UWE animates ss Great Britain's homecoming

Issue date: 17 November 2009

ss Great Britain. Copyright ss Great Britain Trust Memories of people involved in salvaging the ss Great Britain are to be immortalised forty years on using animation and oral history. The 'Visualising Voices' project, a collaboration between the University of the West of England (UWE) and the ss Great Britain Trust, will help ensure the story of the ship's rescue reaches a new generation.

Visualising Voices is part of 'The Incredible Journey', a project marking the fortieth anniversary of the great ship's homecoming to Bristol in 2010. Visualising Voices is funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Knowledge Catalyst award and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Using animation it will bring to life the oral histories of those who experienced the rescue of this iconic vessel, including Bristolians who witnessed the return of the rusting iron hulk, Falkland Islanders who recall its previous resting place on the other side of the world, and divers, technicians and engineers involved in the rescue.

Project leader Gill Sandford from UWE said, “This project is unique - this is the first time that a museum has worked with an animation production team in this way. The project will involve several interdisciplinary teams of staff and students from UWE's School of Creative Arts.

“We will be using material from the oral history interviews carried out by ss Great Britain Trust as a source of inspiration. The way the material will be presented will vary, but some of the voices will be taken directly from the oral histories and used as a soundtrack.

“The work will be suitable for a number of different platforms so as to be as widely accessible as possible - for example online, on-site at the museum and broadcast.”

Rhian Tritton, Director of Museum and Educational Services added: “The 'Visualising Voices' project is a first for the ss Great Britain Trust and is an exciting development for the museum sector.

“It will employ cutting-edge animation, it will be exciting visually and will be a highly imaginative way of representing the 20th century salvage to audiences in the 21st century.”

The ss Great Britain was the world's first propeller-driven, iron-hulled, ocean-going ship, designed by Isambard Brunel and built in Bristol in 1845. She had been in The Falklands since 1886 after being damaged in a severe storm. In the 1930s the ship was scuttled having been used by the Falkland Islands Company as a storage hulk. The hulk was rescued and towed all the way from the South Atlantic, returning to the same dock where she was built, 127 years to the day after she had left it.

For more information visit http://www.ssgreatbritain.org/Home.aspx

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