Being part of the Durham Light Infantry Museum & Gallery Always Remember, Never Forget WW1 exhibition, I have been very privileged to handle artefacts from the DLI WW1 collection as a source of inspiration for my writing. I also felt that I wanted to provide this opportunity for the participants of the creative writing workshops that I was running at the DLI in relation to the exhibition.
The DLI were very supportive of this and I ran 3 workshops in their Education room with the help of the extremely knowledgeable Jim, one of the Museum staff. As part of the session, Jim conducted a most stimulating tour around the WW1 display in the museum and talked about the items from DLI collection which were available for writers to handle: rifles, uniform, an army blanket, a German bugle, medals, shrapnel, button cleaners (!). There were also pieces of trench art fashioned by soldiers from the debris lying about such as shell cases and bullets.
As part of the background and context we also discussed a brief background to the war & how people’s lives & roles were changed both for those serving & those left at home.
It was often a very moving experience to hear the writing that came out of the workshops. Everyone produced some fantastic pieces, even those who had never before written creatively.
I’m very glad that a selection of this will be performed at the Preview Night to the exhibition & also recorded and made available as a podcast along with my own contribution.