Just following on from a recent post that linked 3d printing, art and engineering I thought I would let you know about a project I am coordinating with Karen Livesey on the Waterloo Bridge, aka the Ladies Bridge. Details below (sorry, quite long). We have a 'pre-launch' meeting to discuss this with possible partners, stakeholders or anybody interested to know more on 19 June in the early evening at City Hall in London, and would love to see some of you there. Let me know if you are interested and I will send you an invitation once we have the details sorted out (late next week probably). Of course we don't have any funding for this, so anybody involved needs to be aware of this - although you never know, we might manage to get some from somewhere if we are lucky.
Dawn Bonfield MBE CEng FICE, FIMMM FWES
Director, Towards Vision
Tel: 07881905520 | 07881905520
Email: [log in to unmask]
The Waterloo Bridge Sculpture Project
Engineering meets Art
This project, being launched in June 2017 on International Women in Engineering Day, aims to bring engineering together with sculpture with the ultimate aim of producing a full size work to be erected on Waterloo Bridge to commemorate the engineering and technical work of women during the First and Second World War.
Millions of women were brought into engineering, manufacturing and construction roles during the two World Wars in the UK, and there is no better icon to represent this work than the Waterloo Bridge itself, which was built by a significant proportion of female construction workers who replaced their male counterparts who were away at war. Known as the Ladies Bridge, the Waterloo Bridge has become a modern day focus for much recent activity to bring the stories of these women welders and construction workers to light, thanks to photographic evidence being uncovered to verify the stories that have, until now, been passed on by word of mouth for over 75 years.
In parallel to the engineering stories relating to Waterloo Bridge, another story emerges of the competition that took place in the late 1940s to design sculptures to sit on the four plinths of the bridge, which resulted in 16 unbuilt designs by World renowned artists including Barbara Hepworth.
Today, in collaboration with the Barbara Hepworth Estate, we have the opportunity to revisit these iconic designs and use the inspiration that they provide to propose an ambitious project to challenge today’s designers to bring engineering and art together and produce a sculpture dedicated to the work of women in engineering, construction and manufacturing roles in the two conflicts of the 20th Century.
In September 2017, in conjunction with the Thames Festival, the plan is to launch a National Schools competition with an accompanying outreach activity to challenge school children to produce and build their own sculptural designs. One year later, in September 2018 an exhibition of the shortlisted entries will be held – again as part of the Thames Festival – with the winning design built and displayed at Waterloo Bridge.
Funding and permissions allowing, this will then lead into a full competition to invite the submission of designs for a permanent sculpture to be built and erected on one of the plinths of the bridge.
19 June 2017 Launch of the Project
During International Women in Engineering Week in June 2017 the iconic City Hall will be the venue of the launch of this programme.
The organisers will host invited guests to attend an evening session to hear further details of the project and invite their ideas and participation.
We will hear from speakers including:
· Karen Livesey, on the story of the Ladies Bridge and the work that has been undertaken to date to bring this story to prominence.
· Dawn Bonfield MBE, Past President of the Women’s Engineering Society on the role of women in engineering in the past and present, and why it is so important to inspire the next generation of girls into engineering careers.
· 3d Printing and how it is being used in art and sculpture
In order to progress this ambitious project we need the support of many organisations and we invite participation to this inaugural meeting to get a team of interested parties together to scope and plan this project.
School Outreach Project Proposal
The Waterloo Bridge Sculpture project is based on the merging of two historically significant events. In the Second World War women construction workers played a significant role in the rebuilding of the Waterloo Bridge in London, a remarkable feet of engineering that these women were never credited for – until recently. In the late 50s, Barbara Hepworth was among a group of leading artists who submitted designs for four stone sculptures to be erected on the plinths on either end of the bride – none of which were ever commissioned.
Today we are proposing a unique activity combining engineering and art history to inspire the next generation of engineers, based on these two historical stories.
The outreach activity proposed will tell the story of the Bridge build and the sculpture competition, and challenge the students to use these stories as inspiration to come up with their own designs to celebrate these women construction workers – one of which will be proposed for full scale production and erection on or near the plinths of the Waterloo Bridge during the Thames Festival in 2018.
The project will make use of 3D printing equipment commonly found in schools today in order to produce scale models of the designs, and the plan is to host an exhibition of the shortlisted entries during the Thames Festival weekend in 2018.
Beyond the culmination of the competition, the outreach activity can continue to be delivered by schools looking to combine art and engineering in order to appeal to the next generation of inspired engineers.
Thames Festival 2018 Proposal
At the Thames Festival 2018 we are proposing four Plinths of activity, based at each of the four corners of Waterloo Bridge. The following are very preliminary suggestions for the activities, to be discussed at the project launch on 19 June.
Plinth 1 (southwest bank) could be something in conjunction with the BFI – a screening of the Ladies Bridge documentary and images, for example.
Plinth 2 (southeast bank) could be the display of the final winning sculpture, or maybe a piece of live art to bring a theatre group together to mimic the work of the construction workers during the building of the bridge, coming together to produce a living sculpture
Plinth 3 (northwest bank) could be an activity based on the work that Michael Faraday did on the original Waterloo Bridge to measure the electrical current generated by the flow of water, or some other activity more closely related to women in engineering based on their 40 years of the Young Woman Engineer awards
Plinth 4 (northeast) could be an exhibition of the printed models hosted by Makerversity at Somerset House
Dawn Bonfield and Karen Livesey
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