Programmes Recap: 2021
Waterloo Uncovered is a groundbreaking charity that combines world-class archaeology with a programme of care and recovery for Veterans and Serving Military Personnel (VSMP) who have struggled with the physical or mental impacts of their service.
Taking part in a Waterloo Uncovered Support Programme can help rebuild wellbeing and confidence, give participants the opportunity to learn new skills and provide a great forum to mix with people from a variety of backgrounds with shared experiences.
"In 2021, Waterloo Uncovered launched our Creative Arts Programme, and our Finds Programme, which we ran alongside the second year of our Virtual Programme and our Battlefields Uncovered Programme. Throughout 2021, we've had the pleasure of working with an amazing group of beneficiaries, all of whom have gained something unique from being with us over the past year.
Participants were supported by our expert wellbeing and support team who helped encourage them along the road to recovery. All those who enrolled with us worked towards their own set of personal goals and had the chance to immerse themselves within an important part of history, with a likeminded group of people.
Below, you'll find details of what they got up to over the last year. It has been truly inspiring to work with such a wonderful group of individuals, despite challenging circumstances related to Covid, shifting plans and misbehaving technology, we've really had a great year. New friendships have been made, amazing experiences have been shared and our programmes have had a positive impact on those who took part.
I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who joined us in 2021; from our staff and collaborators to our funding bodies, but mainly to our participants. You make the whole thing worthwhile and we've had an absolute blast."
Katie Buckley, Chief Operations Officer
Designed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Virtual programme connects veterans and serving military personnel whilst exploring the archaeology and history of Waterloo.
When we couldn’t go to Waterloo, we brought Waterloo to our veterans and serving military personnel. The aim of the programme is to give a taste of the work Waterloo Uncovered does, bringing together archaeology and wellbeing.
The Virtual programme explores the history and archaeology of Waterloo through lectures, workshops and hangouts. Of the many activities open to participants were a virtual tour of Hougoumont, mindful activities and a look behind the scenes of the British Museum.
The Finds Programme, run for the first time in 2021, brought together archaeologists and veterans with an interest in archaeology.
Veterans and serving military personnel bring experience and expertise to the interpretation of battlefield archaeology at Waterloo. Veterans working together to interpret our finds is at the core of this post-excavation project. Participants enjoyed meeting each other, sharing ideas and learning something new, all of which contribute to improving their wellbeing.
The project blended learning and research tasks using Google Classroom, virtual hangouts on Google Meet, and in person workshops. The group worked together to research and curate handling collections of finds from Waterloo, to teach other veterans about the importance of archaeology for mental wellbeing.
This programme not only cultivated and fostered a lasting connection to heritage, but it also gave participants the chance to discuss a number of sensitive topics, such as death, loss, injury and trauma.
Participants worked together to build physical and digital assemblages over the period of a year. This provided them with an opportunity to re-engage with the military community and to explore the historical context of the Battle of Waterloo in ways which may resonate with their own military experience. As ever, our dedicated and experienced team were working alongside participants every step of the way to ensure that their wellbeing was a priority and that appropriate support was provided as needed.
Creative Arts Programme
Participants on the Creative Arts programme, run for the first time in 2021, worked with practitioners to learn about the archaeology of Waterloo and create responses in three different art forms.
Taking part in creative activities like writing or model making has been part of the experience at Waterloo. These activities can help maintain wellbeing: through mindful activity, working with or alongside like minded people, learning new skills and making connections.
The Arts programme explored mixed media, poetry and drawing through Google Meet hangouts. The participants took part in live sessions, one to ones and group work, all led by practitioners. Virtual visits to the British Museum, Apsley House and the Scots Dragoon Guards provided context. Further inspiration from archaeology, history and the theme “A Sense of Place” resulted in the pieces produced, which also reflect the personal journey of each veteran.
Our Battlefields Uncovered Programme, funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Trust's Tackling Loneliness Programme is a collaboration between Wellbeing and Support specialists, archaeologists, museum curators & the University of Utrecht. It provides a clear educational and goal setting structure to ensure participants achieve meaningful outcomes, with an important focus on improving their wellbeing.
This programme offered participants the chance to gain academic credits from an accredited university course held online. Ideally suited to those who may be interested in gaining new skills through engaging lectures and seminars with a particular focus on history and archaeology, participants journeyed across the globe and through the ages, starting with the Battle of Waterloo, to discover what investigating conflict can reveal about the past, the present and even ourselves.
Lectures, seminars and interactive workshops hosted by a range of expert lecturers and leading scholars, totalling 30 hours of online learning content, were spread over three months (roughly 2 hours a week), providing plenty of opportunities for learning.
Battlefields Uncovered is designed to tackle loneliness in groups that were at particular risk during the pandemic. By holding regular, friendly seminars and group discussions with an incredibly diverse group of veterans, students and military family members from all over the world, ranging from 19 to 70 years old, the programme was able to successfully combat the isolation that can be felt over winter.
Participants also graduated with academic credits from the University of Utrecht, which opens up a world of opportunity for those who wish to pursue further education, job and volunteering opportunities, and more. Veterans were also offered the opportunity to continue onto a further stage of the Battlefields programme, and to carry out an internship in a museum or heritage institution in their local area.