This fascinating project combines an opportunity for schools to engage in field-work based local history and the chance to learn valuable documentary film making and oral history skills. Staff are learning alongside students from sessions with Southampton-based independent production company, Viewpoint Productions and David Bond, Archive Education Officer, so that techniques can be embedded in future school projects. Work is taking place at 3 schools across the PUSH region during the spring and summer terms, but this report focuses on Blackfield Primary School.
Blackfield is sandwiched between the eastern edge of the New Forest and the massive ExxonMobil Refinery at Fawley on Southampton Water, which has a huge influence on the local community. Nigel Burt, Head of Community Affairs at the Refinery, visited the school to talk about its history and to be interviewed by the film crew from Year 6. Nigel then arranged an exclusive trip to the refinery, where the students are the only people ever to be granted permission to film on the site – quite a coup! The film crew also visited Calshot to record the slipway and hangers used by seaplanes and the flying boats which were built and operated out of there between 1920s – 1970s. They will also be interviewing local residents and family members about their memories of working in these locations. All the filmed material will be edited into a final documentary to be shown to an invited audience at the Refinery’s Waterside Theatre.
This is not just an opportunity for young people to learn about their local heritage, but for them to contribute a lasting record for future generations. All the filmed material will be added to the collections at Wessex Film and Sound Archive – history in the making!