Veterans wanted for digital project

Military veterans looking to learn new creative skills and meet socially with other former armed forces personnel are invited to get involved with a unique group at FACT.

FACT’s flagship Veterans in Practice (VIP) is the only project of its kind in Europe,dedicated to engaging veterans through digital art. It is seeking new members to take part in a number of different activities, including a film club, cycling project, and the chance to learn about making short films, photography and more.

VIP was developed by FACT for the Liverpool Veterans Project, a support and advice service for military professionals adjusting to civilian life. Liverpool Football Club and the Ministry of Defence are two of the organisations backing its work.

The group meets weekly, and members – ranging in age from 23 to 73 and including men and women – have worked on a range of digital photography, animation, IT and writing projects, some of which have gone on to be displayed publically in FACT.

VIP member Paul McDonald describes how he has benefitted from participating in the project:”It’s brought a creative side out [of me]. I didn’t know any of the people before and this project had led me to full time employment and new doors have been opened for me, along with the people that I’ve met as well.”

Now, a number of new activities are starting up, and the group is recruiting more members to take part.

The First Tuesday Film Club begins on March 5. Held on the first Tuesday of every month, VIP will curate its own programme of films, giving an opportunity to meet and socialise while learning about the history of film. Screenings are free, but entry is for members only. Email healthyspaces@fact.co.uk for more information.

VIP will be working with Liverpool City Council and its Battle of the Atlantic 70th anniversary commemorations this May to produce photography, film and sound projects with veterans as part of the council’s Culture Liverpool programme. The end results will go on display at venues including FACT and the Maritime Museum.

Alternative Sceptics is a new documentary being made by VIP members with filmmaker Jackie Passmore. Described as ‘a guide to alternative therapies made by veterans, for veterans’, it will address issues of stress and anxiety among the veteran communityusing non-pharmaceutical methods of dealing with the problem. Every fortnight, veterans will try a different therapy, such as yoga and spiritual healing, and report back on what they find.

The Bike Buddy project will pair up veterans with visual impairments and sighted veterans, who will work with an artist to create cycle routes around Liverpool. The cyclists will record soundscapes on the trails, that will later be made available to download and distributed to people with visual impairments.

FACT was successful in securing funding from the MoD to create theDigital Veterans initiative, and will be offering digital training packages for veterans, who will help to develop the project’s own website, offering a creative platform for veterans all over the world.

Military veteransinterested in getting involved in any of these projects can contact Angharad Williams at healthyspaces@fact.co.uk, or on 0151 707 4416. For more information about the work of the group so far, visit www.veteransinpractice.com or visit their Facebook page.

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