Campbell College Belfast has received £90,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a major restoration and education project titled, The Men Behind the Glass. Working alongside the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) and involving a cross-section of schools and communities throughout East Belfast, this project seeks to protect WW1 heritage held at the College and improve its interpretation by opening up the College archives for all.
In the Central Hall at Campbell College the photographs of 126 pupils and one member of staff who lost their lives in WW1 sit embedded in the wood panelled walls. Deteriorating over time these images need to be preserved and digitally restored before they are lost forever. ‘The Men Behind the Glass’ will seek to protect these images, whilst uncovering the real life stories behind these men.
PRONI will work with the College to preserve and safeguard this important collection of photographs and create digital copies that will allow the College maximise opportunities for public interaction with the images and the stories behind them.
Mr Robert Robinson, MBE, Headmaster at Campbell College commented, “We are delighted to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. This initiative will open up our archive, utilising it as a tool for learning for the wider community. It will bring these individual histories to life for every generation in East Belfast, discovering untold stories and keeping these stories alive for future generations.”
Mukesh Sharma, MBE, Committee Member for the Heritage Lottery Fund explains the importance of this project, “This is an exciting opportunity to open up the archives of Campbell College whose pupils played a key role in both WW1 and WW2. It offers the chance to pay respect to those lives lost but also to involve the whole community – encouraging everyone to tell the stories behind not just these 126 men, but all the men from East Belfast who made the ultimate sacrifice in WW1.”
Crucial to this project will be the engagement with other schools and the wider community:
At Primary School Level a creative engagement initiative will be delivered in Schools throughout East Belfast;
At Secondary School Level a ’Teacher Resource Pack’ will be developed along with the provision of ten A-Level Internships open to pupils from all participating schools;
In collaboration with the Schools and the wider community a ‘Poetry Slam’ event will be delivered as part of the EastSide Arts Festival in 2018 and a collaborative ‘Story Telling Workshop’ co-ordinated with a German school with Young at Art Events.
These initiatives will be supported by a touring exhibition and an online forum all contributing to on-going learning and development as part of this project. In addition, the wider community will have opportunities to get involved with the research through a number of research workshops and sessions held at PRONI and at the College throughout the duration of the project.