Fiercest Light

Long before we started work on Our Lads, children from Wensum had already been involved in a project commemorating WW1.  In July 2016, we were invited to participate in Fiercest Light, an exciting writing and filmmaking project co-commissioned by  14-18 Now, Norfolk and Norwich Festival and the Writers' Centre Norwich working in partnership with BBC Voices.

The project built on the legacy of Fierce Light, a major national co-commission that united contemporary writers, artists and filmmakers with the legacy of WW1 and its heritage in the 21st Century.  Fiercest Light aimed to encourage new and underrepresented voices to draw inspiration from the heritage of WW1 with a contemporary response.   Wensum would be one of a number of local schools who were to work with BBC Voices to make a film showcasing the children's responses to the conflict.  Our film would include an original song written by local singer / songwriter Milly Hirst with lyrics inspired by the children's poetry.

The project started early in the autumn term of 2016.  Local historian Neil Storey visited us to talk to Year 4 about WW1.  The children learned about life in Heigham in the years leading up to WW1 and how the conflict affected those who lived here.  The Writers Centre then ran two collaborative poetry workshops where the children explored their emerging ideas about the legacy of the conflict and started to turn these into poetry.  BBC Voices visited the school to interview the children, capture footage of the workshops, and train a small team who could then start to do some of the filming, sound recording and interviewing for themselves.  In order to deepen our understanding of WW1 we also visited the Imperial War Museum in London.  In late October the children had a whole day working on the project. In the morning Neil Storey led a visit to the cemetery which is home to a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery.  As well as learning more about the men buried there, it was also the perfect location for recording footage for the film.  In the afternoon the children met with Milly where together they explored their ideas and poetry and talked about how their words could inspire the lyrics for Milly's song.  The completed film was showcased at a special screening at Cinema City in November 2016 as part of the city's Remembrance Day events.

The film was called Fiercest Light - Learning the Lessons of War.  Click here to watch it.

Milly's song was called Bury Me Close to Home.  Click here to watch the video.