World War One Through Contrasting Narratives 🪖

Hello, welcome to or back to my blog! In this post, I’m going to talk about my most recent project in humanities, but also my last for grade 9! The driving question for this project was: “How can we make the contrasting narratives of war come alive for an audience?”
During this project, we focused on world war 1. We started the project off by going to a museum to get a feel for interactive exhibits and what we could create for our end product.

Before we could start on our exhibits we needed to get the substance to create it with. We started by learning about propaganda and contrasting narratives through war and the effects they can have. Contrasting narratives was difficult for me to understand because I’ve never thought in that way before, but once I understood it it ended up being easy.
When we learned about propaganda it stood out to me. The thing that stood out the biggest to me was the fact when they were advertising the war they wouldn’t show the whole picture. They would use emotions including guilt when creating the posters, from what I know it was easy to manipulate people by using this emotion because of how it can take over someone’s mind.
For one of my keystones, I focused on propaganda and included contrasting narratives on the advertisement of war.

I then started to think about some ideas for my exhibit. I thought of creating one about battle airplanes and how glorified they were, but they were flying coffins. I would have created two models of planes, one colourful/exciting and the other one more depressing.
One of my friends did an exhibit on this (she created digital sliders showing the contrast). When she was doing research she said that the average rate for battle pilots was around 11 days.
If you want to check out her blog click here.

Then one day when I was brainstorming I thought of the idea of just focusing on the soldiers. The reason I wanted to focus on the soldiers is because I feel like they didn’t get enough recognition in young people’s lives today.
The young men who wanted to enrol in the war didn’t have the full idea of what war was, and I feel like that should be said more often than it is. When the war was being advertised propaganda was used a lot, like I mentioned above it manipulated a lot of these young men into joining the war without knowing what they were getting themselves into.

When I started thinking about what my exhibit would be I thought about two displaces in one. When display would have a soldier standing on top of wood blocks, while the other one would have a soldier carrying wood blocks above his head. The one where the soldier is standing on top of the blocks would be painted with fun colours to represent the use of advertisements and the glorification of war. The other one would show the harsh reality of what war would end up being like for a soldier. The wooden blocks would be painted, mossy greens, and black while looking dull overall. Here’s a rough drawing of what I thought it would look like.

In the creation process of this exhibit, I overcame some challenges when it came to the wooden blocks. I found out that when I had to create the soldiers. I will create them out of the oven, bake clay, and they would not be able to hold up wood. I also couldn’t find any in the correct size for my display. Then I talk to my teacher about how to overcome this problem, and we thought of a good solution and we used styrofoam. The styrofoam was painted easily and was light enough for the soldier to carry.
I then added words onto the blocks and decorated them, on one set of blocks, I added gems to make it sparkle, and on the other set of blocks, I added sticks and a fake fern to make it look less exciting.

When we set everything up for the exhibition I helped a lot with decorating. I helped bring and set up tablecloths, created a sign on the whiteboard and more along the way. While I was helping I found some scrap cardboard and covered it in blue paper. Before the exhibition, a lot of my peers critiqued my project and told me it would look good with a background. I ended up not creating one because I felt like it wasn’t needed but when I had the scrap of cardboard I just ended up making one. (Sadly I didn’t take a photo of my exhibit at the exhibition but I took one at home so I don’t have the background.)
This is what my exhibit ended up looking like:

I then set up an iPad that presented an exhibit card for a quick description of what my exhibit was about. Here is what it showed:

To sum everything up I feel like I enjoyed this project, I like going on field trips and I didn’t get that many this year. This project interested me in lots of different ways because I like learning about war. Before this project I didn’t know the real meaning of what propaganda is, I knew that I’d heard it conversations before but I never really understood the true meaning behind it especially in World War 1. I had some problems with my exhibit but I’m glad I got to fix it overall.

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