Our story is a brief overview of how and why we got involved with Yarn, looking at how our involvement with the Wounded Project has influenced our perceptions regarding change over the years to military medicine and psychological advancement in particular PTSD.
Working with veterans has been a large part of my life with my studies tailored around my chosen pathway. Part of my interaction with veterans is the running of a veterans breakfast club in Leeds where all manner of topic is discussed and help and guidance given. A message received one day by Rosie allowed me to further my learning and introduce others to the Yarn project and be involved in the collaborative process between Leeds University and the London Science Museum. SmudgerCG.
Smudger explained about the project at a meeting of the Leeds North Breakfast Club, I was eager to become involved as we recently graduated together, having completed a BA(hons) Counselling and Psychology in Community Settings and have a shared interest in PTSD research and treatments. Working in Mental Health Care I also have a keen interest in medical advancement and research. Joules.
Initially over 20 people expressed an interest in the project and 5 agreed to attend the first meeting, on the night only 3 people actually appeared in person which was both disappointing and frustrating.
Jamie and Rosie were very warm and welcoming and gave us a brief overview of the project and an introduction to Yarn which we were able to explore on the night as they provided laptops.
Opening a Yarn account was a simple process and we were away, since then we have worked individually and collaboratively on stories which has been remarkably easy, there were a few hiccups but they were easily sorted and for anyone who is computer literate using this tool would not be an issue.
Reading stories published by other users has been really interesting and being able to link to them was advantageous.
Our visits to both London Science Museum and Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds highlighted the differences in approach and level of visual stimulation. London displayed a number of historic artefacts with little now and then comparison leaving us with more questions than answers. However the exhibits on display were interesting and thought provoking. The Leeds exhibition focused on fewer topics but dealt with the historical differences and changes to treatment with a side by side approach of the then and now which clearly identified the changes over the years.
In our case, having studied the effects of war on veterans and families, this tied in with our existing knowledge we felt that it was better presented as a learning tool although we accept that everyone will have their individual and unique perception of both exhibitions.
One of the features of Yarn is that everyone can add their own interpretation and experience either by adding a note or creating their own story. Not only does this create debate but also a social account which will form the basis if future history.
We were happy to attend a further workshop at the Science Museum to which representatives from other museums were invited. Dr Jamie Stark gave a welcome and introduction - Digital Tools and Difficult Heritage, he gave an overview of Yarn and his vision of it's future use which was well received by the audience.
He was followed by Lorraine Ward from the Science Museum who gave us the background and thinking behind their exhibition Wounded: Conflict , Casualties and Care, which gave us answers to some of our earlier questions and a unique insight into how museums develop ideas into reality.
After this we had a chance to talk about our involvement with Yarn, how we had used it and gave our comparison of the impact both exhibitions had on us.
We were then able to view the Wounded gallery again with further input from Lorraine, several members of the group commented how different it was to view it through our eyes and not from a museum based perspective.
After lunch Lauren Ryall-Stockton from the Thackray Medical Museum and Rosie Wilkinson talked about another thread - Having a Baby: Yarn and Local Community Engagement, which involved Afghan women living in Leeds and also a project with the National Holocaust Centre, stories from both have been published on Yarn.
An interesting and varied discussion followed and hopefully the participants can add their own notes to this story as we would very much like to hear the thoughts of others. Jamie summed up and concluded the workshop which had a really positive vibe throughout and we have enjoyed being a part of the project, we have promised to visit some of the other participating museums and if we can help in any way going forward please get in touch.