A Lancaster University academic has contributed to a new exhibition at the Museum of London.
Dr Sara Wasson describes her research in a video interview being showcased during the exhibition Perspectives of Destruction: Images of London, 1940-44, an exhibition displaying art and photography created during the London Blitz.
She discusses her research into the way wartime transformed the lives and experience of those who lived and worked in London, through blackout, bombing, and a surreal soundscape.
Dr Wasson, from the University’s English and Creative Writing Department, also delivers the voiceover for the short trailer for the exhibition, showcasing some of the artwork
The London Blitz, which began in 1940, has been described as the second Great Fire of London and large swathes of the city were destroyed.
The British government recognized that ‘a war so epic in its scope by land, sea and air’ should be recorded and interpreted by artists.
Official War Artists were tasked with depicting events and experiences both on the field of battle and on the home front.
‘Perspectives of Destruction’, which opened on 27 January, focuses around a group of nine recently acquired drawings by painter Graham Sutherland and explores the way artists and photographers responded to the bombing of London during the Second World War.
In addition to Sutherland, the show includes work by Bill Brandt, John Piper and David Bomberg amongst others.
Dr Wasson, whose research interests have covered urban Gothic and the darker sides of the Second World War, said: “My contribution highlights the uncanny dimensions of the transformed Second World War city, the sensory geography of the bombed site and the melancholy of these images.
“While images of the bombed city are often used to accompany triumphant national celebration of a particular moment in British history, it is crucial to recognise the mourning and lamentation in these images too.”
In her video commentary, Dr Wasson helps viewers to appreciate the emotional power of these images at the time and draws out parallels with contemporary urban devastation in war.
The exhibition runs until 8 May.