Public Exhibition

NVA [= Nationale Volksarmee, People's Army] equipment, kindly loaned by project participant Holger Laux

NVA [= Nationale Volksarmee, People’s Army] equipment, kindly loaned by project participant Holger Laux

We held a public exhibition at the M-Shed in Bristol on 21 May 2012. The exhibition showcased the findings of the East Meets West project, revealing how Eastern European communities living in and around Bristol remember state socialism and how these experiences have shaped their lives in the UK. As well as seeing a range of objects from the socialist era, visitors had the opportunity to learn more about the historical backgrounds of the Eastern European countries where the communities involved in the project lived, and to discuss the ways that these countries are commonly viewed in Britain in the press and documentaries.

Take a look at the photos below to see what we got up to, and please feel free to comment on anything you find interesting – we’d love to hear your views!

Original GDR typewriter, pen and recycled writing paper, kindly loaned by project participant Holger Laux. The letter in the typewriter is a letter of protest written by a group of East German students to the Socialist Unity Party leadership a month before the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989. The students received no reply to the concerns about party policy expressed in the letter.

Original GDR typewriter, pen and recycled writing paper, kindly loaned by project participant Holger Laux. The letter in the typewriter is a letter of protest written by a group of East German students to the Socialist Unity Party leadership a month before the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989. The students received no reply to the concerns about party policy expressed in the letter.

Visitors inspecting some of the objects on display.

The displays provoked some lively conversations between visitors.

Here one of our project participants, Holger Laux, explains some of the exhibits to visitors.

The display boards around the room provided some  more general historical background to the exhibits. The uniform shirts of the German Democratic Republic’s youth organisations, the Junge Pioniere (Young Pioneers) and the Freie Deutsche Jugend or FDJ (Free German Youth) can be seen in the foreground.

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