Led by Ross Ashton and Karen Monid, The Projection Studio created a 27-minute show last Tuesday (11 November) featuring a specially-compiled soundtrack, visuals and an emotive narrative that was specific to Glasgow, detailing the historical contributions made by the city and its communities during WW1.
The show, entitled Glasgow’s War, detailed some of the military and social firsts achieved by Glasgow and its citizens during the war, including how its people raised £14m in seven days during 1916/17 for the ‘Tank Bank’ to aid the war effort.
Principal segments of the show were dedicated to the major battles in which Glaswegian soldiers died, including the Somme, Passchendaele and Arras. The story also drew attention to Glasgow’s very strong anti-war movements, including the work of high-profile campaigners James Maxton and John McLean.
The impact of the war on women was also showcased as part of the experience, illustrating how it changed their role in society as they stepped into industrial jobs like munitions.
Ashton and Monid spent two months working on the project, researching the archives of The Imperial War Museum, The Mitchell Museum in Glasgow, The Strathclyde University Archive, the Glasgow University Archive, The Royal Highland Fusiliers and the South Lanarkshire Leisure & Culture Archive.
Period film and newsreel from Pathé News was utilised in making the visual content and local Glasgow newspapers were trawled for photographs, articles and speeches, as well as other readings, books and references. Twelve different Glaswegian voices, aged between 16 and 60 years old, including dependents of WW1 soldiers, read various texts and narrative passages which were then woven into the soundscape.
Monid collaborated with Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design Studio, which undertook a project to recreate authentic World War I battlefield sounds used for relevant parts of the show. The Pipe Major Ross Miller and drummer David Mark from the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland were also recorded for the soundtrack, who played a selection of military tunes that appeared in the research.
Monid said: "We are all extremely proud of being involved in this work. It’s been very consuming and an incredibly emotional experience. I wanted to give viewers a sense of scale, of the enormity of the contribution and sacrifice by so many ordinary – and yet extraordinary - men and women, but all the time referencing this to the dynamics of the city.
"With the social history thread, I could illustrate some of the alternative and positive transformations that were also developing alongside the destruction of life in the war."
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