Episode 3: War Stories

During the First World War, the Royal Pavilion was converted into a hospital for Indian soldiers, wounded on the battlefields of the Western Front.

Jody East, Creative Programme Manager at Royal Pavilion & Museums, joins Sophie to discuss how RPM has commemorated this significant story and how focusing on emotional connections and people rather than objects has come to typify the organisation’s curatorial strategy.

Transcript

Narrator: From Brighton on the English South Coast. These are the voices of the Royal Pavilion & Museums with Dr Sophie Frost.

Sophie: Hello, I’m Sophie and I’ve spent the past nine months wandering the corridors of the Royal Pavilion & Museums in Brighton and Hove, otherwise known as RPM, uncovering the stories of the museum people who keep Brighton’s historic buildings and collections relevant, vibrant and accessible for the world we’re living in. In this week’s episode I speak to Jody East, the Creative Programme Curator at the Royal Pavilion & Museums who will be describing how the Royal Pavilion was used as a hospital for Indian soldiers during the First World War and how the creative programme at RPM has commemorated the impact of the First World War amongst its communities on the south coast.

Jody: I’m Jody East and I’m the Creative Programme Curator at the Royal Pavilion and Museums. I’m part of a small team that manage the delivery of temporary exhibitions, small displays and public events usually at Brighton Museum and also the Royal Pavilion. I’ve been with RPM since 2005 so 14 years, all my museum career and almost all of my grown-up life. One of the things I love most about that particular role is that because it is temporary exhibitions everything only lasts for a short period of time, so you get to work with so many different people, experts, different members of the community. You learn a lot. I don’t come from a particular specialist background; I just get involved in lots of different things really.

Sophie: That sounds really fun.

Jody: It’s really fun, it is fun, it’s genuinely fun. It has its moments, of course and a lot of it is a lot of admin, you know, you’re arranging transport, condition reports and insurance, all things like that. I see my role as: we work with people who know a lot about a particular subject to get what is in their heads into the gallery in a way that makes it really accessible to a much wider audience. We want our exhibitions to be really reachable and to engage people on lots of different levels.

Sophie: Sounds like almost a translation role in a way.

Jody: It’s a kind of interpretation role.

Sophie: Interpretation, that’s a more museum way of putting it, sorry. I haven’t interviewed anyone from your team yet, what are the main facets of it? The spirit I guess I’m wondering about.

Jody: On an official level, we have different strategies for programming exhibitions. One is that some of our exhibitions have to be what we call ‘blockbuster exhibitions’. They have to get people in through the doors, we want people to pay to come in and see them, so they have to be something that is going to attract a big crowd. For example, the Biba exhibition we did a few years ago, ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ that we take on tour from the Natural History Museum. They’re exhibitions that we know people will come to, the Constable exhibition that we did a few years ago as well, things like that. But then on another level, and I think this is probably where me and my colleagues get the most out of our roles, is programming exhibitions that engage people on a really personal level. Things that encourage people to reminisce or to feel that they’re connecting with something: to a story, or to an object, or to a place in their life. Exhibitions that reflect that are things that I find really exciting and lots of our exhibitions are programmed with that in mind.

Sophie: The story of the Royal Pavilion being used as a hospital for Indian soldiers during the First World War is a really important story in RPM’s history, so would you be able to outline it?

Jody: This is a project that is very close to my heart. I came across this story when I was a student at the University of Sussex doing my MA in History. I had obviously been going past the Pavilion almost every day of my life in Brighton as an undergrad and I’d never heard the story of Indian soldiers hospitalised in the Royal Pavilion during the First World War. I’d never come across it and it was only doing a project at the University that I discovered it. I found it fascinating that this Regency Palace had somehow been turned into a hospital for, very specifically, Indian soldiers during the First World War and for a really short period of time. It was between December 1914 and January 1916 at the absolute latest. It was just over a year. I found it fascinating when I first discovered it and then when I was lucky enough to start working at RPM there wasn’t anything about this story in the Royal Pavilion. You came as a visitor and you took the audio tour, or you wandered round the building but there was nothing that touched on this story in any detail at all. In 2010, we allocated some money to open a small permanent gallery in the Royal Pavilion based around this story. This was the first time there was any interpretation in the Pavilion about this and it was all done quite quickly. Kevin, who was Curator of Photography at the time, and David Beevers, the Keeper of the Pavilion, both spent a short amount of time researching, working at the British Library trying to piece together more of the story to be able to put together a display. I helped manage the project and get it open. An exhibition is often the end point of years of research or years of working on something. It’s the culmination of something and I think maybe people thought the same for this – that once the gallery was open, that was it, it was up, people would come and see it hopefully learn a bit about this part of the Pavilion’s history. Actually, it ended up being the beginning of quite a long ongoing part of the Royal Pavilion’s history. The gallery opened in 2010. We didn’t do as much collaborative work for the gallery as we could have done, as we would probably like to have done, as we would do now. It was very much based on research we did at the British Library and talking in a small amount to local experts such as Davinder Dhillon and Tom Donovan who are part of the Chattri Memorial Group. It gave us the opportunity to start these relationships which hadn’t really existed before. In 2014, I applied for a travel grant from the British Council and to go to India and spend a week there making connections with people and seeing if we could develop the project further, which was an absolute highlight of my career so far.

Sophie: That’s amazing, I want to hear all about it!

Jody: Well, I didn’t really know where to start. We didn’t have any connections with any organisations in India. We didn’t know if anyone in India was even vaguely interested in the Royal Pavilion’s role as an Indian Hospital. We were starting from scratch, but we were approaching 2014 which was the centenary anniversary of the start of the First World War. We were looking at stories and things we could do to commemorate the anniversary. I literally started from scratch. I looked on the Imperial War Museum’s Centenary Partnership website where they listed organisations that were doing something to do with the 2014 centenary. An organisation popped up called the Centre for Historical Research and it was based in Delhi. They were part of the Indian military and they were also doing research into India in the First World War, so I got in touch with them and they were amazing. A chap called Rana Chhina, previously a Squadron Leader in the Indian Air Force, and now an incredibly amazing historian who talks all over the world about India and its role in the world. He was doing lots of research, he invited me to come and spend time with him and his son in Delhi. He organised for me to give a couple of talks, one in Delhi and one in Chandigarh, about the Pavilion and its role as an Indian hospital. I went out there and did that which was amazing. One of the really interesting things about this story is the complete lack of unofficial evidence. There is an incredible amount of official documentation from the British army side: how they transformed the Pavilion, records of how they covered up the carpets with flooring, they boarded up the painted walls in the Pavilion to protect them, the rooms were turned into certain wards and how they did it, the Great Kitchen became an operating theatre.

Sophie: Wow!

Jody: There was a lot of photographic documentation of this. They employed official photographers to take very staged photographs of the Pavilion. There’s lots that you can look at but the only sort of information we have about the patients themselves are based on letters that patients sent back to their families in India. These went through a huge censorship process, so they were checked by the British as they left and if it appeared that they were talking negatively about how they were treated, or being part of the army, or the war itself, they weren’t sent. In a way it was kind of a great record because these letters were kept, and they are available at the British Library. Extracts were turned into a book a few years ago. There is this resource of being able to read some of the thoughts of the soldiers but they’re all very processed. Also, a lot of the Indian soldiers were probably not able to read or write themselves, so they were transcribing their letters to official scribes. You don’t know what the level of translation actually was. It’s our kind of long-term dream to be able to find more about the soldiers themselves. We have numbers of how many were there, I think it was 12,000 soldiers in Brighton hospitals over the year and less than 4000 in Brighton Pavilion and the Dome Corn Exchange.

Sophie: All Indian soldiers?

Jody: All Indian soldiers.

Sophie: So, the 4000 are all Indian soldiers?

Jody: Yeah.

Sophie: But 12,000 overall?

Jody: No, 12,000 Indian soldiers. So, there were three hospitals in Brighton. The Royal Pavilion and the Dome Corn Exchange were one, the Royal Pavilion Estate Hospital. The Kitchener Hospital, which was a workhouse and is now Brighton General Hospital, which is at the top of Elm Grove. And then a school elsewhere in Brighton was also turned into a hospital. These three places became hospitals specifically for Indian soldiers during the first year of the First World War. I think when the war kicked off people didn’t realise how much need for hospitals there would be. Hospitals in France became completely overwhelmed very quickly so they were having to send patients back to the UK. Lots of places along the south coast were turned into hospitals very, very quickly. The Royal Pavilion is a really interesting one because it’s a Royal Palace, it had been a civic building for the last 50 years. In 1850 Brighton Corporation bought the Royal Pavilion from Queen Victoria and she stripped it bare, she took all of the furnishings, everything back with her to London to her other houses. It had almost been used as an extremely fancy really village hall/town hall for fifty years-

Sophie: That’s a great way of putting it.

Jody: -You know, it was flower markets, beauty pageants, things like that. In a way it was kind of an obvious building to turn into a hospital. It was basically empty.

Sophie: Why Indian soldiers specifically?

Jody: The Indian army were one of the first forces to sign up to support Britain in the First World War. They sent thousands of soldiers across to the Western Front very, very quickly. By December 1914 they were arriving in France and ready to fight. There was a massive need for Indian soldiers to be hospitalised because they were fighting alongside the British troops. Kevin could probably describe this really well if you can get him talking about it, but the British were very conscious of how they were perceived to treat the Indian soldiers. They trod a very fine line between keeping a kind of power structure over them whilst also treating them very well because they wanted reports to go back home that they were being treated in a particular way. This is actually reflected in the letters that you can read in the British Library, but the Indian soldiers were quite complimentary in their comments about the Royal Pavilion Hospital. There were nine different kitchens set up to cater for different religions. There were different areas of worship set up for the different religions. Signs were printed in Urdu, Gurmukhi and Hindi and put up around the building. The burial for the soldiers who did die in Brighton, of which there weren’t that many: Muslim soldiers were buried in a Mosque cemetery, the Sikhs and Hindus were cremated at a special site set up on the South Downs, which is now the Chattri Memorial Site. The British Army and government were very conscious of how they were perceived by those back in India. They were very proud of India as part of their empire and there had been rumblings of unrest back in India as to whether they should be part of the Empire, whether they should be fighting for their own independence. This was an opportunity for the British government to say, ‘you are part of our great empire, we will look after you.’

Sophie: So, it was kind of a hugely political treatment?

Jody: It was a massive political statement, yes. They sent the King and Queen down to visit. Most of the soldiers that were sent over came from very poor, very rural areas of the Punjab. To meet the King of England was seen as a big deal.

Sophie: What an amazing story. And why was it only for a year, just over a year?

Jody: Because they actually deployed the Indian troops elsewhere, so they weren’t on the Western Front for much longer. They actually sent them to the Middle East and to Africa instead.

Sophie: Hove Museum, you may know this already Jody, was a prisoner of war camp in the First World War. The building was, there’s not much about it. There’s a tiny bit of interpretation around it of someone remembering, I think there’s an audio piece of an old guy remembering his father was a chef in the prisoner of war camp and he goes there and he gets hugged by all the German soldiers or something and I just think it’s so interesting. Like you said, it’s kind of a coastal thing. It’s like the first port of call so we need to put all our prisoners somewhere, all our patients somewhere. It’s really hard to imagine it now because it just wouldn’t happen like that now.

Jody: I mean it was unusual at the time. There are newspaper reports of people lining the streets of Brighton as the Indian soldiers arrived on the trains. They bring them down from the train station to the Royal Pavilion Hospital and people would line the streets to see them. It was quite a spectacle apparently. It got to the stage where the British government actually erected a giant fence around the Pavilion grounds. There are contrary reports as to whether this was to try and keep the Indian soldiers in or to actually keep the Brighton people out. One of the British Government’s fears was that Christian missionaries would try and come in and convert the Indian soldiers to Christianity and they didn’t want reports of this to be getting back to India. So, we don’t know why the fence was there, but there were reports of people kind of peering over the top and trying to look in and things like that.

Sophie: There’s a lot of post-colonial complexity in this story as well.

Jody: So much.

Sophie: The fact that they were Other, and they were treated as Other, but they were given very nice treatment as Others so it’s quite complicated.

Jody: It’s very complicated. It’s a kind of white patriarchy going on there. It’s a very, kind of, ‘we will look after you and treat you well, but you are still under our rule and we want to keep it that way.’ It’s so complex.

Sophie: Yeah, not that long ago really.

Jody: Yeah, yeah.

Sophie: So, you said it is kind of an ongoing project. Where’s it at now?

Jody: Well, I made contacts in Delhi with this organisation and when we were out there, we talked about doing a joint conference together in Brighton. So, in 2015, I organised a conference called Voices of India and we really wanted it to be about what people were doing to discover the stories rather than a kind of historical conference. We wanted it to be about how the story is interpreted in literature, how it’s interpreted in what grassroots organisations are doing. It was great, it was a really interesting day. We also connected with an organisation based in London called the UK Punjab Heritage Association and they were an incredibly active Sikh organisation who put on an exhibition in London called the Empire of War and about the kind of Sikh role in the First World War. They have dedicated a lot of their free time to researching personal stories of families and people who fought in the First World War from the Punjab area. They came up with a great idea in 2014 to get two of their volunteers to run Brighton Marathon dressed as First World War Sikh soldiers –

Sophie: That’s amazing!

Jody: – and I worked with them to get them some places to do this and it was brilliant. They came down and did some photoshoots in front of the Pavilion dressed in their kit and then we sort of followed them on the day. It was incredible, you almost got a sense of what it would have been like for the soldiers back in 1914 because people couldn’t take their eyes off them. People kept coming up and expressing their ‘wow’ at the fact that they were 1) running and 2) dressed as Sikh soldiers. They were attracting a lot of attention and you kind of thought that must have been what it was like for the soldiers in 1914 when they were on the streets of Brighton back then. It was really interesting. I guess the difference now in 2014 was that they want to raise awareness of the Indian soldiers’ role in the First World War. I mean, it was huge. There were millions of people involved from India in the First World War and it was a story that hadn’t really been acknowledged. You’re not taught about it in schools, it has not really been present in museum stories, it certainly wasn’t really present in government rhetoric about the First World War. It is changing, it has been changing over the last four years. There’s been a lot more research and things done about it but it’s only the last few years. Part of organisations like the UK Punjab Heritage Association, that’s what they are trying to do. Within their own communities as well because they work with lots of diaspora communities in London and Birmingham that don’t know that their ancestors, literally two generations away, were fighting for Britain in the First World War and have as much part of this history of the First World War as British soldiers. Part of their role is to try and raise awareness within their own communities as well. There’s been lots more visits from different sorts of schools and Temple groups and community groups to the Pavilion over the last few years, which is brilliant. I guess one of the things about my job that I love is getting to work with people and help them discover part of their own history.

Sophie: One site that has been the stage for so many different types of histories and stories.

Jody: It’s quite an organic story that it’s grown and each new connection that we’ve made has led to another connection which has meant another event. Being involved with the guys running the Brighton Marathon, that’s not a traditional museum thing to do, but for me it kind of is. It is bringing history to life. It is seeing hundreds of thousands of people watching Brighton Marathon seeing these two guys in their First World War uniform. For me, that’s history in action. I love it, I love that that’s part of what I get to do.

Sophie: Really inspiring to hear you talk about it and those kinds of stories coming out as then ongoing, like you’re just adding to the layers.

Jody: Yeah, I mean I don’t know what’s coming next with it. There aren’t any current plans for anything else at the moment, but it’s always going to be part of the Pavilion’s history therefore it’s always going to be something that we as an organisation are interested in exploring. I don’t know what the next stage is with it, but that’s quite exciting.

Sophie: Why do you think it was that time in 2010 that it got revisited? Was there something about the climate generally like a mind shift?

Jody: I don’t know. I think David, who’s the Keeper of the Royal Pavilion, had it on his mind for a long time that it should be something that we need to explore. Davinder from the Chattri Memorial Group is amazing and has always thought that this is part of the Pavilion’s history and you should reference it somewhere. I think it’s always been in David’s mind that something should be in there. Weirdly, I think by 2014 it’s something that we would absolutely have realised we should be doing so 2010 is almost quite random, it was before we’d even started thinking about the centenary anniversary.

Sophie: It just evolved.

Jody: It’s just something that we’re aware hadn’t been explored and needed to be and I’ve taken visitors around the Pavilion and people were blown away by that story. It is so unexpected that it stops people in their tracks. It really does, you look at the photos and you can see that it is the Pavilion, it is very obviously the Pavilion yet there are rows and rows of hospital beds and soldiers in hospital uniform and it’s bizarre.

Sophie: One of the other things you’ve worked heavily on is another aspect of the World War One story and its relationship with Brighton.

Jody: This was an exhibition that we did in 2014 called ‘War Stories: Voices from the First World War’ and this was an exhibition planned specifically to commemorate the hundred years of the start of the First World War. It’s the first project that I curated myself as well as project managed. I guess you’re immersed in it a lot more and we started it from scratch. We had no idea where it might go or what it might look like. We just knew that we wanted to do something to commemorate this anniversary. So, we started off by putting a call out on local radio and The Argus asking people to come to two drop-in days to share their family histories and any family ephemera or objects they might have, bring them along and talk to us. Almost like a sort of Antiques Roadshow kind of thing related to the First World War. We probably met about 30 people over these two days and the challenge was it being an exhibition instead of a book. You could have made such a different book whereas with an exhibition it is object focused so you have to have objects to reflect the stories that you’re talking about. And objects from the First World War are so much more of a challenge than you think they would be, there are so many things from the Second World War that people still have in their family collections, the First World War not so much. That was our biggest challenge: we heard some amazing personal stories, but there wasn’t anything to illustrate them and so from a curatorial point of view that was the first challenge. We knew we wanted to do about 12 or 13 individual stories, and we wanted them to represent a really wide view of different experiences of the war. It wasn’t going to be just focusing on soldiers on the Western Front. We wanted stories of families back home. We wanted stories from soldiers who were based out in Gallipoli or Indian soldiers who would come to Brighton in the hospital, things like that. It was such a moving experience and I can say that every single story that was in the exhibition came out of conversations we had with local people, which was amazing.

Sophie: So, the objects themselves, how did you manage to kind of get the critical mass you needed?

Jody: It took a while, it took a bit of proactive, kind of, going out and talking to people as well as asking people to come to us and we were really not prescriptive about what we wanted it to be. The first story, for example, was a lady called Eileen Daffern and her daughter had actually donated some of her collection to the museum already. But we hadn’t really made the connection that it could be part of the First World War exhibition. Eileen was born in August 1914; she was born as the First World War started, and then later in life she became the president of the Sussex Alliance For Peace. Her daughter had donated her christening gown and also had photos of Eileen as a child who, you know, her formative years were whilst Britain was at war. So, that was our story to start the exhibition off.

Sophie: Right.

Jody: And then we had another story of a lady who had been a Belgian refugee who had come to England from Belgium, from Ypres actually, and had a child while she was here and then the family went back to Belgium after the war. So, there’s the story of refugees coming to Brighton a hundred years ago, obviously there’s quite a lot of contemporary relevance to that now. We had a story of a young Sussex cricketer who was sent to Gallipoli and he kept an incredible diary of his experiences there. There was a family in Brighton who sent five of their sons to the First World War. There was a couple who got engaged just before the war started and then got married when they got back, so we had her wedding dress from 1918 in the show. It wasn’t necessarily what you would expect from a historical exhibition. It was absolutely about the people and their lives and –

Sophie: Sounds hugely relatable to the present.

Jody: – Yeah, yeah. I think it was successful on so many levels because it was so nostalgic, each story was things that people could personally relate their families to and also because so many of the stories have such contemporary relevance. It’s really interesting. We created a metal tree at the very end of the exhibition where we asked people to tie luggage labels onto the tree with a comment or thought about the First World War, or about the exhibition, or about a family member. Lots of people wrote about someone that they had lost in the war, but not just the First World War actually people that they’d lost in contemporary conflicts. There were lots of comments about Israel and Palestine because that was obviously very much in the news in 2014/2015 which is less so now, so the comment cards from this tree are kind of a time capsule of 2014 and 2015 and what was in the forefront of people’s minds. I think it would be different if we did it now and asked people to write that.

Sophie: They’ve been preserved, all those comments?

Jody: Yes, we’ve kept those. We’ve sort of divided them into different subjects or sections and they’re part of the exhibition archive.

Sophie: What made it a really great exhibition to curate for you?

Jody: It was the personal connections for me. It was the fact that every story came from a real person, a real family. There was one lady who found a collection of things in her aunt’s attic. It’s really powerful stuff, the emotional connection. I think it’s the fact that everyone who engaged with it, it touched them in some way.

Sophie: This is a relatively different way of curating which is much more grounded in the self and in people.

Jody: Yeah, it came from our audience. It grew completely out of people that we spoke to. Another thing we did was that we didn’t really do traditional text panels, we used the people in the story’s voices as much as we possibly could do. For example, Eileen Daffern the lady who was born in 1914 – the panel used quotes from her diary and from her book. So wherever possible it was the voice of the person whose objects were there that was talking about their life and their experience rather than a curator saying, ‘and this person lived here and did this’. It was told with their own words or their family’s words in every way we could. We didn’t want it to be our voice or the museum’s voice on it and I think that’s another reason people related to it so much because it was very much coming from the person they were seeing.

Sophie: If in a hundred years’ time the person in your role, unless you live forever and it’s still you–

Jody: If I’m still there in a hundred years’ time then something’s gone wrong!

Sophie: – Said ‘I want to curate an exhibition’, I hate to say it, but let’s just say it, about attitudes towards Brexit in the community in Brighton and Hove in 2019, 2018 or since the referendum because you’ve mentioned diaries a lot and also memorabilia, but we won’t have those things necessarily and I wonder how would you capture personal opinions and relationships? What’s going to happen? I don’t know why I expect you to have the answer!

Jody: So much is digital these days isn’t it? Rather than writing something in a diary or a letter people communicate via social media. I don’t know how that stuff is being preserved or how we can reference it.

Sophie: And what the experience of an exhibition would be like if you didn’t have any objects whatsoever.

Jody: Yeah, yeah. I like to explore these things. I’m very much people focused, for me the power of the object comes from the story of it rather than the object itself, which might be different from many of my colleagues, I don’t know. But it is about what the object represents, what it means to people as much as what it’s made out of, what it looks like. I think museums are changing to become much more about the people that they serve, in a way. For example, Helen and Sarah’s ‘Fashioning Africa’ project – so much of that was led by the people that want to be involved with it as opposed to the museum curators. I think that museums will go more and more that way.

Sophie: Which is ultimately a good thing isn’t it?

Jody: I think so. We preserve things for people to engage with and the stories of these objects need to be told by those that they are relevant to. Instead of a museum curator interpreting what they think an object is, actually the person who used this object or the person who came from the culture that made this object surely it makes more sense for them to interpret it than for someone who works with it.

Sophie: So, I guess the role again that we talked about at the beginning is almost one of empowering people to tell their own stories really?

Jody: That’s exactly it for me.

Sophie: And something that has come up all the way through us talking that I was thinking about was that this is about staff storytelling, but actually the way you’ve talked Jody, it’s really cool, it’s about staff story retelling. You’ve spoken about your own experiences, but it’s all about how you’ve enabled other people to tell stories. Which is really cool.

Jody: That is what I see my role as, that’s absolutely what I see my role as. I’ve done a lot of work with the Museum Collective over the last few years, which is our group of young people from 14 to 25 and a lot of the projects that we do with them are about getting them to take ownership of the museum and to programme events, to programme displays that completely come from them. We are there to enable that to happen as facilitators rather than saying ‘this is how it needs to be done.’

Sophie: And have you been surprised or kind of intrigued by what some of the outputs have been? What have they been like?

Jody: They’ve been really interesting. We did an ‘Artist Rooms: Gilbert & George’ exhibition a couple of years ago, which is obviously completely and utterly different to something like ‘War Stories’ and the art itself is not something I am personally interested in or feel a connection to in any way. But working with the young people and seeing them engage with it was so interesting and it was inspiring actually seeing how they interpreted it. And we encouraged them to programme a series of events, one girl decided she wanted to do a creative residency based on the exhibition. She made a community quilt, she asked visitors to sew their own square over a series of workshops, and then she turned them all into a giant quilt. The squares were all inspired by the exhibition. It’s a really interesting juxtaposition because quilt-making is quite a traditional female kind of thing and yet the exhibition of Gilbert & George is an incredibly male orientated, very different way of approaching things but the two came together. Which is really interesting, and she had a take on it that we would never have expected.

Sophie: Sounds kind of like she appropriated it, which I really like.

Jody: Yeah, she totally appropriated it and actually she made the exhibition accessible to people in a way that even the artists didn’t do, I think. She brought it to the table and got people to look at it and come up with their own symbol that represented the exhibition for them. She made it into a giant quilt, and she got people to engage with it in a way that we possibly didn’t manage to do in the exhibition itself.

Sophie: I guess that just shows yet again the importance of bringing different types of people inside and letting them have free rein for a bit.

Jody: Totally and yeah it gives a different way of seeing things.

Sophie: Yeah, great stuff so thank you so much. I think it’s been really good, and I think the stuff that’s come up about personal connections has been the key thing. Thank you.

Sophie: Huge thanks to Jody for taking part in this episode. I love how not only do we gain a much deeper understanding of how RPM has celebrated and commemorated its ‘War Stories’, but we hear how committed Jody is to using her position in the museum to help audiences uncover their own personal stories for themselves. This more emotionally connected, person-centred and context-based approach to visitor experience and museums feels like a very thoughtful and boundary breaking direction of travel. Come with me next time on ‘Voices of the Royal Pavilion and Museums’ where I’ll be speaking to the ghost experts at Preston Manor, RPM’s Edwardian manor house reputed as being one of the most haunted buildings in Britain. See you there. Thank you for listening. If you enjoyed this episode hit like and subscribe and please leave us a very nice five-star review. Find out more about the Royal Pavilion & Museums at brightonmuseums.org.uk and more about this project at onebyone.uk, on Twitter I’m @soph_frosty and RPM is @brightonmuseums. I really hope you can join me next time. ‘Til soon, goodbye.

Narrator: The Voices of the Royal Pavilion & Museums are supported by the One by One research project, the School of Museum studies at the University of Leicester, The Keep, Arts Council England and produced by Lo-Fi Arts.

 

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