Friday, October 03, 2014

A time to remember at Rheged, Cumbria

1. Entrance to the modern Rheged Discovery Centre
[Situated near Penrith, Cumbria]
2. Poster for a WW1 film about life on the home front
[Film compiled by the North West Film Archive]
3. Poster for a WW2 3-D film about "D-Day"
[Shown at Rheged, Cumbria (Sep. 2014 - Jan. 2015)] 
4. "Distant Dreams" by the artist Peter Lewis
[Part of Rheged's exhibition "The Art of Remembering"]
 For additional information click on 'Comments' below.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

A year of Remembrance

Rheged: this is a name that harks back to a lost Celtic kingdom of the Dark Ages. Modern day Cumbria was at the heartland of this lost Britannic kingdom and extended over much of what became modern-day northern England and southern Scotland.

Since the year 2000, at the end of one Millennium and the beginning of another, there has been a Rheged Discovery Centre near Penrith, Cumbria to tell the history of Rheged, Cumbria and the peoples and economic activities of this land from its geological formation to the new Millennium. The entrance to the modern Rheged Discovery Centre can be seen in Photograph No. 1 (above).

Inevitably, the two World Wars of the 20th Century affected changed the way of life and in so many ways how people remember: war and peace, their loved ones, family and homeland. To coincide with the centenary of the beginning of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War, beginning in September 2014 the Rheged Discovery Centre helped people look at the remembrance of these two World Wars from the global view, the local view, the family view and the personal view.

Friday, 03 October, 2014  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

"Life on the Homefront" during the First World War

On Sunday 28 September 2014 the Manchester-based North West Film Archive hosted a special evening at Rheged with the showing of a compilation of contemporary film about life on the "home front" in N.W. England during the First World War of 1914 - 1918 [Photograph No. 2]. Hosted by a member of staff from the North West Film Archive and narrated by the BAFTA nominated actress Maxine Peake this film gave an insight as to how the war affected many of those who lived in N.W. England during the war.

The region's industry changed drastically between 1914 and 1918 and in many cases changed again in the immediate period after the war. This was due to the demands made on every industry and each individual person on the home front. It was not just changing industrial production techniques that were captured on film but also farming methods.

The writer L.P. Hartley began his most famous novel, 'The Go-Between' with the following, almost proverbial, sentence:
"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."

The North West Film Archive's production of "Life on the Home Front" clearly illustrates how much of a foreign land the North West of England is between 1914 - 1918 and the modern era. This is a fascinating journey into the past and a remembrance of a different way of doing things. Even the living and dying is seen to be different, something that can easily be forgotten in the days of computers, the Internet, mobile telephones and satellite T.V. Life on the home front in the First World War was also different to yet another country - that of the Second World War.

Included in this film compilation is rare archive footage featuring the recruitment and training of a number of local 'New Army' battalions, such as the famous 'Accrington Pals', the Lancashire Fusiliers and the Cheshire Regiment as they prepare for active service on the Western Front. There is archive film of the early days of aviation, German P.O.W.s being escorted through the towns of North West England, troop inspections, victory parades and the unveiling of war memorials in the aftermath of the First World War.

The unveiling of the war memorial at Egremont, Cumbria was one of those seen in this compilation. There was also an opportunity at this showing for people to ask questions either about the war or about the North West Film Archive.

Friday, 03 October, 2014  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

D-Day Normandy 1944 3-D

Rheged's 2014 season about wartime remembrance includes a film about one of the key dates of the Second World War: D-Day, 6 June 1944. It was a different type of war from the one that had been conducted between 1914 - 1918.

D-Day, 6 June was the date of the largest amphibious and airborne invasion in history and 2014 was therefore the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings. Although the majority of the archive film of the Normandy Landings was made in black and white there was some colour film footage made. However, taking advantage of the most modern techniques and re-creating this key date in world history this print of the film has been produced in 3-D and enabled a new look at what took place and some of the people who took part in the day's events.

Beginning on 20 September 2014 and running until 31 January 2015, the massive full-colour 3-D screen at the Rheged Discovery Centre is showing an exhilarating, updated account of the D-Day Landings taking advantage of Rheged's 3-D cinema technology. The film is entitled "D-Day Normandy 1944 3D" and lasts approximately one hour [Photograph No. 3]. With the aid of 3-D glasses one can see the invasion almost as an eye-witness would have done on 6 June 1944.

This 3-D presentation of the D-Day Landings should appeal to young and old alike: from 8 to 88. Those who know the story of D-Day will see the day's events from a completely different perspective. The original film score is by the London Symphony Orchestra. "D-Day Normandy 1944 3D" is narrated by Tom Brokaw, who has given his own view about the film:
"This is the clearest view yet of what happened. It gives a new generation a chance to understand one of the most important events in the history of mankind."

Friday, 03 October, 2014  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

"The Art of Remembering" at Rheged

How do those living in the 21st Century remember the First World War, or indeed the Second World War? In 2012 with the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War approaching, Rheged's exhibition team led by the Curator, John Stokes, wanted to produce an exhibition in 2014 to honour the sacrifices of those who had died, and those who had been injured during the wars.

Rheged's exhibition team also wanted to take a more analytical approach and look at the implications of remembrance through the interpretive eyes of a number of contemporary artists. The result is a free exhibition entitled "The Art of Remembering", running between 20 September and 23 November 2014. Supported using public funds by the Arts Council of England, the National Lottery and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the exhibition shows how deep the private and public emotion was in time of war. It also looks at the many different ways of remembering beginning from the immediate aftermath of the First World War until the present day.

Many years have passed since there was a World War. Despite the passage of time there is still an individual and collective remembrance. There remains a personal connection to remembrance. Each artist has looked at the remembrance of war through his or her own personal remembrance.

For example one of the artists, Peter Lewis, initially looked at the 'Great War' Memorial Plaques which became popularly known as "Dead Man's Pennies". This is one symbol of public memorialisation of the dead. Repetition of the symbols of war and remembrance are a common theme in public remembrance, such as paper poppies and the gravestones for the war dead which all of the same height and style. The repetition of these symbols in public memory are what led Peter Lewis to create the exhibit "Distant Dreams", a mirror box piece [Photograph No. 4]. To view this exhibit the viewer looks through a viewing slit to see the "Dead Man's Penny" and the image of gravestones all lit by a blood-red light. It is a simple yet poignant image of the private and public remembrance of war.

Friday, 03 October, 2014  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Remembering to remember

In the century after the World Wars what forms do remembrance of war and the loss of war take? Is it still important to remember? Can there still be an emotional connection to the World Wars and especially the First World War?

Rheged's 2014 exhibition looking at the remembrance of war takes a step back from the patriotism, the political justification of war or the rights or wrongs of war. Rather, in particular "The Art of Remembering" exhibition looks at the personal and emotional aspects of the remembrance of war.

Archive film from the First and Second World Wars can help look at those wars differently. The remembering of war, what to remember and who to remember remains a personal as well as a collective memory. This has been brought out in this exhibition at the Rheged Discovery Centre. Even if it changes over time there will always be a time to remember.

Friday, 03 October, 2014  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Further reading

To read more about the Rheged Discovery Centre, click on the following link:
Rheged Discovery Centre website

To access the Manchester-based North West Film Archive website (which includes an online catalogue) click on the following link:
North West Film Archive website

To view the "D-Day Normandy 1944 3D" website and a trailer from the film referred to in this article (available in both English and French), click on the following link:
D-Day Normandy 1944 3D

Friday, 03 October, 2014  

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