Beaverbrook Vimy Prize Blog – 10 August 2017

Today in Oxford, the 2017 BVP group toured Oxford University and attended seminars by guest speakers Dr. Emma Login and Dr. Aimee Fox. They also tried punting and participated in our “BVP Amazing Race” Oxford edition! Please note: participants will blog in their mother tongue.

It is not every day that I get to talk with history PhDs about their field of study. Today, we had the privilege of learning from two such experts.

Our morning started with a lecture from Dr. Aimee Fox, who spoke to us about theaters of WWI outside of the Western Front. We learned of soldiers, whose voices had been muffled in our school curriculums, who had been deployed to Gallipoli, Salonica, Cairo, and more. We learned of the isolation, desolation, and exhaustive heat these men faced, and how, in spite of working hard to serve and often contracting illness, they were not regarded as highly as the soldiers of the Western trenches.

Following this, Dr. Emma Login opened up a conversation about memorials – their perceived value and how that changes across diverse populations and over time. We learned of symbolism, abstraction, representation, and function, examining in depth the specific cases of WWI memorials.

These lectures were not simply lectures – they were conversations. Throughout, I felt the compulsion to scribble some new insight in my notebook far too many times.

Enshia Li, Richmond Hill, ON

 

Today we had the privilege of traveling to Oxford. It wasn’t anything like I expected, in a good way, as I had no idea about all the beautiful architecture and museums. I also wasn’t aware of the deep history surrounding the university, such as the story behind “All Souls.” But along with the history, we also learned many team building skills and bonded further as a group. After we had some free time to roam around Oxford, we all partook in the Oxford/BVP version of “The Amazing Race.” In our leadership teams we raced around trying to be the first team to complete the task, which caused us collaborate our ideas in order to solve the problems and helped us bond. After that we went punting, which was a new experience for all of us. It was very hard – trying to propel a long slim boat along a river, with a small current, with a long metal rod, is not for a short person like myself. Because it was so hard, albeit really fun, we had to work together to try and paddle our way down the river. Today I feel we bonded and grew closer as a group. I feel like this will be important as we travel to Ypres tomorrow to a more sombre scene of remembrance as we visit more memorials and cemeteries.

Abigail Garrett, Conception Bay, NL

The BVP 2017 group in front of the History door at Bodleian Library, Oxford. Credit: Thomas Littlewood, Vimy Foundation 2017.