Young artists’ display is ready for take-off

March 5th, 2020

art by Jo Wilson

Date: 27 March 2020 – 28 March 2021
Location: Mezzanine Gallery, Hangars 3-5
Cost: Free

A collection of works by BA and MA Fine Art and Printmaking students from Middlesex University London will go on display at the Royal Air Force Museum London later this month. This vibrant new display is the result of the Museum’s community co-production and co-curation initiative in which local communities develop their understanding of collections though outreach.

Students were invited to respond creatively to a selection of drawings and watercolours chosen for the Museum’s forthcoming exhibition, ‘In Air and Fire: War Artists, the Battle of Britain and the Blitz’, opening to the public on 27 March. As well as closely engaging with the works behind the scenes, attending a drawing workshop, students engaged with displays around the Museum to consider wider visual and historical contexts for their subject-matter.

Middlesex University Associate Professor of Painting and Printmaking, Steve Mumberson said:
“The opportunity for students from the MA Printmaking, MA Fine Art and BA Fine Art to see and draw from works by original war artists – both well-known and unknown figures – proved to be a formative experience. Seeing works by little-known women war artists, either purchased by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee or produced independently, resonated with the students in different ways. It stirred them to reflect on the major events of the war and how these affected their grandparents across the world, both in terms of military involvement and socio-culturally. As for those of us who are older, the project has more immediately sparked thoughts about our parents’ involvement during those difficult months from the summer of 1940 and throughout the Blitz. This exhibition of our work represents those researches and engagements, personal to us all.”

The student’s art outreach project will showcase a wide range of works, featuring different approaches to printmaking – linocut, woodcut, etching, screenprint, and digital – as well as painting and installation.

Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries at Middlesex, Mark Hunter said:
“Middlesex University has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the RAF Museum. Students from across Dance, Photography, Illustration, Fine Art and Printmaking have collaborated with the Museum on a range of projects: the most recent of which saw our Fine Art and Printmaking students engage in a piece of outreach work by creatively responding to items from the collection. This was a wonderful opportunity to further our links in with the RAF Museum, the local community and the borough of Barnet more broadly”

The artwork will be displayed in the Mezzanine Gallery, adjacent to the ‘In Air and Fire’ exhibition in the Museum’s Art Gallery from 27 March 2020 until 28 March 2021, entry is free. For more information visit rafmuseum.org/london.

Furthering engagement with the local community, the Museum’s Heritage Outreach Officer led consultations with local community groups to garner their thoughts and opinions about some of the war artists’ works. These comments will be reflected in select community captions within two of the exhibition sections ‘Shelter and Civil Defence’ and ‘The Blitz’.

Five community groups; Age UK Barnet, Grange Big Local, Grahame Park Drop-in Group, ESOL (English as a Second or Foreign Language) learners, and the Museum’s ‘Art for Wellbeing’ cohort, actively participated in the consultation process, each group bringing a unique perspective to the works. Exhibition visitors will get to see which artworks were the most popular with each group and to join in the dialogue.

RAF Museum Heritage Outreach Officer, Rhiannon Watkinson said:
“With our local area having such strong links to The Battle of Britain and The Blitz – from the bombing of Colindale underground station to Fighter Command pilots flying out of RAF Hendon, I knew I had to invite discussion from our local community, to enrich participation with another layer of interpretation. The community captions also allow exhibition audiences to hear very different perspectives on the artworks – different voices.”

www.rafmuseum.org/london

Swiss Air Force to Wow the Crowds at The RAF Cosford Air Show 2020

February 28th, 2020

Cosford Air Show tickets now on sale

On Sunday 14th June 2020, the Swiss Air Force will be sending their elite PC-7 Team to perform in the skies over Shropshire.

Named after the nine PC-7 Pilatus training aircraft which they fly in breath-taking formation, their display programme has been continually refined over the years, with some exciting new elements like multiple crossings and mirror flights.

Formed in 1989, the Swiss Air Force PC-7 Team has become a true ambassador for the Swiss Armed Forces. This will be the second time the Swiss Air Force PC-7 Team have displayed at RAF Cosford, performing an exhilarating and elegant flying display demonstrating Swiss precision at its best. Indeed their last performance at Cosford was so good it won them the coveted Hartree Trophy for best display.

Air Show Director, Mr Clive Elliott, said,” We are extremely pleased to welcome our friends from the Swiss Air Force back to RAF Cosford and excited to see another award-winning display from the PC-7 Team.”

The RAF Cosford Air Show attracts over 50,000 visitors. The event will again be an Advanced Ticket Only event, with standard adult tickets priced at £32 and accompanied under 16s are free.

For more information about the displays planned at the Air Show, and to purchase your admission tickets, visit the Air Show website: www.cosfordairshow.co.uk

In Air and Fire: War Artists, the Battle of Britain and the Blitz

February 21st, 2020

Graham Sutherland Camouflaged Bombers

Date: 27 March 2020 – 28 March 2021
Cost: Free entry

A collection of work exploring artists’ responses to the Battle of Britain and the Blitz (July 1940 – May 1941) as they represented evolving machinery, communications, and urban landscapes, shaped by what was an unprecedented ‘war in the air’, is set to go on display at the Royal Air Force Museum London next month.

The exhibition entitled ‘In Air and Fire: War Artists, the Battle of Britain and the Blitz’ will open to the public on Friday 27 March 2020 from 10.00am until 5.00pm daily. Visitors can view over sixty works of art, several of which will be on display for the first time as part of this exhibition. Entry is free and visitors to the RAF Museum will have until 28 March 2021 to view the work.

As sky battles unfolded across the South and East of England in the summer of 1940, followed by cities’ bombardment in proceeding months, artists produced a pictorial record of the war, many of their works commissioned and purchased by Sir Kenneth Clark’s War Artists’ Advisory Committee (WAAC).

The exhibition features works by Official War Artists, including Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland, Carel Weight, Anthony Gross, Richard Eurich and Eric Kennington. Yet it extends beyond the prominent male members of the British School, championed by Clark, to reflect the full range of war artists’ contributions. It seeks to bring together the stories and perspectives of artists from diverse backgrounds, highlighting the best of collection works from the period.

Comprising around half of the curated selection, the exhibition celebrates the works of women war artists, most of whom were overlooked for commissions, whose pictures were typically purchased by the patriarchal WAAC or produced for independent projects. They include Laura Knight, Doris Zinkeisen, Eve Kirk, Olga Lehmann, Rachel Reckitt, Mary Viola Paterson, Enid Abrahams, Elva Blacker, Elsie Gledstanes and Lilian Buchanan. Unofficial war artists, many involved with the relief effort of the Blitz, also contributed significant works on themes of civil defence and devastation.

Modernist artists drew inspiration from the formidable forms of fighter and bomber aircraft, representing them in themes of manufacture, repair, camouflage, and aerial operations. As the ‘personalities’ of modern warfare, planes became new portrait subjects. If ever more powerful aircraft inspired artists to evoke an ‘automative’ war, so too were they excited by the expressive possibilities of other new apparatus. The barrage balloon was an alluring subject for figurative artists, an ungainly behemoth, incongruous to the landscapes of everyday life, seemingly mightier than its human operatives.

But the human presence in this war was far from overlooked. Beyond the carapaces of their machines, pilots and crew of Fighter and Bomber Commands were famed in portraits promoting the achievements of the RAF. Furthermore, artist members of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force naturally documented the familiar people and spaces of the RAF stations they served. And with the onslaught of the Blitz, artists addressed domestic themes such as the Air Raid Precaution and fire services, ambulance and rescue work, and communal sheltering.

Alongside shelter, the blighted landscape became a major propagandist subject, to be reproduced across the world to proclaim Britain’s plight and fortitude. In updating the ruin scene, suggestive of a Romantic past, artists enshrined the memory and persistence of British culture. German exile Walter Nessler’s Premonition (1937) foretold a London Blitz, presenting an uncanny, dystopian vision of St Paul’s Cathedral rising from an inferno of twisted girders, shattered buildings and scattered buses.

RAF Museum Curator of Fine Art, Julia Beaumont-Jones said:
“As the exhibition will reveal, artists’ interests to interpret this war of ‘air and fire’ were diverse – influenced by the exigencies of employment; excited by new subjects to represent; and driven by a will to express experiences both shared and personal. Seeing these works together offers a rare insight into the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of war artists – from the prominent members of the British School who were officially commissioned, and the formerly overlooked contributions of women artists, to the work of the ‘civil defence artist’, the exiled artist, and the amateur ‘outsider artist’.”

Complementing the exhibition is a Mezzanine Gallery display of related work by Fine Art and Printmaking students from Middlesex University. For more information visit www.rafmuseum.org/london.

The Sywell Aviation Museum Grand Opening 2020 – 11th April 2020

February 21st, 2020

Sywell Aviation Museum

The Sywell Aviation Museum reopens for its 19th season as traditional, on Easter Saturday – 11th April 2020. The free event includes visiting aircraft cockpits, military vehicles, re-enactors and more and maybe some aerial visitors!

Open from 1030-1630 hours the Museum is then open for the season every weekend and bank holiday between 1030-1630hrs until the end of September and every Tuesday/Wednesday between 1200-1600hrs from the end of May to the end of October.

www.sywellaviationmuseum.org.uk

Commemorate Battle of Britain 80 at the RAF Museum

February 20th, 2020

504 Squadron Scramble

2020 is the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain (BoB) which is recognised as the country’s finest hour. This summer the Royal Air Force Museum is inviting the country to remember this significant story of bravery, international alliances and ingenuity both at the Museum and on tour.

The RAF Museum is FREE to enter and has sites at both London and the West Midlands. Both sites are an amazing day out for all the family and will be commemorating the BoB 80 with a series of special events and exhibitions.

On tour:
The Museum is giving members of the public a rare chance to see a real Spitfire from our collection in various public spaces. This will include Coventry, Telford, Shrewsbury, Birmingham, Cosford, Wolverhampton and Barnet. The Spitfire on tour will enable members of the public to find out more about this iconic aircraft and the role each town and city played during the BoB.

London:
The London Museum is home to the most complete set of Battle of Britain aircraft in the world including the ‘fighter four’: Spitfire, Hurricane, Messerschmitt 109 and Fiat CR42, all participants in the BoB. This year they will be supported by new displays telling the wider BoB story, including a fine art exhibition. There will also be a series of events for all the family, including The Battle of Britain Vintage Festival, Spitfire 10K and Family Run, and a Battle of Britain Aircraft Access event.

Cosford:
Home to the world’s oldest Spitfire, the Cosford Museum houses both British and German aircraft from the BoB era. See the RAF’s frontline fighters, the Spitfire, Hurricane, Gladiator and Defiant face to face with their German rivals the Me 109 and Ju88, all examples of the type used in the BoB. Previously unseen objects from the Museum’s archive collection and a Dowding System interactive area will enhance the aircraft displays. The summer events programme will include the popular Spitfire 10K and Family Run and a BoB Proms with musical acts suitable for all the family.

Earlier this year the RAF Museum launched the Hurricane 80K Challenge, a virtual race commemorating 80 years since the BoB. Participants have exactly 80 days to complete 80K and be rewarded with a bespoke challenge medal, proceeds will go the RAF Museum, registered charity 244708.

The RAF Museum is open daily from 10am and entry is FREE. For more details visit www.rafmuseum.org

A ‘thank you’ to current serving personnel

February 13th, 2020

Maths Alive at RAF Museum London

All current serving members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces who are visiting the Royal Air Force Museum London before 15 March, will receive a special thank you gift.

The Museum will be offering all current serving personnel and their families, who visit MathsAlive!, the Museum’s latest exciting interactive exhibition specially created for children, a free ride on the 4D Theatre plus a limited edition MathsAlive! branded tote bag and Rubik’s cube (terms and conditions apply).

To take advantage of this offer serving personnel simply need to show their Military ID Card to staff at the entrance of the exhibition.

MathsAlive! can be found in Gallery 4’s temporary exhibition area, next to the 4D Theatre. Here, children will discover 18 thrilling and intriguing interactives that will help them explore the world of Maths through games and play. Maths has never been so much fun!

So, if you know a young person who loves dance, music and nature or would love to compete in a down-hill snowboard race, drive a Mars rover across the surface of the red planet or fight off computer viruses from within a giant computer game, take-off to the RAF Museum London! Admission to MathsAlive! and to the Museum is free.

MathsAlive! is open daily from 11.30am – 3.30pm during weekdays and 10.30am – 4.30pm at weekends and during February Half Term. For further details about this offer visit www.rafmuseum.org.uk/whatson. The exhibition is generously supported by Raytheon UK.

2020 Open Days at RAF Bircham Newton Heritage Centre

February 10th, 2020

Avro Anson

Anson VX-B (K6183) was the first of Bircham Newton’s aircraft to be shot down in World War 2 on September 5th 1939, just two days after Britain declared war on Germany. The story of this plane and its fortunate New Zealand pilot, who survived to become one of the first prisoners of the war, can be read in the RAF Heritage Centre. The Heritage Centre at Bircham Newton has a unique collection of memorabilia from the former Royal Air Force station’s past service, which spanned more than 44 years, including two world wars and the Cold War. On display are photographs and personal memories of servicemen who served there and other related items from its fascinating history.

The 2020 Season of OPEN DAYS will begin on Easter Sunday

Easter: Sunday, 12th and Monday, 13th April
Early May Bank Holiday Weekend: Friday, 8th and Sunday, 10th May
Spring Bank Holiday Weekend: Sunday, 24th and Monday, 25th May.
Sunday, 14th June/ Last Sunday in June: 28th June
Sunday, 12th July/Last Sunday in July: 26th July
Summer Bank Holiday Weekend: Sunday, 30th and Monday, 31st August
Last Sunday in September: 27th September/Last Sunday in October: 25th
Remembrance Sunday: 8th November

The Centre is open from 10am until 4pm. FREE ENTRANCE and CAR PARKING Disabled access and toilets are available. Tea, coffee and biscuits are available.
www.rafbnmp.org.uk

Green-conscious schoolchildren plant first trees to help offset Air Festival carbon footprint

February 6th, 2020

Avonwood school

Schoolchildren have dug deep to help Bournemouth become more green by planting trees at a special ceremony – the first of its kind under a new council-backed project.

The Council pledged to offset the Bournemouth Air Festival carbon footprint created from jet fuel emissions last year after partnering with nationally accredited Carbon Footprint Ltd.

For each tree planted a tonne of carbon will also be saved in the Amazon Rainforest, as part of the partnership, through an avoided deforestation project. This project is audited and certified by the internationally recognised Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).

Last summer aircraft used 95,211 litres of fuel – equating to 240 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

This project forms part of a wider BCP Council-backed commitment following its Climate and Ecological Emergency declaration, last summer. Dedicated officers are working with councillors to deliver the Council’s Climate and Ecological Emergency commitments by way of numerous initiatives, including working towards becoming a plastic-free local authority.

Councillor Lewis Allison, Cabinet member for Tourism, Leisure and Communities, said: “We are so proud to be able to take the first step in this all-important project with the help of Avonwood Primary School children. The school has been very supportive and we’re privileged to be able to plant these trees in their grounds. We will not see the effects of these trees immediately – it will in fact take many years – but it is a small and necessary step towards becoming a more carbon-neutral environment and one these schoolchildren will reap the benefits from.

“This tree-planting ceremony has marked a momentous occasion in our commitment to offset the carbon footprint of all displaying aircraft at last year’s Air Festival. We are dedicated to delivering our Climate and Ecological Emergency Action Plan and this project forms a very important part of that plan.”

Chris Jackson, Headteacher at Avonwood Primary School, said: “All of us at Avonwood Primary School are excited to lend our school grounds to the tree-planting project and to be involved in this fantastic community event. We’re always keen for opportunities like this to help our pupils have a positive impact on their local and global communities as part of providing an Education with Character. Through this initiative, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of being kind, respectful and socially responsible and our children have enjoyed putting this learning into practice. We are all looking forward to watching our saplings grow and helping to create a legacy that will benefit both current and future pupils.”

Today’s (WED) ceremony was the first opportunity the saplings could be planted. Officers from the Council’s Parks department were consulted to determine the most appropriate planting conditions.

Now in its 13th year, Air Festival organisers are currently working on content in the air, on land, and sea for the forthcoming summer’s attraction.

www.bournemouthair.co.uk

Have you got what it takes to be a STAAR?

February 5th, 2020

The Royal Air Force Museum is offering young adults aged 14-15 years the chance to become a high-flyer in STEM, as applications for the highly commended Summer Time Advanced Aerospace Residency (STAAR) programme officially open on 10 February 2020.

With 60 places up for grabs, the Museum is calling on secondary school teachers across the UK to nominate students who they feel demonstrate an interest in and aptitude for one or more STEM subjects. Successful STAAR recruits will experience life as an RAF engineering trainee, and over a five-day period they will live, work, learn and solve tasks together.

With exclusive access to real aircraft and engines, this immersive hands-on programme will see recruits exploring aircraft design, gaining an understanding of an aircraft’s needs and test how innovative new materials and technologies are changing the landscape of aviation. Recruits will learn about important historical missions, explore current conflicts and potential ways in which technology will need to evolve in the future. Working together in teams, recruits will plan mock missions, fly drones to gather intelligence, and by the end of the week develop their own advanced aerospace system.

Julie Brierley, Royal Air Force Museum Cosford Access and Learning Manager said:
“The STAAR week will challenge participants and encourage them to think outside the box. The opportunities and resources that STAAR offers students is second to none and invaluable for those interested in future careers in the world of advanced aerospace. We hope by the end of the week, they will leave with a sense of achievement and an enthusiasm for the future.”

STAAR is fully funded by the global aerospace and defence technology giant, Northrop Grumman, in partnership with the Royal Air Force Museum. Created to address a skills gap in the STEM industries, STAAR is an engaging programme that develops the skills needed by the next generation of engineers and innovators, encouraging them to study and consider taking up careers in STEM related fields. The programme of activities is delivered by the RAF Museum in association with RAF Cosford, RAF Youth and STEM team and Tablet Academy.

Nick Chaffey, Chief Executive of Northrop Grumman UK and Europe said:
“The STAAR programme is an incredible opportunity for students to learn new skills and experience the challenges and excitement of the aerospace industry. We are proud to support STAAR because we know it is vital to bring classroom STEM studies to life and provide young people with the opportunity to learn practical skills; it also gives them visibility of tangible career paths that they can pursue. Our work with the teams at the Royal Air Force Museum and RAF Cosford makes the STAAR programme stand out as an exemplar of hands-on STEM activity and we hope inspires the next generation into the aerospace sector.”

Two STAAR residential weeks are planned for up to 60 students and will be held jointly at RAF Cosford and the RAF Museum Cosford on 20-24 and 27-31 July 2020, with 30 recruits taking part each week. Two places each week will go to students on the Jon Egging Trust Blue Skies programme. Participants will also work towards a CREST Award and an Industrial Cadet Award during the programme.

Applications open on 10 February and must be completed by a teacher explaining why their student is suitable. For more information on the STAAR programme visit www.rafmuseum.org/STAAR. The closing date is 24 April, successful applicants will be notified early May. The class of 2020 will then be invited to attend the RAF Cosford Air Show on 14 June, where they will have the opportunity to meet with fellow recruits, STAAR partners and enjoy a day viewing the very pinnacle of the aerospace industry.

In memory of ‘The Few’: Hurricane 80K Challenge

January 29th, 2020

Hurricane 80k Challenge Medal

Date: 21 April – 10 July 2020 (registration now open)
Cost: £20 per person

To commemorate 80 years since the Battle of Britain, the Royal Air Force Museum has launched the Hurricane 80K Challenge, encouraging keen runners and novices alike, to run 80K in 80 days.

The Hurricane 80K Challenge is a virtual race that commences on 21 April 2020 and runners have exactly 80 days to run, walk, swim or bike 80K in a location of their choice. Participants will have access to a downloadable log sheet to record their 80K before being rewarded with a bespoke, commemorative 80K Challenge medal.

As a virtual race, the 80K challenge can be completed anywhere in the world. Online registration is now open and runners from across the UK and as far as Germany and Norway have already signed up. Participants have 80 days until 10 July, poignantly the start of the Battle of Britain, to complete the challenge.

Entry costs £20 per person and all proceeds from the Hurricane 80K Challenge will go towards the RAF Museum, registered charity 244708. Limited edition Hurricane 80K Challenge t-shirts are also available to purchase when registering online.

RAF Museum London Public Events Manager, Ella Hewitt said:
“The Hurricane 80K Challenge is an opportunity for people across the globe to challenge themselves and pay respect to ‘The Few’ who served and lost their lives during the Battle of Britain 80 years ago. 80K in 80 days is quite a task, but it can be completed anytime, anywhere, and we’ve already had lots of interest from abroad and RAF bases across the UK. It’s great to see people getting behind the challenge.”

The Hurricane, often overshadowed by the Spitfire, was the number one fighter plane during the Battle of Britain, inflicting the most losses and causing the most amount of damage to the Luftwaffe during the engagement. Having fought in all major theatres of the Second World War and playing a crucial role in protecting Britain during the summer of 1940, the Hurricane 80K Challenge is giving the aircraft the spotlight it deserves.

 To register for the Hurricane 80K Challenge visit www.rafmuseum.org. Entry costs £20 per person, or £32 per person with the souvenir t-shirt. Additional booking and postage charges apply for overseas participants.

The annual Spitfire 10K will also be returning to the RAF Museum London on 29 August and RAF Museum Cosford on 30 August 2020. All runners will be given the name of a Battle of Britain RAF pilot to wear with their race number, in memory of those who defended our skies during the summer of 1940. Spaces are limited and filling up fast. For further details or to register you place visit www.rafmuseum.org.