A powerful exhibition exploring how military personnel feel when they return to civilian life and the changes they have to make to fit in with their new community, has launched in Wrexham.
‘Equipped for Life’ is now on display in Tŷ Pawb as part of Wrexham’s commemorations of 100 years of the RAF.
The exhibition by photographer Ceridwen Hughes, is based on two years of academic research by Dr Nikki Lloyd-Jones of Wrexham Glyndwr University.
The collaboration, which was funded by Forces in Mind Trust, highlights findings from the report ‘Leaving the Armed Forces and living as a civilian’ and reveals the importance of identity for those who transition from the Armed Forces into civilian life.
The images were designed and created after conversations with the ex-Service people and refer to their former and current lives. The aim of the exhibition is to encourage people to want to know more about the experiences of those portrayed.
Every image is supported by a written narrative and video interviews.
Ceridwen, explained: “From our conversations with ex-Service people, it became clear that historically people have assumed the responsibility for transition was down to the Ministry of Defence, whereas, this report and the exhibition suggest it should be a shared responsibility with the communities in which they live.
“Dialogue is often around injured and damaged Service people, but the difficulties experienced on transition can often be exacerbated by the lack of understanding of their needs by the very communities they move into.
“Our aim through this project is to highlight the findings of the research and open up dialogue as to what we can all do to make life easier for those in transition.”
Cllr David Griffiths, Armed Forces Champion, said: “This is a very moving and very informative exhibition and I would like to thank everyone involved in making sure it is shown in Wrexham during the RAF 100 celebrations.
“I encourage as many people as possible to go and see it and to see what many have gone through to return to civilian life following their years of service to their country.”
“Equipped for Life” is one of several events available to the public as part of Wrexham’s RAF100 celebrations.
On Thursday a memorial garden and three plaques were unveiled in Queens Square as part of the opening celebrations of the RAF100 events.