In mid-December 2020, out of the blue, we received an email from the leader of a group of students at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) studying Film and Digital Art asking for our help. They had been set an assignment called “People and Place” and had decided to meet this by making a short documentary film about graveyards as a site where those who have passed on may rest and be visited by loved ones. They were particularly interested in how those graveyards are tended and maintained as an important link between the living and the departed, and the cultural history behind them. After finding our website and seeing about our work in the Old Churchyard (OCY) they wondered if we would participate.
Always keen to interact with young people, we replied in the affirmative and there followed a long telephone conversation with the team leader which confirmed their interest and opened up a number of aspects of our work that they had not fully appreciated beforehand such as the wide range of activities necessary in maintaining the site and the strong link with biodiversity in OCY. Normally this would have been followed by a site meeting with filming but this was ruled out by the new Lockdown measures recently introduced at that time. So, on 14th January a Zoom meeting took place and the students were pleased that we fielded a team of three – Noel Moss, Martin Angel and Richard Sandars. As can be seen in the video, there are extracts of the longish discussion that took place at that interesting meeting at the end of which the Tutor in charge thanked BCG warmly for our support. The students later visited OCY to make their film.
We soon received the video and were interested to see for the first time the other places that had been investigated including the lovely parish church at Godalming. The covering email for the video link said “It was an amazing experience overall, and our classmates & tutors really enjoyed the film.” We enjoyed taking part as well and hope that perhaps there will be other opportunities to work with students of UCA.
The film may be watched here: