Shrewsbury Colleges Group and Shropshire Libraries have joined forces to commemorate the life and work of Shropshire-born poet and soldier Wilfred Owen.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Wilfred Owen’s death – only seven days before the end of the First World War. Shropshire Libraries contacted Shrewsbury Colleges Group to discuss the Wilfred Owen 100:Shropshire Remembers – a Heritage Lottery Fund and Shropshire Archives project. With the help of Wild in Art, a book bench has been created that will take up a permanent position in Shrewsbury Library. Level 3 Art and Design students at the College have been set a project to come up with a design for the bench which responds to the theme and the winning design will be painted on.
Wilfred Owen is one of the greatest WWI poets and was born in Plas Wilmot, near Oswestry, in March 1893. He studied at Shrewsbury Technical School, which is now Shrewsbury Colleges Group’s English Bridge Campus. Owen was enlisted in the army in 1915 and unfortunately killed in action in France in November 1918 at the age of 25.
Lorraine Burrage, Agency Project Co-ordinator said: “This is a great opportunity for our students to showcase their talent, which will leave a lasting legacy to Wilfred Owen for many years to come. I would like to thank Mirka Duxberry and her Colleagues from Shropshire Libraries for offering our students the chance to take part in this and also the students for agreeing to do it. I am really looking forward to seeing the final bench.”
The other week 16 students took part in a poetry workshop, organised by the Shropshire Archives, to inspire their designs for the bench. Jonny Fluffypunk, a creative writing tutor who provides many varied poetry and performance workshops to people of all ages, explored ways of creating poetry based upon responses to visual images depicting life during the War. The students created individual poems and also a collaborative effort based upon life in the trenches.
Charlotte Nicholls, Art & Design student, said: “It was a very interesting and interactive workshop - he inspired us to create our own poems based upon the images from the First World War.”
Students have been given £1000 for materials and have to design and complete the art work for November. The bench will be unveiled in Shrewsbury Library in time for Remembrance Day.
Another student, Karolina Wysocka, commented: “I especially liked hearing Jonny Fluffypunk read out the poems that we all created as it inspired my ideas for the bench design. I really enjoyed it.”
Helen Morgan, Curriculum Leader in Art & Design, said: “We are very excited to be offered a role in this project with Shropshire Libraries and Shropshire Archives. It offers our students the opportunity to experience working with clients on real projects, providing them with essential skills that are required to succeed in the creative industries. The students have benefited from taking part in a poetry workshop, studying poetry and creating their own. They will now work on interpreting their words into designs for the bench itself.”
To find out more about courses at SCG come to an Open Evening on October 16 and 24 and November 8, 5-8pm or call 01743 342411