Funded by the MOD (through the Armed Forces Community Covenant) and Heritage Lottery (Sharing Heritage), this project brought together schools, veterans and prominent peace makers in an oral history project, culminating in an educational film to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day. After a publicity campaign to identify local veterans willing to participate in the project, Leamington-based film-maker Jam-av was appointed to work with 30 veterans, six Coventry and Warwickshire secondary schools and several prominent peace makers. Artists were also appointed to help schools interpret veterans’ experiences and articulate their own responses. The project was launched at Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in November 2013.
A blog and web site (www.peace-unity.co.uk) were set up and students from each school were trained in interview techniques and oral history. Students and veterans got to know each other and veterans were interviewed for the film. Working with professional artists, the students produced poems, graphic art and graffiti art about war, peace and reconciliation. A peace song was composed specially for the project and jam-av accompanied a group of D-Day veterans on a pilgrimage to Normandy.
The 15 minute film, which is a lasting tribute to the surviving WW2 veterans, was premiered in Coventry Cathedral on the anniversary of D-Day on 6th June 2014, followed by a huge community peace picnic in the Cathedral’s gardens. Click here for a Midlands Today news report of the event.
The film and unedited clips are held at Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery and Museum (www.theherbert.org).