From 8-10 September 2015 the five AHRC funded First World War engagement centres hosted their autumn roadshow, with events taking place in Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle.
These three events aimed to bring together community groups and other organisations developing or working on projects around the heritage of the First World War in order to share experiences, exchange ideas, learn about resources and explore possible sources of funding. In collaboration with a broad range of community project representatives, local historians, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the First World War Centenary Partnership, Lives of the First World War, Historypin, Yarn and the Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis (CDDA) we realised these aims in an industrious and enjoyable few days.
The events were well attended with nearly 200 people participating overall. Each event offered fascinating talks and a variety of stalls and exhibits. The events also included some undirected networking time as well as roundtable discussions which were both very lively and buzzing with conversation.
The event in Manchester took place on Tuesday 8th September at the Imperial War Museum and the venue was packed with stalls showcasing the range of First World War projects being undertaken in the region. The event opened with a talk from Lancaster University’s Martin Purdy on The Great War in the North West and included presentations from Oli Wilkinson (University of Central Lancashire) on Prisoners of War in the North West and Tim Grady on the Diverse Narratives project at the University of Chester. One of the highlights of the day was a presentation by Brierfield Action in the Community. Year 10 students gave an introduction to their project exploring the history of the Indian Army in the First World War, which involved visits to a range of important First World War sites.
The next day, the team visited Leeds City Museum. Frank Finlay of the University of Leeds gave a fascinating keynote presentation outlining the experiences of Germans in Britain in during the First World War. Professor Finlay provided examples of the impact of the war on German people who had settled locally and suggested that the consideration of Germans in Britain as ‘the enemy within’ has a strong contemporary resonance. Local groups showcased their First World War projects and participants were introduced to a number of online resources that can be used to enhance First World War research, including community archiving website Historypin and online storytelling resource Yarn.
The final event was held in Newcastle on Thursday 10th September, where the audience was introduced to four successful local projects exploring the impact of the First World War on different communities. Alan Fidler introduced the Tynemouth World War One Commemoration Project which has developed an impressive interactive database detailing the biographical history of more than 1700 men of the Borough of Tynemouth known to have been casualties of war. The Wor Women on the Home front project explored the impact of the First World War on women and their families in the North East of England and the Durham at War project mapped the experiences in County Durham during the war. The event ended with a talk from Ian Johnson of Newcastle University about the Universities at War project and a walking tour of the local area.
All the events included talks from our partners at the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Centenary Partnership, with advice on the support that they can provide for First World War centenary projects. Find out more about the Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War Then and Now scheme here and explore the First World War centenary website here.
If you would like to find out more about the AHRC First World War engagement centres please explore the ww1engage website.
The engagement centres would like to thank all the individuals, organisations and projects that helped to make the Roadshow a success, including: