”I have been working on this ww1 Mail Art project since August 2013, building connections with Mail Artists both nationally and internationally. The project is now in a progress thanks to HLF funding through their Young Roots programme and a range of partnerships including Hartlepool Borough Council and their Integrated Youth Support Service, with some fantastic heritage support from the Heugh Battery and the volunteers, as well as Beamish Museum, and still to come, the Museum of Hartlepool. ” Theresa Easton
Working with Dot to Dot Active Arts the project will see young people and volunteers from the Heugh Gun Battery working together to explore the First World War heritage of Hartlepool and the heritage of Trench Art
Volunteers and young people will explore the social history behind Trench Art using First World War heritage at the Heugh Gun Battery, Beamish Museum and the Museum of Hartlepool. The young people will learn new creative techniques and heritage research skills, transforming this understanding into Mail Art to be shared and exchanged with other young people in the UK, Germany and Australia. The project incorporates Hartlepool’s Young Cultural Ambassador Scheme and offers the opportunity for young people to showcase their creative research at Hartlepool Remembers: Legacies of the Bombardment community commemoration at Hartlepool Further Education College 11th December 2014.
The First World War was a war carried out on an industrial scale, manufacturing millions of brass artillery shells. These shells became an icon of an industrialised war and were picked up by soldiers and civilians to be reconfigured into an example of Trench Art. They represent a creative hybrid of experience and recycled materiality. The parallels between this creative tradition and Mail Art (art sent through the post) provide an opportunity to understand the experience of the First World War from a different perspective.
“This project is about supporting Young People in Hartlepool to engage with their local heritage, making artwork that they ‘give away’ and post to other young people around the world, that tells the story of Hartlepool 100 years ago”
Explaining the importance of the HLF support, the Head of the HLF in the North East, Ivor Crowther, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £15million in projects – large and small – that are marking this global Centenary; with our grants, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in the Mail Art Project to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.