Torfaen at War

Summer 2014

Over the past few months, Head4Arts has been working in partnership with Torfaen County Borough Council’s Heritage Team on the Torfaen at War project which received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This has involved working throughout the county to collect and record family memories, stories and responses related to the First World War.

In order to encourage a response from a wide range of community members, the Head4Arts team together with digital artists from Breaking Barriers Community Arts, has been travelling around Torfaen in our World War One themed van which we have been using as a mobile digital-storytelling studio.

As you can see, the van has been cleverly disguised as a World War One dugout – the design was created by the talented team at Malarky Arts. As well as using the van to visit specific groups such as residential homes and the cadets, we also parked in public spaces in order to generate interest from members of the general public.

The van contained a number of artefacts that were used to trigger memories, stimulate conversation and provide further insight into life at the trenches. The public were invited to share their stories and to bring family photographs and heirlooms connected to the era along with them to find out more about their origins. Those without knowledge of their family connections to the First World War were also encouraged to take part by recording their thoughts and feelings about the conflict.

The stories collected were collated into a DVD which has been included in the Torfaen at War exhibition which is currently being displayed at Blaenavon World Heritage Centre.