Using Film to archive a World War I Battlefield Site
Staffordshire University fronts study on historic World War One site
Associate Professor Fiona Graham, Professor John Cassella, Senior Lecturer Paul Ottey and historian Andrew Robertshaw (MA)
1/ Overview of the Project:
Film producers and forensic scientists from Staffordshire University have joined forces with the military historian for films War Horse and 1917 and They Shall Not Grow Old to shed new light on a significant World War battle ground in France where many British soldiers lost their lives.
Production House and scientists from Staffordshire University are part of a multi-disciplinary international team working with communities in France who have been granted special access to the Hawthorn Crater site. The study is part of an investigation into the battlefield area called Project Beaumont Hamel in partnership with Andrew Robertshaw, MA, military historian to directors Stephen Spielberg, Sam Mendes and Sir Peter Jackson.
Research undertaken by Producer and Associate Professor Fiona Graham at Staffordshire University led to the creation of Production House in 2016 which is a distinctive and multi-disciplinary creative practice-based approach to military history and educational films. The films are used in local communities to tell narratives and disseminate knowledge to a wider group of audiences. Several distinct projects have successfully utilised this model. Professor of Forensic Science Education John Cassella added the impact on communities and education: “This is a huge team effort with the intention of enabling many more people to learn about and visualise what happened more than 100 years ago at Hawthorn Ridge.”
2/ Production House
Associate Professor Fiona Graham is a graduate in Modern History and Politics and Producer in the television industry, her research led to the creation of Production House in 2016 which is a distinctive and multi-disciplinary creative practice-based approach to military history and educational films. The films are used in local communities to tell narratives and disseminate knowledge to a wider group of audiences. Several distinct projects have successfully utilised this model and the practice-based research underpinning these historical projects.
Graham has drawn on her experience as a development producer in the broadcast sector for the new Production House model. She has developed documentaries which have been broadcast to audiences in the UK and internationally and installations in museums, education and community sites in the UK and Europe. The Production House model draws on Graham’s own research into new history narratives and the embedding of dissemination into the production process itself.
3/ Introduction to the Battle of the Somme and Hawthorn Crater investigation https://vimeo.com/267602265
Andrew Robertshaw leads the Project Beaumont Hamel and is a member of the Hawthorn Ridge Crater Association explains to Associate Professor Fiona Graham the background to the study. He explains the location, the history and new knowledge being creating from this significant site in World War One history. Associate Professor Graham works with collage Paul Ottey senior lecturer and camera operator to produce the short explanation starting the investigation from the location in France. The content is created by Staffordshire University’s Production House research model which is a distinctive and multi-disciplinary creative practice-based approach to military history and educational films.
4/ An introduction to the archaeology discoveries at Hawthorn Crater and the first findings from the project https://vimeo.com/287475267
Military Historian Andrew Robertshaw explains the first findings from the Crater and shows the firing bays that have been uncovered. Film and drone footage by Paul Ottey and Fiona Graham
5/ Inside the Hawthorn Crater with Professor John Cassella from Staffordshire University
Here Professor John Cassella discusses with Production House the significance of the historical site and the work within the crater itself.
In: 01:23 “We came here….
Out: 02:22 …”unprecedented”
6/ A visual interpretation of the first day of the Battle of the Somme at White City in France https://vimeo.com/352229436
Production House and Andrew Robertshaw examine the work of Geoffrey Malins, First World War cinematographer, and discuss new findings about the actual images past and present from the battlefields today.
7/ Glory Hole https://vimeo.com/352448407
Hawthorn Ridge Crater Association member Colin Winn explains the significance of one of the unique sites on the battlefields and the work of the tunnellers during World war One in France. Here he talks to Associate Professor Fiona Graham about a location deep underground and discusses what it was used for and who were here.