The major new exhibition Moved by Conflict developed by Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives opens to the public on Saturday 11 October and forms a major part of the Bristol 2014 programme. The exhibition is sponsored by Salam and supported with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England.
The First World War had a profound effect on Bristol and its people. Through hundreds of original objects and archives Moved by Conflict will explore how people in Bristol were moved by conflict, and how the city changed.
Thousands of troops and wounded soldiers came and left the city. Men volunteered. Some refused to fight. Women took on new roles. Refugees arrived. Old industries thrived, new ones started. Moved by Conflict intimately tells Bristol’s story, highlighting how individual lives and communities were changed forever. This moving and informative exhibition will take you from Bristol in the early 1900s and its position in the British Empire, through 1914-1918, to people in the city today affected by current global conflicts.
Expect a powerful and moving experience, with video, interactive displays and hundreds of original objects, archive film and documents. Highlights include a film of soldiers arriving at Temple Meads railway station that has never been seen before; a memorial plaque from a garden in Fishponds, a studded club, a prayerbook belonging to a man killed in the war returned to his family in Bristol and a space for reflection where visitors can use a 1920s typewriter to records their thoughts, emotions and responses.
There will also be an element of theatrical storytelling, where visitors will be able to choose from one of six archetypal characters from the First World War created by Melly Still, an Associate Director with Bristol Old Vic. The exhibition will offer a direct insight into the effects of war on individual lives in Bristol, intertwining both fact and fiction.
Commenting on Moved by Conflict, Vivienne Bennett, Interim Head of Culture said:
“Moved by Conflict is not about global politics or the battles fought, but about people’s lives.
Few people realise that Bristol played such a critical role in the First World War: the city was a vital transport hub, the roles of women changed irreversibly and industry thrived. We anticipate that people will respond with their minds as well as their hearts to Moved by Conflict through seeing real objects from the period and hearing moving stories from fictional characters developed by Bristol Old Vic to bring history alive.
War not only affected people 100 years ago, it continues to affect people living in Bristol today, from veterans who live in Bristol to those who have moved to the city to escape war and conflict in their own countries. Special thanks must go to exhibition sponsor, Salam - without such corporate support the development of exhibitions like Moved by Conflict would not be possible.”
A rich programme of public events will run alongside the Moved by Conflict exhibition: