A group of students from City of Bristol College’s Foundation Studies programme have created a mural, on Cattle Market Road in Bristol, to mark the Centenary of the end of the First World War.
The Foundation Studies programme was approached by Kier Construction with the opportunity to create a mural, commemorating the Centenary of the First World War Armistice. City of Bristol College caters to a diverse range of students, each with their own story to tell. The students involved in the creation of the mural ranged in age and included sixth form leavers and the mother of an Afghan veteran. Students worked throughout the half term break, in all weathers, and finished the piece in just three days.
Zoë Reed studies Level 3 Art Foundation at the College and has a keen interest in art, History and Creative Writing, so jumped at the chance to be involved in the project.
Zoë said: “It’s such a huge milestone and is a topic that should never be forgotten. I think it’s important for me to be involved with that level of commemoration because I, of course, have had no personal experience of war and it’s a time in our history that feels so detached from where we are at the moment. I think it’s really important to commemorate it and also to adjust how we commemorate it. As we were designing the mural, we had discussions around how the design could include different perspectives and elements of the war that wouldn’t be seen as a cliché.
“I found it really interesting to work with people of a range of different ages and it was good to take our work space into a new field. It felt that there was more professional pressure because we wanted a very finished design. Working outside was really good – it was a huge scale change for me along with coordinating with so many other people in a group, because when I’m creative I’m usually working as an individual.
“It was a really good group of people to work with. None of us had experience with mural work before, but we all approached it with positive attitudes and we’re all so pleased with the outcome.”
The Foundation Studies students were given the brief, and put in touch with their client, Kier Construction. Following initial design and research discussion with staff at the College, the students worked independently to design and plan the artwork, organise sourcing materials and equipment that they needed in consultation with Kier. Students worked over the half-term break and were exempt from studio workshops to complete the commission in time for the centenary.
James ODwyer, Lecturer at City of Bristol College, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for a student led response to this complex theme. The diverse age-range among the students made for engaging discussion and the students explored the complex issues surrounding conflict, and how this can be represented. They worked professionally, and the feedback from the client has been extremely positive.
“Part of the challenge for all visual artists is accessing an audience, and in this Armistice Centenary commission, the students have had an extraordinary opportunity to communicate their vision to a far broader public than they would otherwise have access to. Opportunities such as this, therefore, are an important aspect of the student experience, gaining a range of collaborative working skills that prepare them for professional working practice.”
The mural will remain on Cattle Market Road for the next year. For more information about the Centenary of the end of the First World War, visit www.armistice100.org.uk. To find out more about City of Bristol College’s Foundation Studies programme, browse our courses at www.cityofbristol.ac.uk or come along to an Open Event.