Heritage Project Showcases Rich Educational History

Heritage Project Showcases Rich Educational History

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BY: Guest Writer
01 Jul 2024

As part of our celebration of arts and cultural organisations on the blog throughout July, this week on the blog Lorraine Smith, co-founder of the TV production company run by young people, end2end TV CIC shares with us the successes of a multi-partnership heritage project and the benefits for the young people doing Arts Award Discover.

The Through Our Eyes Heritage Project was created by end2end TV CIC who have managed it in partnership with Bexley Council Archives, with support from Bexley Music and Hall Place & Gardens, Bexley. Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund the project has and continues to celebrate the community of Bexley, the fascinating history behind our schools and, most of all, the incredibly talented young people who benefit from the project. As an Arts Award centre, end2end TV were keen for Arts Award Discover to be integral to this project and over 500 young people achieved an Arts Award by taking part.

Connecting young people geographically

As more and more young people become immersed in digital social media, their relationship with heritage around them is changing. This project has raised awareness of local history and enabled multiple groups of young people to research, identify and engage with the heritage of their schools. We worked with four diverse schools across the London Borough of Bexley (including Primary, Non-Selective and Selective Secondary Schools); connecting young people from Year 4 to Year 10 together and enriching their experiences, as they worked towards achieving Arts Award Discover.

Exploring archives and previous generations

As part of this project, we were keen to reach the last generation of people who remembered being at school during World War 2 to capture their school day memories. Young people from the four schools across Bexley had the opportunity to work with industry professionals to research the history of their schools, conduct interviews with former students and create documentaries about their findings. 

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Students visited Bexley Archives and explored historic documents, interviewed former students directly, and uncovered fascinating stories and cherished memories of past generations. Using this research, they began engaging with arts activities as part of their Arts Award Discover by writing film scripts and produced documentaries about their schools’ heritage (Part A). 

These students also demonstrated their skills behind the camera, using broadcast standard equipment under the guidance of end2end TV. The Directors of end2end TV believe that young people learn best by using professional film technologies in a ‘hands on’ way. The result was not only a comprehensive exploration of our local schools’ heritage, but also the children undertaking a fascinating learning journey in TV Production. This included another artistic opportunity for their Arts Award Discover (Part B); workshops run by industry professionals enabled young people to represent alumni memories using drama and advanced green screen techniques, as well as find out more about their work as a professional actor, director and filmmaker.

Drama 2

Each amazing documentary film offered a unique perspective on the history of their respective school, shedding light on many untold stories. From interviews with alumni to archival footage, the digital documentaries will serve as virtual time capsules, preserving the legacy of these educational institutions for generations to come.

Opportunities in music

But creating captivating documentaries was not the end of the learning opportunities, as an additional group of students began a new challenge with Bexley Music. Students were tasked with to capture the spirit of their school that could be used as part of the project (Part A). Picking up their instruments and listening to their musical mentors, they began to string melodies together and evoke the memories of school life gone by, many of them even writing song lyrics to develop their piece. Each school now has their own student-made song that is part of the new heritage collection.

Music 1

In addition to this, esteemed composer Jeremy Jackman was commissioned by Bexley Music to write a piece of music inspired by the children’s historical research called 'An Eye on the Time'. The Bexley Youth Orchestra and Big Band performed the piece at the project launch event and it paid homage to the rich heritage of local education and served as a poignant reminder of how schools play an important part in shaping our communities and nurturing future generations.

Extending skills

One of the distinctive aspects of the Through Our Eyes Heritage Project is its commitment to nurturing a range of skills that extend well beyond historical research. When the students delved into archives and conducted interviews, they were not only learning about the past; they were developing critical research skills, honing their communication abilities and technical skills, nurturing their creativity and leading the project. You can watch the project showreel here.


The new heritage collection of legacy films was celebrated at its debut interactive digital exhibition in The Stables Gallery, Hall Place & Gardens in Bexley, opening for four weeks during February and March of this year. It was the first ever digital exhibition to be held at Hall Place; attracting over 3000 visitors to the venue which created a positive boost for local businesses with the footfall exceeding normal numbers for the time of year. A film crew from the BBC news team visited the exhibition to interview participants and project partners, which was subsequently broadcast across numerous platforms over the following days.

The local community were able to engage with history in a brand-new interactive way; surrounded by creativity, getting hands-on with memorabilia and watching the brilliant legacy films produced by the children themselves. They could quite literally walk down memory lane with the project team. It was an incredible way for our young project participants to share their arts discoveries, creativity and newfound skills for Part C of their Arts Award Discover. A wonderful celebration of culture, community and the inspiring young people who contribute to it every day.

A second interactive digital exhibition for this project is currently showing the complete collection of heritage films and various school day memorabilia from yesteryear, in Central Library, Bexleyheath. It will continue to be exhibited enabling all generations to explore the collection interactively during 2024, until being officially donated to Bexley Archives as a complete heritage collection later this year. You can find out more about the project at www.throughoureyes.uk and contact the project team for further information via email projects@end2endtv.co.uk.

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