COFEPOW is now in advanced talks with the Liverpool School or Tropical Medicine (LSTM) regarding its bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the FEPOW art exhibition scheduled for the summer/autumn of 2018. The trustees would therefore like to provide an update on developments.
Thanks to the support received from members of COFEPOW and other FEPOW groups, over 330 responses have been received via LSTM's recent online survey. This has provided very useful data and material for future use. Alongside this, the School completed the final stages of the bid-writing process for the above exhibition and submitted the plan in mid-March, with an answer expected in June. COFEPOW provided sponsorship of £1,000 towards this part of the application, to contribute towards the consultants' fees.
Keith Andrews, Head of COFEPOW Research and a trustee, and Meg Parkes of the LSTM, were scheduled to meet in Leeds in late March for the FEPOW conference organised by University of Leeds and RFHG. They spent time exploring the potential for COFEPOW's support and involvement in the education project that will run before and during the exhibition. Meg also sent COFEPOW details in February of another opportunity, i.e. COFEPOW's sponsorship of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic's Youth Choir/Orchestra participation, which the trustees considered on their agenda at their meeting in April.
In supporting the LSTM/FEPOW art project, this initiative is being developed within the School for the 'FEPOW Art Exhibition education outreach' project. To provide a little background, as part of the education and public events' programmes which will run before and during exhibition, the LSTM approached the organiser of the Royal LIverpool Philharmonic Orchestra's (RLPO) classic film night to request a FEPOW-related film to be part of the 2019-2020 season. They readily agreed to this (for more information about the RLPO see https://www.liverpoolphil.com/our-history ). Emboldened, they then contacted the organiser of the RLPO's Youth Ensemble (incorporating both the Youth Choir and Youth Orchestra), to see if they could find a way of engaging young musicians with this history. It was suggested that the choir be introduced to the one particularly inspirational aspect of the Far East civilian internee history. The director confirmed that they want to get involved and have offered to engage the Youth Choir in learning and performing one of the Vocal Orchestra (VO) pieces created by two British women in captivity in Palembang, Sumatra in 1943, the women having rehearsed in secret for many months. It was commemorated 70 years later in 2013, when the music was performed for the first time in Britain ( see https://singingtosurvive.com/ ).
The RLPO Youth Choir will debut this work at the exhibition's opening ceremony in October 2019 and it is hoped at least once more during the run. Young composers in the Youth Orchestra will also be commissioned to create a new piece of work (for string quartet) which will be performed in public in February 2020.
The LSTM is delighted to have the cooperation of this world famous institution. They have asked COFEPOW for additional sponsorship for this programme as the costs would be onerous, i.e., mainly travel expenses for the performers (who are all resident in Merseyside) and a small donation to the RLPO Youth Ensemble's work, totaling possibly £500 in all.
During Keith Andrews' and Meg Parkes' meeting in April, ways were also discussed in which COFEPOW could get involved in the wider education work LSTM is planning. Keith has confirmed that he is happy to convene at future dates with the LSTM to talk through ideas for COFEPOW participation in all education and public events planning. As a further update on COFEPOW's response to the LSTM's request for cooperation, help and sponsorship, COFEPOW Chair, Paul Watson has received a provisional response from all the trustees. He reports that:
"The trustees unanimously wish to support these ventures as they fit well with the charity's aims. A donation will be made as requested and further discussion of details etc., will follow. The other trustees and I would be happy to consider any more detailed suggestions or ideas the School has at a future trustee meetings"