The Emotional Impact of Trauma

Don’t miss the free event at the Royal Armouries on Friday January 25th from 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. called ‘The Emotional Impact of Trauma’, which ‘offers the opportunity to learn more about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and how it can affect those who suffer from it.’ There’ll be talks from James Allen, whose photographs are currently showing as part of the ‘A War Within’ exhibition (see more below); Peter Carruthers, who describes the vision for his film ‘Fallout’, and Simon Buckden, a PTSD sufferer. You’ll also have the chance to see the ‘A War Within’, and ‘Fallout’.

The ‘War Within’ exhibition was launched in October, as part of the Love Arts Leeds Festival, and finishes on 8 February 2013. It’s billed as suitable for:everyone, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. I attended the launch, so here are some images to whet your appetite.

A War Within is really worth a look. Photojournalist James Arthur Allen interviewed a whole range of people, many soldiers, but also people who have suffered childhood trauma, or domestic violence. It sounds as if it might be overwhelmingly heavy, and it is hard to read about what people have been through, and see the effect it’s had. But it’s also very moving, and in the end uplifting to see and read about how people have struggled to heal, and to continue to live – to see images of, for instance Martin, haunted by memories of his time in Iraq, with the medals he’d unsuccessfully tried to sell on e-bay, or hear about Simon’s experiences on active duty in Bosnia.

The exhibition is human size – there are only about 40 images, with a little text with each one to give context. There are recordings of several people talking you can listen to on headphones, which adds another dimension. There’s also a brilliant cartoon from Fettle Animation depicting the effect of returning from war, needing and finding help for Post Traumatic Stress.

The ‘official’ release about this exhibition says ‘A War Within raises awareness of mental health difficulties, such as depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), experienced by veterans and the wider Armed Forces’ community.

With recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mental health of veterans has not been far from the political agenda, attracting widespread media interest and scrutiny. As serving personnel leave the Armed Forces, the responsibility for healthcare is transferred to the NHS.

A War Within is a photographic exhibition exploring the effects of war from the perspective of its subjects – giving them a voice and educating the viewer.

James Arthur Allen is a UK-based freelance photojournalist, who graduated from University College Falmouth in 2012 with a First Class Honours degree in Press and Editorial Photography. He has also undertaken hostile-environment training in preparation for his career as a photojournalist.

The exhibition is a unique partnership with the Love Arts Leeds Festival, and Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s Vulnerable Veterans and Adult Dependants’ Service.

Visitor Feedback
“Using art to look at these issues opens a lot of minds…”

“Very well organised, superb exhibition, well done”

“Great partnership work makes Royal Armouries relevant to current issues”

“Didn’t realise how wide reaching PTSD was before seeing this exhibition”

“Really good exhibition, very good way of getting people to talk about a relevant topic”

“I really enjoyed the speeches and found the photo’s really powerful, thank you”

“Fantastic idea and concept, would love to see more”

“Really innovative, great collaborations, genuinely inspiring”

“Brilliant photography from James, welcoming atmosphere – warm reception. Inspiring and intimate talks from everyone involved. Great exhibition.

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Remember the past, live in the present. Remembrance day, Leeds.

Depending on when you read this blog, there will either be or have been a two-minute silence and a wreath laying service at Leeds cenotaph on Sunday 11th November at 11.00 am.  I visited last year and found it moving and meaningful. The reason of course being Remembrance Day.

Remembrance Day is a memorial day which has been observed since the end of World War I to remember the members of the armed forces who sadly died in duty. It falls on the 11th November, which is the date that WWI ended.

A good place to visit is the Royal Armouries to see the exhibitions: A War Within and Other Ranks.

A War Within is on until the 30th of November. Photojournalist James Arthur Allen  is the man behind this photographic exhibition regarding Mental Health and the Armed forces, which highlights issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Other Ranks is on until March 2013 and is an exhibition at the War Museum, Royal Armouries and is a sound-based installation by Sound artist, Amie Slavin.  Amie is totally blind, and has been since 1997, I think there is a message here about overcoming adversity!

Finally I thought I would share this photograph

My Great Grandfather; William Edward Stainton, who sadly died in WWI only a month before the war ended in October 1918. He was in the Royal Engineers, and is buried in Ypres, Belgium. Although it seems sad, remembering the past can sometimes add meaning to our lives, as long as we remember to live in the present!

Hope you found this interesting,

Thanks Vicky 🙂