An old war bunker in Yorkshire, England sits empty, an unused memorial to the immense cost of war, particularly in lives, land and resources. But if Leeds Metropolitan University graduate Charlotte Wilson had her way, the RAF Bempton bunker would become a sacred space honoring the role of women in wars past, present and future, befitting the intense natural beauty of the seaside setting.
“Women . War . Peace’ will be a new and exciting war museum with the pure focus of Women and War,” says Wilson. “Journeying through the exhibition will illustrate the compassion, realism, horrors and bravery seen and felt through the eyes of women during war time, both on the front-line and behind the scenes. This museum interrogates the creativity of learning through emotional and experiential spaces and details.”
Four stages of war will be represented within the reclaimed bunker: past, present, reflection and remembrance, and future. In the ‘Past’, the main exhibition stage, museum visitors will learn the stories of ‘women at war’, told within the bunker walls, and ‘women at home’, displayed in spaces outside but connected to the bunker space. The ‘Present’, located within the courtyard spaces, will illuminate the lives of women of war from the year 2000 through the present day.
‘Reflection and Remembrance’ will make up a viewing platform that extends beyond the cliff in which the bunker is embedded to provide a vista of the sea, while ‘Future’ takes visitors high above the bunker onto a viewing platform that serves as a space to contemplate what they have seen.