University collaboration showcases WWII discoveries

“This collaboration shows how we can work as academics and with our students at the highest level of research using digital technology to bring to the fore research as it happens.”

Fiona Graham, Associate Professor of Film Technology

Archaeologists and filmmakers at Staffordshire University have joined forces to showcase new discoveries at a World War II site in Europe.

Staff and students from the Film Production Technology course are documenting the latest findings by forensic archaeologist Professor Caroline Sturdy Colls at Kamp Westerbork in The Netherlands.

Professor Sturdy Colls and Project Manager Kevin Colls have been leading a team from the University's Centre of Archaeology at the former refugee, transit and detention camp which is now a memorial and museum run by project partners Herinneringscentrum Westerbork.

“We hope that the work as a whole will provide a number of digital and on-site tools which will contribute to the important educational work being carried out at the site.” Professor Sturdy Colls explained.

“The archaeological team carried out a Ground Penetrating Radar survey in the grounds of Kamp Westerbork, searching for the remains of the crematorium and other structures in the former Holocaust-era transit camp.”

The team also worked with ScanLAB Projects who used terrestrial laser scanning to record the house of the transit camp's Commandant. The result will be a state-of-the-art 3D model of the house which can be used for research, public outreach and education.

Final year BSc (Hons) Film Production Technology student Tom Andrews has been working with Associate Professor of Film Technology Fiona Graham to capture project on film and document events as they happen.

The pair worked with film lecturer Paul Ottey and Professor Sturdy-Colls on a separate film project at Auschwitz Birkenau in Poland last year.

“This has been a wonderful experience. I am learning and filming projects as they happen and working alongside not only leading Professors in their field but also other students from different departments.” Tom commented.

"The course teaches you how to document factual film and this kind of fieldwork is a good way to apply that knowledge, it's a real world learning experience.”

Fiona added: “This collaboration shows how we can work as academics and with our students at the highest level of research using digital technology to bring to the fore research as it happens.”

The full footage will be used to create short films for public dissemination as part of the Accessing Campscapes: Inclusive Strategies for Using Europe's Conflicted Heritage (iC-ACCESS) project, a three year international research programme that examines the history and legacies of twentieth century internment camps.

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