Mail Art Project for young people using Trench Art & local First World War heritage research
Lead Artist, Theresa Easton and Dot to Dot Active Arts are delivering an exciting Mail Art Project with Young People from Throston Youth Centre and students from High Tunstall College of Science in Hartlepool. The project started in July 2014, and brings young people and volunteers from the Heugh Gun Battery together to explore the First World War heritage of Hartlepool and the heritage of Trench Art.
The young people have explored the social history behind Trench Art using First World War heritage at the Heugh Gun Battery and Beamish Museum. Learning new creative skills in printmaking and heritage research skills, they have transformed this understanding into Mail Art which has been shared and exchanged with other young people in Germany and Australia. A collection of the Mail Art produced will be displayed as part of the German Remembrance Day 16th November, in Ratzeburg on bill boards and signage around the town. Theresa Easton has been working closely with German based artist Siobhan Tarr and Robyn Foster, in Queensland Australia. Together they have brought the young people together using Mail Art, each project exploring the geographical, cultural and social aspects of the First World War. The project incorporates Hartlepool's Young Cultural Ambassador Scheme and offers the opportunity for young people to showcase their creative research at Hartlepool Remembers: Legacies of the Bombardment community commemoration at Hartlepool Further Education College 11th December 2014.
Commenting on the Mail Art project, Siobhan Tarr was surprised by the German organisers response to the Mail Art. "The work from the project was displayed during a symposium exploring Remembrance Day in Germany. The organisers of the symposium are using some of the Mail Art designs as posters pasted to billboards in Ratzeburg ... a couple of people had actually asked if it was possible to buy them".
Working with Youth Support Services and the young people in Hartlepool, Theresa Easton will be jointly facilitating a session with young people to design handmade Christmas tree decorations inspired by the Christmas Truce. Invited by St. Hilda's Church on the Headland the young people plan to showcase their Mail Art and decorate a Christmas Tree. Reflecting on the project Theresa Easton states, "the young people have really taken the lead in developing creative ideas that are directly related to the heritage research they have carried out. They have been encouraged and inspired by the Mail Art designed by the young people in Australia and Germany.