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Learning to Fly

Learning to Fly is a multi-artform project that explores the impact of World War 1 in Surrey and the hidden stories of local people across the county. In 2017 we ran creative writing workshops across Surrey using spoken word and poetry workshops led by poet Talia Randall, in partnership with Surrey in the Great War: A County Remembers project. 

In 2018 we worked with sound artist Graham Dowdall who has created a sound work based upon the material gathered through the poetry workshops, the archive gathered as part of Surrey in the Great War, A County Remembers project and related field recordings. 

The installation was exhibited within the newly refurbished hangar at Brooklands Museum in June 2018 and is now touring to various venues across the county including the Surrey History Centre and Haslemere Museum between 28 January – 19 February 2019


      Sound installation

      "Tales of a county"


Sound Installation:


Talia, Graham and project co-ordinator Laura at Brooklands Museum to launch phase two of Learning to Fly.


The installation explores a range of sounds and words that relate to the experience of Surrey and its people in that “great” war. 

Visitors to the installation will hear in different areas of the space, a wide range of sounds, including the church bells of Newdigate where the bell-ringers signed up to fight together and died together; the names of the dead from Woking war memorial; a German bugle recovered from the battlefield, alongside a whistle and regimental drum; poems written by a range of current Surrey residents in response to the war; Imam Hashmi of Woking Mosque reciting the names of dead Muslim soldiers and a prayer for the dead from the Woking Peace Garden; a WWI plane, the Sopwith Camel; a piece made from barbed wire to represent the POW camp and training camps of Surrey Heath; the recollections of a centenarian Surrey woman; a loop based on a piece by Ralph Vaughn Williams, who lived in Surrey and fought in the war; the famous song ‘Mademoiselle from Armentieres’, written by Surrey composer Edward Rowland; a Zeppelin which bombed Guildford and Croydon; steam trains, pastoral sounds and distant guns audible from the Surrey countryside and Morse Code spelling out the name of this project, alongside many more sonic elements. 


Visitors are invited to listen, reflect and remember those men, women and children who lived through or died in that terrible conflict.






Tales of a county - Benna. A learning to Fly commission

As part of the project, spoken word artist Benna has written and recorded an original poem in response to the Surrey in the Great War project archives. Check out the video below, put together by Valeria at Eyes On The Wall