Across the Pond: London and Dunfield House
On May 1, 2017, another group of Graceland students and faculty embarked on a three-week summer session to Britain. It was an invigorating time of renewal and discovery that will never be forgotten.
Before their stay at Dunfield, the group spent some time in London visiting many historic and iconic places. This gave context to their learning experience in each of the courses led by Graceland faculty.
HISTORY Dr. Steve Glazer's class, “We Shall Never Surrender:” Britain’s Role in the Second World War, emphasized the critical and pivotal role played by Great Britain in resisting Nazi fascism, particularly after the fall of France and before the entry of the Soviet Union and the United States. Students learned about daily life during the Blitz at the Imperial War Museum in London and viewed the underground bunkers of the Churchill War Rooms from where the prime minister directed the war effort. At Dunfield House, students read portions of Angus Calder’s The People’s War, watched videos of Chamberlain and Churchill, and listened to songs by Vera Lynn.
ART Another course — Rebels, Superstars and Rule Breakers: Artists and Activism in Contemporary Britain — was conducted by Professor Karen Gergely and explored the motives and origin stories of such revolutionaries as Banksy, Hirst, Emin, Hockney, Kapor, Ofili and Deller. The students and faculty explored street art in its natural habitat in the heart of London and visited Tate Modern, the Royal Academy of Art and Saatchi Gallery. Students were also able to produce some works of their own.
CINEMA Dr. Dan Platt led a session entitled British Cinema and Society, addressing the economic development of Britain’s national cinema, the influence of important British directors and the emergence of oppositional voices to mainstream British cinema. The group took field trips to historic movie theaters in London, the archives of the British Film Institute and Ealing Studios where many classic
British films were made.
MUSIC Dr. Adam Groh instructed The British Invasion Exploring the History of Rock and Roll, which discussed the impact of some of the most influential bands coming out of post-war England, most notably the Beatles and Rolling Stones. The course explored the social, political and musical trends that led to the rise of the counterculture in England and the United States. The group visited Abbey Road Studios and other famous venues.
The best parts of these classes were student-designed and student-led discussions and exercises, which included creating and defending political cartoons, quiz shows and treasure hunts around the Dunfield grounds. The group also toured Harry Potter Studio and took a bike ride around the city while visiting Banksy Tunnel. Other activities included hiking, playing ultimate frisbee and soccer, reading, studying, making art, watching British films, playing and listening to live music, learning about Churchill, eating wonderful food, and connecting course knowledge to experiences throughout the trip.
"My England trip was incredible!
I dove into a new culture and had the chance
to go sight-seeing while making lasting
memories with my friends. It was by far the
best way to end my Graceland experience."
~ Amber Edwards `17