Commemoration, Conflict, Conscience - Hidden Stories of WWI Festival - Bristol

St John on the Wall, Bristol
1st April 2019 - 20th May 2019
during opening hours
free - donations welcome to CCT

This national festival shines a spotlight on hidden stories of the First World War and its legacy

COMMEMORATION, CONFLICT and CONSCIENCE is a year-long project, which culminates in a national festival in Bristol, April-May 2019. The project looks at ‘hidden’ or lesser known stories of the First World War, legacy, peace-building & alienation from commemoration. We are: uniting existing community groups and researchers, focusing on their work to date & generating new research; showcasing existing artistic work and performances and fostering new creative projects.

The Trust is honoured to be hosting one of the main exhibitions 'The Lost Files' within the Crypt at St John on the Wall

The exhibition will run between Thursday 25th April and Monday 20th May

The Lost Files is an installation that explores the experience of individuals who for moral, religious or political reasons refused to participate in World War One. Conscientious objectors were vilified in their own time, some were initially sentenced to death, many thousands were imprisoned and many continued to be ostracized by society long after the war ended. There is scant information about the conscientious objectors, most of the official records were destroyed after the war, and many of the unofficial records have since been lost. The Lost Files seeks to redress this by creating a visual record of conscientious objection.

The installation utilises a variety of media: sculpture; found objects; sound; archive material and photographs. Framed on the walls are images representing the vast literature generated by the war resisters, to encourage, support and inform each other for the duration of the war and beyond, and a soundtrack brings to life the names and details of COs.

The Lost Files offers a response to the experience of conscientious objection and a glimpse into how it might have felt, at great personal risk, to stand against the conventions of society. It is also a homage to a group of brave and principled men and women.

Al Johnson is a politically engaged sculptor and her work considers recent history and the interplay between politics, power and the collective memory. Al develops sculpture in thematic series and utilizes a range of materials: textiles, forged steel, wax, copper, and timber, creating works that are sensual, paradoxical and challenging.

Find out more on her website:


Emma Brown

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