Undergraduate designs Museum’s Window of Remembrance

The Museum of Liverpool has teamed up with the Hugh Baird University Centre to create a unique Christmas window display to commemorate the First World War.

First year undergraduates on the Foundation Degree in Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design at the University Centre – which is validated by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) – were invited to create a visual display for the Museum’s shop window to reflect its First World War exhibitions. Students were asked to create designs based on subjects including ‘Home for Christmas’, ‘Women at War’ and ‘The Christmas Truce’.

Catherine Mooney’s work was chosen and, this week, she installed the display which can be seen by Museum visitors until the end of January 2015.

Karen O’Connor, Head of Retail at National Museums Liverpool said:

“This has been an exciting collaboration with the Hugh Baird University Centre and we’ve really enjoyed working with the students to come up with creative ideas to transform our shop window.
“All the undergraduates’ designs were incredible, but Catherine’s was chosen as it was so well researched and thought-through, using very simple methods to remember those who fought in the First World War. She will also be featuring products available in our shops to animate the display, which will be seen by all our visitors and many others who pass the Museum on the waterfront.”

The development of Catherine’s winning design involved her obtaining a copy of the First World War Memorial Roll of Honour of Liverpool’s Military War Dead, which is displayed in the Hall of Remembrance at Liverpool Town Hall. It lists more than 13,000 names of fallen soldiers, whom Catherine is including in her display using handwritten labels to signify those who didn’t return home for Christmas in 1914.

Merchandise including books from the Museum’s shop will be used in her display to form a tree-like shape. The concept was inspired by Catherine’s discovery that it was virtually impossible to obtain a Christmas tree during the First World War, so people had to be creative in using whatever materials they could find.

Catherine Mooney said:

“13,000 people from Liverpool lost their lives in the First World War, and many more were affected. I thought it was really important that those people were recognised in this window display. Christmas is a happy time, but also a time to reflect and remember, particularly as we mark 100 years since the outbreak of war in 1914.
“The names I have featured are intended to make an emotional connection with the viewer, juxtaposing the sentiment of families at Christmas with the memories of all those who were lost.”

Undergraduates on the Foundation Degree in Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design work in close collaboration with the retail sector, but this is the first time they have been involved in the design of a Museum window display. The Foundation Degree involves students in work-based learning in order to apply new skills and knowledge to real life working situations.

Angela O'Brien, Programme Leader for Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design at the Hugh Baird University Centre said:

“This has been a fantastic opportunity allowing our students to work on another live industry brief. Our Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design courses have a long reputation of linking with employers for live briefs, often collaborating with high street retailers.
“This project was particularly challenging due to the sensitivities surrounding the theme. I’m proud of the efforts our students made in researching and translating the brief, ensuring that the client’s needs were met, whilst at the same time treating the subject with sensitivity and respect.”

Catherine’s design will be on display in the Museum of Liverpool’s shop window until the end of January 2015.

If you would like to find out more about the Foundation Degree in Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design, view our course pages.

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