On 30 March the young people celebrated the success of their project with a special event at West End Centre, Aldershot. There was a performance of traditional Nepali dance by Sangita as well as speeches by partipants, teachers and the Project Coordinator. Young people were presented with their certificates and watched the fantastic project film.
On 24 March a private view of the Gurkha Connection exhibtion was held at Aldershot Military Museum. The evening was attended by many special guests including the Garrison Commander, members of Maddhat Shamuha, those from Greater Rushmoor Nepali Community and personnel from 10 QOGLR as well as the young people and their families.
The exhibition runs at Aldershot Military Museum until 4 June.
This month the groups have been working hard on completing their photography, making choices of which ones to exhibit, organising high-quality printing then discussing and deciding how to best display them. The photos and interviews have also been compiled into a commemorative booklet, as a legacy of the project.
The groups have also been completing their 'Discover' Arts Award, so that they gain a qualification for all their hard work during the project.
The exhibition will run at Aldershot Military Museum from 25 March - 4 June.
Artist educators from In Focus Training LTD are running a series of fantastically engaging photography workshops. The young people are learning basic camera skills, how to operate Digital SLR Cameras in full manual mode, and completing activities which test and utilise what they have learnt. They have also been introduced to the work of professional photographers which led to some great discussions about photographic artwork.
This is all in preparation for the young people photographing Gurkhas from 10 The Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment, and members of the local Nepali community from Maddhat Shamuha/Nepalese Help. The photographs will form a central part of the project exhibition and special edition commemorative book. The final workshops in January saw the groups starting to sort through and edit their photographs, with a focus on how they fit into the concept of the exhibition and book.
The close of 2016 marked the end of the first part of the project which saw the groups undertaking research and learning about the Gurkhas and local Nepali community. This is all great preparation for phase two of the project in Spring 2017 which will include the young people taking part in photography and museum exhibition workshops.
The end of phase one was also marked with the securing of a third group for the project. We are pleased to welcome students from The Sixth Form College Farnborough. The group will be starting in phase two of the project.
The project groups welcomed members of the local Nepali community from Maddhat Shamuha/Nepalese Help. Using questions they had designed themselves, the young people were able to draw out some fascinating and inspiring answers and stories. It was a wonderful chance for the young people to meet members of the local Nepali community and for the community to help shape the project.
Mark, Exhibitions and Events Coordinator with Hampshire Cultural Trust, ran an engaging and valuable workshop for the groups. With experience in working on exhibitions for the Trust, Mark took the groups through the practical requirements posed by exhibitions, including the different types of frames and fixings and how to display objects and their labels.
The groups worked with Helen, a Senior Project Curator from the British Museum, to learn about tips and techniques for putting their own exhibition together. They heard about Helen's own work, its scope and variety as well as museum concepts and terminology. The groups took part in activities based around roles in an exhibition team, the exhibition process, groups discussions around design and how to write good text and thinking about how to form an exhibition about a single real object.
Here is a flavour of the fantastic feedback from Helen:
The project as a whole is amazing and is providing young people with great opportunities and skills at an early stage that are increasingly hard to come by in the museum sector. It is well-structured and meaningful for the communities involved, exactly the kind of project that smaller museums should be running and that larger museums and funding bodies should be supporting. It was a real privilege to be involved and I can't wait to see the final exhibiton!
The project groups are off to a great start! They have been meeting regularly to learn about the history and heritage of the Gurkha regiment and its relationship with the British Army. The groups have met real-life Gurkhas and were able to interview them using questionnaires they had designed themselves. Some very inspiring stories have started to emerge.
In October half term, many members of the groups visited Aldershot Military Museum and the Gurkha Museum in Winchester. As well as being on the lookout for interesting facts and figures, they were also drawing inspiration from the style and design of the museum displays.
As a great introduction to the project Cpt Ganesh Tamang, 10 The Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment, gave the groups a cultural briefing, giving them an insight into the background of the Gurkhas.
Three groups of young people aged 11 – 18 from Hart and Rushmoor will be working on Gurkha Connections in Autumn 2016 and Spring 2017. They will work with heritage experts to research the historic relationship between the Gurkha regiment and the British Army, as well as meeting serving and retired soldiers and collecting oral history. The groups will also work with professional artists and exhibition teams to create their own exhibition for Aldershot Military Museum in March 2017. The work that the young people will do will showcase the important relationship between the Gurkhas and the British Army, and result in both the original exhibition and a special edition book with a celebration event planned at the West End Centre.
This project is funded by a grant from the MOD Community Covenant and run with support from Rushmoor Borough Council.