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Victory in Europe Day - 8 May 1945 - 75th Anniversary 2020 - The Open College of the Arts
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Victory in Europe Day – 8 May 1945 – 75th Anniversary 2020

A lot changes in 75 years but at the same time, the picture could hardly be any less different. 

This Friday Bank Holiday, 8 May 2020, marks the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day), the end of fighting in Europe in 1945. Fighting in the Far East against Japan would continue for a further three months, costing the lives of many more servicemen and women, and civilian deaths in the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki before the final surrender on August 15 1945.

As we prepare to commemorate this event we face a global threat of a different nature. At time of writing more than 3.5 million people worldwide have been infected by Covid-19, and more than 250,000 have tragically lost their lives. 

The picture, both in 1945 and now, was and is, unclear. Global economies in recession, huge loss of life, massive societal upheaval. An appeal to pull together, be resilient, and have Vera Lynn on the airwaves. 

We will, as then, get through the hardships we all currently face. The end of the Second World War brought about a rewriting of the social contract, in Britain at least, with the establishment of the welfare state. Economies bounced back through injection of funds from the New Deal. And it eventually led to peace on the European Continent, unbroken for 75 years and counting.

Reflecting on VE Day 75 years ago, we have to hope that, just like then, we can build a better and fairer society out of the struggle we are all going through. By engaging with the commemorations run by the Royal British Legion, lets actively look to the part we can play in our society.

I would encourage our incredibly creative student and tutor body to rise to a challenge; let’s take the ‘Tommy in the window’ and see your representations of what exactly it is that the ‘Tommy’ is looking through the window onto. Post onto social media with the hashtag #tommyinthewindow and tag OCA.

Take part in creating bunting to hang outside your house, or in your window. You can use our very own OCA bunting, or create your own to mark the occasion. 

OCA Bunting

We don’t know what the future will hold, what our new normal will be. We can’t even really begin to shape that yet as we’re still going through lockdown. What we can do though is to start to imagine what life will be like in the future. 

I hope that out of this we see two things. Firstly that we see a renewed focus and appreciation for mental health. This lockdown is hard on all of us for different reasons. I saw a great quote the other day that we’re all in the same sea, but in different boats. We all have our own perspectives on living in lockdown, but even if you appreciate it there is some trade off.

Secondly, I hope that as a result of lockdown we see people engage with their creativity more, whether that be art, baking, crochet, you name it. Not everyone has the opportunity to be creative during this lockdown, but it can help to make things a little more bearable.

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Posted by author: Craig Dewis
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