Heritage Open Days is on it’s way!

HOD2_MB_RGBHeritage Open Days: Join the Celebration!

Strike a Light is taking part this year on Thursday 11th September at Fabrica in Brighton.

It’s all free so come and join in!

Towers and tunnels, factories and follies, chapels and synagogues – thousands of England’s most unique and undiscovered historic sites will be throwing open their doors for free in September, as Heritage Open Days celebrates its 20th anniversary.

“2014 is a landmark year for Heritage Open Days,” says Loyd Grossman, Patron of Heritage Open Days and Chairman of the Heritage Alliance.  “Over the last two decades we’ve enabled millions of people to visit thousands of places that are normally closed to the public, helping to put local heritage at the forefront of community life throughout England. This summer we’re looking forward to our most spectacular festival ever – a unique national celebration that brings our hidden history to life.”

The four-day festival promises a more diverse array of events than ever before, ranging from 1950s tea-dances to Elizabethan garden parties.  Join guided walks, visit secret archives, discover hidden works of art – or simply pack a picnic and soak up the sunshine in a garden of your choice.

Join the Celebration: Thursday 11 – Sunday 14th September www.heritageopendays.org.uk

My Robot Companion -Brighton Digital festival

Following on from last year’s showing of  Robot and Frank at Fabrica – The event My Robot Companion organised by Lorenza Ippolitio on the 3rd of September is part of the Brighton Digital Festival.

It is an event organised with an older audience in mind and is a moment to reflect on technology and it uses.

HARR1-Humanoid-Artistic-Research-Robot-1-51-970x485

Robota

My Robot Companion – An Afternoon with HARR1

3rd September 2:00-3:00pm

Older Audiences, Technology and Conversations
Fabrica Gallery, 40 Duke Street, Brighton

FREE – and Refreshments Provided.

Now in its third year, the BDF conversation event aimed at older audiences will look at the world of robotics and consider what the future might hold for us.

HARR1 (Humanoid Art Research Robot 1) is part of an art project entitled “My Robot Companion” by Anna Dumitriu and Alex May, made in collaboration with the University of
Hertfordshire’s Adaptive Systems Research Group.

The project is an artistic investigation of contemporary scientific research in the field known as social robotics, a field that looks at the possibilities of building robot companions for a range of uses such as robot carers for older people, robot nannies to watch over children, sexual companions, and home defence robots. It is important to bear in mind that the word ‘robot’
derives from the Slavic word ‘robota’ meaning forced labour.

The project asks the questions, do we want and need robot companions? And, if so, what kinds of robot companions do we, as a society, want? HARR1’s presence in the gallery raises interesting questions about the uses and functions of robots and explores the ethical implications of how robots could be used in the future in a range of social settings.

How would you feel about a robot caring for you? How do you imagine a future where your relatives would be cared for by robots? Will robots aid or increase feelings of loneliness?

Join Lorenza Ippolito, Anna Dumitriu and Alex May to investigate the philosophical and practical questions behind robotics.

http://myrobotcompanion.com

World War I East Sussex

Strike a Light found this great website resource earlier called World War I East Sussex, cataloguing all memories and images relating to the centenary of the Great War, in East Sussex. The following text on ‘Conchies’ in Sussex is really quite fascinating to read:

logoConscientious Objection in Sussex

Whilst recruitment and conscription saw many East Sussex men enter the ranks of the British Army some resisted service on grounds of conscience or religion.

First World War recruitment, which was built upon popular support largely peaked in the early months of the war in 1914. Propaganda posters and appeals to men’s patriotic instincts worked well but only to a point. The losses of men at the front either wounded or killed necessitated a constant stream of replacements and reinforcements.

Conscription

Before the war, Britain had been unique in the main European nations in that the armed forces had been made up of professional soldiers or volunteers with no compulsory military service. By 1916, this was no longer sustainable.

The Military Service Act of 1916 was not as simple as is now believed but, in essence, meant that every unmarried or widowed man between the ages of 19 and 40 was now eligible to be conscripted into the British Army. The provisions of the Act would change several times over the duration of the war so that, by 1918, it covered married men between the ages of 18 years 6 months and 50 years old.

Whilst it was late in introducing conscription to the population, Britain further differed from the other nations by recognising Conscientious Objection as a legal way to be exempt from military service. Conscientious Objection was not the only method available for being granted an exemption. Men could also go before Military Service Tribunals on the grounds of ill health, work of national importance, or domestic hardship. In fact, Conscientious Objectors made up only a tiny fraction of those who came before the tribunals but were often among those most harshly treated as they often reflected wider public opinion as to the apparent cowardice or lack of character of the men. In total 16,000 men applied for exemption on the grounds of Conscientious Objection across the total span of the war. They represented 0.33% of those who fought. More British soldiers died on the First Day of the Somme than attempted to claim absolute Conscientious Objection during the entire war.

 Letter from the Sussex Military Tribunal regarding a Conscientious Objector. East Sussex Record Office, The Keep

Claiming Conscientious Objection

To claim exemption on the grounds of conscience men often had to prove that they did indeed hold such a belief and it could be evidenced from before the war. If successful, men would be offered the option of undertaking some form of alternative work of national importance to the war effort but not requiring them to actively serve. These ‘alternativists‘ would carry out work such as farming, industry, or stretcher-bearing for the duration of the war. Those who refused any form of service, the ‘absolutists‘ were often imprisoned and risked being sentenced to death. Although no death sentences were carried out on Conscientious Objectors a number did die in prison and elsewhere because of the harsh conditions to which they were subjected.

A group of ‘alternativist’ Conscientious Objectors were put to work building roads near Seaford where a Sussex soldier wrote to his wife in 1917 about how men in the army treated those Conscientious Objectors:

They all were allowed leave at Easter and Xmas and get real good food. Don’t you think its rather unfair to us fellows? We often march past them and pass a good deal of comments etc; some-times there is a “rough-house” ending in a few C.O’s being badly “mauled” and a few of us chaps escorted back to the Guard-room and then punished “C.B. etc”. This is an everyday occurance [sic].

Earlier in 1916, those same Conscientious Objectors had been the subject of an arson attack by Canadian soldiers when the hut in which they were sleeping was tarred.

 Letter from the Sussex Military Tribunal regarding a Conscientious Objector. East Sussex Record Office, The Keep

The Military Service Act did work in allowing Britain to field a larger army. The recruitment statistics for before and after its inception are almost identical with 2.46 million men enlisting before January 1916 and 2.5 million afterwards.

Whilst Conscientious Objection is seen as being a particularly First World War issue, numbers actually dramatically rose for the Second World War with over 60,000 men claiming for an exemption from service on the grounds of their conscience.

Sources

Blighty: British Society in the era of the Great War by Gerard DeGroot

Sussex in the First World War by Keith Grieves

The Last Great War by Adrian Gregory

East Sussex Record Office, The Keep

National Life Stories oral history fellowship

This looks like a really good possibility for those of you working in the field of oral history or wishing to use oral histories in research or work:
6a00d8341c464853ef01538ec13fae970bNational Life Stories, the oral history charitable trust based at the British Library, is pleased to announce that applications are now open for the National Life Stories Goodison Fellowship 2015.  The aim of the Fellowship is to increase public knowledge and awareness of oral history, particularly of the National Life Stories collections.

This award of £5,000 is open to anyone resident in the United Kingdom who wishes to use the National Life Stories oral history collections to reflect on life stories and memory, and share the results of their research in the public domain.

The National Life Stories Goodison Fellowship will provide the recipient the time and space to listen in-depth to oral history material from across the collections. The award holder will become the Goodison Fellow for a period of three to six months, subject to agreement with the Awarding Panel. The Fellowship must commence in the period 1 January 2015 – 1 August 2015 and finish by 31 December 2015.

For more information and application details visit www.bl.uk/nls-fellowship 

The closing date for applications is 1 October 2014 at 5pm.

Upcoming oral history project

image001

Strike a Light just received some info about this interesting new project in the Hastings area. They’re looking for folk to get involved with their oral history project. A great way to learn new skills and work on a project of social importance and heritage.

Volunteer Role Description: Oral History Project

Role summary

An exciting opportunity to work with Hastings and Rother Rainbow Alliance, an established community group, to develop the History Project element of their work to record and promote hidden and marginalised voices from the LGB&T community.

Role description

You will work alongside the HRRA Committee and History Project volunteers to manage and develop the History Project. This will include:

  • Promoting participation in project by volunteers and interviewees
  • Undertaking oral history recording alongside other trained volunteers
  • Overseeing and undertaking transcription of oral history interviews
  • Liaising with the The Keep (historical resource centre in Falmer) regarding deposit of interviews and transcriptions
  • Applying for funding for development of the project – exhibitions, publications etc

Experience, skills and qualities required

  • In depth knowledge of LGB&T community
  • Interest in oral and community history
  • Oral history recording experience (desirable)
  • IT skills (desirable)

Training

  • Induction meeting with HRRA Committee
  • Induction with previous History Project volunteer leads

Supervision

You will report to a specific HRRA Committee member.

Location

Home based – computer and internet connection required.

Commitment

Estimated at 2-4 hours work per week, which can be undertaken flexibly.

Duration

Initial 3 month trial period, then minimum 12 months commitment.

Expenses

Expenses incurred will be refunded e.g. training, travel. Approval of all expenditure to be given in advance by HRRA Committee.

For more information and to apply contact info@hrra.org.uk or call 07824 597378 and speak to Abi Luthmann (ex-HRRA Committee member and  History Project co-lead)

 

Heritage Open Days free Brighton film showing

oh what a lovely WarFabrica Film Club free event as part of Heritage Open Days

Oh! What a Lovely War (1969, 144mins, PG)Fablogo

Fabrica Film Club is marking the Centenary of the First World War with this classic musical, directed by Sir Richard Attenborough and partly filmed on our very own West Pier of Brighton.

Based on Joan Littlewood’s 1963 stage musical, Oh, What a Lovely War! this adaptation is packed with British stars (Olivier, Gielgud, Redgraves’) follows some of the most noted stages of the war, and revolves around the marching songs of the soldiers. Filled with satire, this daring anti-war film reflects Britains experience of losing an entire generation to the conflict.

 “Oh! What a Lovely War” does recreate this time, in a bitter mixture of history, satire, detail, panorama and music. Especially music. There is something paradoxical in the thought of singing about a war, and yet cheap popular songs often capture the spirit of a time better than any collection of speeches and histories. Miss Littlewood, and Attenborough after her, present the war as a British music hall review; there’s a lot of smiling up front, but backstage you can see the greasepaint and smell the sweat, and the smiles become desperate, and there begins to be blood. - Roger Ebert

 Comfy chairs, bean bags, blankets and free nibbles. Low-cost pay bar. Doors open 6pm, film starts promptly at 6.30pm.

Film Club is free to book, but please ensure if you have booked that you come, or if you find you can’t attend, let us know so someone on the waiting list can attend instead – we hate wasted seats!

ace

 

War Stories: Voices from the First World War

four-worst-cases-brighton-hospital

Strike a Light is out and about this week and will be visiting some of the War Stories activities which are happening in and around Brighton and Hove as part of the Brighton Museum and Art gallery activities and events.

They are all free, so see you there!

12 July 2014 to 1 March 2015

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
Free admission

Free gallery tour at Brighton Museum this Thursday about War Stories!

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, this exhibition brings to life the wartime experiences of 13 individuals whose intensely personal memories and extraordinary stories reveal the impact of war.

The diverse voices of individuals reveal both familiar and surprising stories of a war that profoundly changed British society. See the war through the eyes of a young girl born in 1914, an Indian soldier wounded on the Western Front and taken to hospital in the Royal Pavilion, soldiers from Brighton, including a Brighton & Hove Albion footballer, nurses and a gardener who was imprisoned for his pacifist beliefs.

Personal letters, diaries, art, photography, costume, film and memorabilia evoke the love, excitement, fear, bravery, grief, loss and longing that touched the lives of millions of people.

Reflections on our personal and collective acts of remembrance and commemoration explore the continuing impact of war on our lives.

Co financed by the European Regional Development Fund and made possible by INTERREG IV A 2Seas programme.
Great War logo Interreg project logo

 

Centennial – Free Special Daytime Event at Fabrica Gallery


Centennial flyerTitle: Centennial

When: Thursday 11th September 2014 (1-4pm)

Where: Fabrica gallery, 40 Duke Street, Brighton BN1 1AG

What: Special Daytime Event – Free drop in

 

On Thursday 11th September (1-4pm), Fabrica gallery in collaboration with arts and heritage organisation Strike a Light will be hosting a free and specially created event Centennial.

Forming a part of the nationwide Heritage Open Days free events across England and Wales, this is an afternoon drop-in to commemorate the beginning of the centenary of World War I. It profiles and examines aspects of our experiences of the war through the use of diaries, moving image, wartime songs, creative workshops, and talks, exploring our shared and personal memories relating to the war, and the stories we were left with.

The event will offer art activities, film showings, workshop activities, talks, and free afternoon tea. In addition, Fabrica will be revealing a plaque honouring the parishioners who fought and died in WWI, hidden from public view for decades.                                                 

The event will be followed by a free evening film showing of musical romp Oh! What a Lovely War with low cost bar & nibbles.

Aimed at all and especially older people, visitors can relax, and encounter visual art in entrancing, fun, creative way. This event also welcomes everyone including families, babies and children of all ages. Free transport is available for the elderly and disabled. Please get in touch to arrange this.

  Book your free ticket for the daytime event here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/centennial-tickets-11944471235

And for the free film event here: http://filmclubsept.eventbrite.com 

 To find out more about this event and others in the Special Daytime Events programme at Fabrica, please contact Clare Hankinson, Fabrica Project Coordinator on 01273 778 646 or email: office@fabrica.org.uk  Web: http://www.fabrica.org.uk

 To find out more about the arts and heritage organisation Strike a Light please contact Nicola Benge strikealight@rocketmail.com or web: http://www.strikealight.org

 

oh what a lovely War

Fabrica Film Club:

Oh! What a Lovely War (1969, 144mins, PG)

Fabrica Film Club is marking the Centenary of the First World War with this classic musical, directed by Sir Richard Attenborough and partly filmed on our very own West Pier of Brighton.

Based on Joan Littlewood’s 1963 stage musical, Oh, What a Lovely War! this adaptation is packed with British stars (Olivier, Gielgud, Redgraves’) follows some of the most noted stages of the war, and revolves around the marching songs of the soldiers. Filled with satire, this daring anti-war film reflects Britains experience of losing an entire generation to the conflict.

 “Oh! What a Lovely War” does recreate this time, in a bitter mixture of history, satire, detail, panorama and music. Especially music. There is something paradoxical in the thought of singing about a war, and yet cheap popular songs often capture the spirit of a time better than any collection of speeches and histories. Miss Littlewood, and Attenborough after her, present the war as a British music hall review; there’s a lot of smiling up front, but backstage you can see the greasepaint and smell the sweat, and the smiles become desperate, and there begins to be blood. - Roger Ebert

 Comfy chairs, bean bags, blankets and free nibbles. Low-cost pay bar. Doors open 6pm, film starts promptly at 6.30pm.

Film Club is free to book, but please ensure if you have booked that you come, or if you find you can’t attend, let us know so someone on the waiting list can attend instead – we hate wasted seats!

acestrike_a_light_logo_transparent107x107pxHOD2_MB_RGB

Fablogo

Heritage Lottery Fund profiles project

SufdReally pleased to see that the Heritage Lottery Fund have profiled a South Coast HLF funded project myself (Nicola Benge) and Esther Gill were involved with as Project Managers from 2011-13 called Speaking up for Disability.

This project was supported by a grant through their Priority Development Area grant for the charity Voice for Disability/later (Worthing based charity) Independent Lives.

This project has given disabled people living in West Sussex the chance to tell their own story. There are few records in existence that look at disability from the viewpoint of disabled people themselves because historical reports tend to have been written by hospitals, institutions and other care providers. However,this project has explored the hidden histories of disabled people looking at how their experiences of early life, school, work, families, the views of health professionals, and relationships have altered since the 1940s.

HLFHI_BLK

If you go down to the woods today …… Strike a Light recommends this Brighton Fringe Festival event

10169252_10151972202000216_115220220947594809_nStrike a Light will be off to this lovely new Brighton Fringe Festival event this weekend. Organised by a set designer who has worked for brilliant theatre company DreamThinkSpeak, it promises to be a creatively exciting and quirky event!

“If you go down in the woods today…”

Visit our little house on the edge of the woods and escape the bustle of city life.

Inside: an assortment of artisans’ work including glass, recycled jewellery, painting, photography & ceramics.

Outside in a hidden woodland: a thought provoking environmental art installation for all ages, questioning humanity using curiously familiar creatures!

Stop a while for tea and cake round the fire. Then wander through the trees to find a veritable menagerie of mysterious beasties.

10th, 11th, 17th & 18th May

11.30am to 4.30pm

46 Golf Drive, BN1 7HZ

Brighton Fringe.

 

 

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