Bombed house in Lives at War game
Bombed house in Lives at War game


MARCH 2012


For the past 12 months, young people from Longhill High School and Brighton Aldridge Community Academy have been working with older residents of Brighton and Hove to create a computer game and a city-based augmented reality app about life on the home front during World War II. The Past Present exhibition showcases historical photographs, archive films and work created by young people, as well as the computer game and augmented reality app, to show how this remarkable project came together.

Students from Longhill School researching local history with older residents of Brighton and Hove
Students from Longhill School researching local history with older residents of Brighton and Hove

Working with filmmaker Annis Joslin, young people from Longhill High School worked with archive film footage from Screen Archive South East to create newly edited films, working these together with interviews of older residents of Brighton and Hove who were alive during the Second World War. Together they also investigated the Mass Observation Archive, looking at diaries kept by people living on the home front during wartime, to help them create characters for the Lives at War computer game. Brighton Museum and Art Gallery and Whitehawk air raid shelter also provided inspiration.

The research and work has resulted in the development of a stunning computer game, developed by Corporation Pop, using influences of the research done by young and older people. Lives at War is an interactive game, playable on your home computer via the internet. It takes visitors on a quest to help the inhabitants of Brighton during WWII, teaching history of the home front as they go. Play the Lives at War game.

Young people from Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA) worked with artist Hannah Brady, to collect images from the local history library and Queenspark archives, to build a collection of images from Brighton on the home front. The young people then added the photographs along with creative writing about the history of the image to Historypin, an award-winning app that allows people to locate historical photographs in place (via geo-location) and time (via the date setting on Historypin). Using a mobile device, like a smartphone, people can go into the street and find the image, which appears at the location the image was taken at on screen. The phone can then be held up to the spot the photograph was taken, blending past and present views together using the phone’s screen.

The collection of images, put together by BACA students, can be found by using Historypin – firstly, the app needs to be downloaded to your phone by searching for Historypin on Android or iPhone. Launch the app and search for Brighton in the Maps section, and then search in the date: 1939-45. You can also see the Past Present collection on the Historypin website.

Past Present is a Lighthouse project, developed in collaboration with Screen Archive South East, Corporation Pop, Mass Observation Archive, Longhill High School and Brighton Aldridge Community Academy. The Past Present project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Funding from the Digital Film Archive Fund supported the development of the Lives at War game.

Preview: 16 March 2012, 6-8pm

Exhibition: 17 March – 01 April 2012, 11am-6pm

Guided Historypin tours
25 March, 2pm and 4.30pm
01 April, 2pm and 4.30pm
To book your place please contact Emma by email or by dropping in to the gallery or by calling us on: 01273 647197

To see how Past Present developed, see the blog

ITV coverage of Past Present:

06 March 2012: Read about our recent Past Present activity including school visits and attending the Imperial War Museum ‘Challenging Histories’ conference here




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