, organise, promote and run it. They found survivors of WWII following a press release sent to the Telegraph & Argus. They invited them in and photographed them and created audio interviews and written panels for the exhibition.
They designed publicity posters and flyers, arranged entertainment, liaised with hair and make up, and decked the hall out. They had had planned to make the bunting but were so busy they paid £70 for someone to make it. They funded this themselves as they said it was their contribution to the British Legion, who benefited from the raffle the students organised.
I am really proud of what they have accomplished. This was a massive learning curve for them and the lessons they have learned will stand them in good stead throughout their careers. The majority of students on the course are aged between sixteen and nineteen and seeing them enraptured in what survivors said has been very special. It has given them a real understanding of the sacrifices made on the home front as well as in combat. It meant a lot to the survivors too. When everyone sang Happy Birthday to Mary Smith, who was celebrating her eighty-third birthday on the day of the tea dance, she was absolutely thrilled. More survivors have attended the exhibition since then.”
The authentic war-time look was created by our enthusiastic Foundation Degree in Special Effects Make Up students. Their course tutor, Sean Wagstaff, who had transformed himself into a rather dashing military gentleman for the occasion, explained "For this project, tutors demonstrated how to do 1940s make-up and hairstyles and the students had to back this up with their own research into the period so they understood it fully. As part of their courses our students have to research into every era; learning about the make-up, hair and fashions. I am very proud of all the students who took part and participated so enthusiastically."
Thankfully rationing was not in operation so everyone could enjoy lots of tea and cakes. Worries that careless talk could cost lives were long forgotten as stories were exchanged between generations. The fabulous Forties music was a big hit and the dancing had an unintended war-time feel as there were so few men the girls had to dance with each other. However our young men were not away fighting but just conscientiously objected to taking a turn around the dance floor, though some proved very handy with the tea urn!
The prize winners of the raffle in aid of the British Legion were announced before Stephen Normandale read Rupert Brooke's The Soldier to remind everyone of the sacrifices made for our freedom.
Then it was time for Bradford College's answer to Dame Vera Lynn, Lecturer Julia O'Keeffe, to give a beautiful rendition of As Time Goes By, accompanied by Lecturer Darren Dutson-Bromley on guitar, before leading the audience in a rousing version of White Cliffs of Dover.
The event was a victory for make do and mend, doing your bit and boosting morale!