Three groups of young people from Cove School, The Wavell School and The Sixth Form College Farnborough are working on the 100 Thank You's project. The project will commemorate the centenary of the end of World War One, especially the role that the Gurkhas played. The young people will work with member of the local Nepalese community from Maddhat Shamuha/Nepalese Help and serving Gurkhas from 10 The Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment (10 QOGLR) to help recognise the Gurkhas' active role in the war.
The project will help to recognise and publicise, particularly throughout Hart & Rushmoor, the Gurkhas' active role in the war through a series of creative responses in the school terms: Autumn 2017, Spring 2018 and Summer 2018. These creative responses will be presented and shown locally, and further afield. The young people will benefit from developing community integration and cultural understanding, and a greater understanding of the role of the Gurkhas in World War One.
The project is funded through the Covenant Fund and run with support from Rushmoor Borough Council.
The young people were lucky enough to meet officers from 10 QOGLR. The officers gave the groups a cultural briefing, giving them an insight into the Gurkhas and the role they played in World War One.
Each group also welcomed and interviewed Gurkhas from 10 QOGLR to their project sessions. Asking prepared questions, the young people were able to find out from the Gurkhas more about who they are and what they know about the role of their predecessors in World War One. When asked about how they felt about the part that the Gurkhas played in World War One one soldier remarked "The legacy...we are trying our best to carry out that legacy that they left."
In October half-term, many of the young people visited The Gurkha Museum in Winchester. The cultural visit allowed the young people to find out more information about who the Gurkhas are, and most importantly for the project, the role of the Gurkhas in World War One.
The months of November and December saw the young people taking part in a series of creative sessions. Each group would use all of the information they had gathered about the Gurkhas in World War One to work towards a creative output which would commemorate their role and the centenary of the end of the war.
Faye, an artist educator from In Focus Training LTD, ran a series of fantastically engaging photography workshops for the group at Cove School. The young people learnt basic camera skills, how to operate Digital SLR Cameras and how to compose photographs. This was all in preparation for the group photographing Gurkhas from 10 QOGLR and objects which represent the Gurkhas, the Nepalese community and World War One. The young people then edited the images and chose the final photographs to be used in a photographic mural.
R. Sherwood, Pupil Premium Learning Mentor at Cove School, commented "The students have thoroughly enjoyed themselves and learnt so much! They have touched upon some aspects of the Project during their History lessons but nowhere near the level of detail that is covered in this Project. The students have such a positive work dynamic in how they are supportive & encouraging everyone to participate - it has been a joy to observe!"
Some of the photographs taken by the young people:
The young people were inspired to create a series of fantastic songs through their work with Olly from SoCo Music Project. During the workshops with Olly they were introduced to songwriting, explored Western and Nepalese approaches to composition and looked at rhythm and melody. This prepared the group to write and produce their own songs. The young people took inspiration from the research they had gathered and through meeting serving Gurkhas.
Through his inspiring workshops Olly was able to help the group work towards performing their songs so that they could be recorded and kept as a commemoration to the Gurkhas who served in World War One:
The young people took part in a series of inspiring workshops with Matt West, a poet, writer and educator. Amongst other things the group looked at examples of poetry and how they could be performed, approaches for generating text by experimenting with voice and context, editing techniques for cutting and expanding material and looking at how to stage their poetry.
Through the workshops the young people were able to create a group poem to commemorate Gurkhas in World War One:
The project groups welcomed members of the local Nepalese community from Maddhat Shamuha/Nepalese Help. Using questions they had designed themselves, the young people were able to find out some fascinating and important stories and information relating to the role of the Gurkhas in World War One. It was a wonderful chance for the young people to meet members of the local Nepalese community and for the community to play an important part in the project.
Each group was also lucky enough to take part in an engaging and valuable object handling workshop with Doug Henderson, Collections Officer from The Gurkha Museum. Doug brought along a series of objects related to the Gurkhas and World War One. These included medals, photographs, military hats, trench whistle and a kukri.
Many of the young people again visited The Gurkha Museum in Winchester to continue researching the role of the Gurkhas in World War One. The young people had the opportunity to take part in a fascinating archive research session with Doug Henderson, the museum's Collections Officer. During the session they were able to get close to some of the museum's archives from World War One and use them to build up their knowledge of the period.
The young people took part in a second series of creative sessions. They again used all of the information they had gathered about the Gurkhas in World War One to work towards a creative output which would commemorate their role in the war. All of the creative work produced by the young people used, and were inspired by, a series of photographs of Gurkhas in World War One. The photographs were kindly supplied by The Gurkha Museum in Winchester who have been working closely with the project.
Artist Sarah Gaiger ran a series of creative screen printing workshops for the group at Cove School. After being taught how to screen print the young people used stencils inspired by Nepalese art to produce a series of prints. The background for the prints were made up of photographs of Gurkhas in World War One.
The group from the College worked with Xavier and Faye from In Focus Training LTD on a series of engaging photography workshops. The young people learnt camera skills in photography and over the weeks continued to improve these skills through their work with Xavier and Faye. This prepared the young people to photograph serving Gurkhas from 10 QOGLR in order to recreate a series of photographs of Gurkhas in World War One.
Below are examples of the photographs recreated by the young people - the images on the left have been supplied by The Gurkha Museum:
The young people were led through a series of creative fine art workshops by artist Fatima Pantoja who enabled them to develop their creativity and explore materials and methods. Through the workshops the young people worked with Fatima to develop a painting from ideas and concepts to a final piece. The final painting represents everything the group have learnt about the role of the Gurkhas in World War One.