Discovery Day: Supporting Local First World War Centenary Projects

An introduction to Heritage Lottery Fund funding streams and application processes; showcasing of existing community First World War research projects; a presentation by the Everyday Lives in War engagement centre on how they can support independent researchers and community groups researching the First World War; and an insight into the Essex Records Office activities and resources. A FREE event, but pre-registration...

Discovery Days 2017

These Discovery Days are intended as a series of one-day events, to take place in locations around the country with the aim of connecting the AHRC First World War Engagement Centres with HLF community groups and projects. The events will provide information, advice and support to these groups and will enable new partnerships to be forged between projects, as well as between projects and Centres, orientated around the Centres’ key themes. For more details, please contact any of the Engagement Centres or book via the link. Calendar   Month HLF Region   Location   Lead Centre(s); booking details   4th April Wales National Museum Cardiff Voices/Living Legacies 26th May   South East Hastings Museum https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/not-far-from-the-front-discovering-the-first-world-war-in-the-south-east-tickets-34273805876   1st June North East Newcastle University Voices/Living Legacies 19th June NI Belfast National Museum Voices/Living Legacies September Scotland   TBC Voices/Living Legacies/Gateways mid October London London Voices/Gateways   27th October Yorks & Humber Leeds Museum Gateways/Centre for Hidden Histories   14th November West Mids Library of Birmingham Voices/ Centre for Hidden Histories TBC North West TBC Everyday Lives in War/Voices TBC East Mids Nottingham Centre for Hidden Histories TBC East of England Essex location Everyday Lives in War / Centre for Hidden Histories TBC South West TBC Everyday Lives in War / Centre for Hidden Histories...
Mass Observation and the Centenary of the First World War

Mass Observation and the Centenary of the First World War

In 2014, at the start of a programme of  First World War centenary commemorative activities in Britain, the Gateways to the First World War team, working with the four other AHRC Engagement Centres, commissioned a Directive on responses to, and the cultural memory of, the war from the social survey organization, Mass Observation.  The Directive proved extremely popular, with 200 people writing about their engagement with commemorative activities, the impact of the war on their own families, their historical knowledge and cultural memory of the war years and its lasting legacies for contemporary Britain.  In this blog post, I want to consider some of these responses, and what they mean for the way that the war is viewed in Britain today.  First though, I will outline the Mass Observation project of which this Directive is a part. The poet Charles Madge, the anthropologist Tom Harrisson and the documentarist Humphrey Jennings established Mass Observation (MO) in 1937 as a means of constructing ‘an anthropology of ourselves’.  In this first incarnation MO drew on a range of research methodologies: as well as advertising for a ‘national panel’ of writers who would respond to regular, open ended questionnaires or ‘Directives’ and submit regular diaries, they recruited a team of ‘Observers’ who would observe the British public in the manner of ethnographic anthropologists, interacting with the society they were studying whilst making careful notes on behavior and beliefs.  In addition they used more traditional methods of data collection such as interviews to build a picture of British life and popular views that more quantitative surveys struggled to access.   As Britain entered the Second...

A conflict of Biblical proportions: How the Bible was used to turn the First World War into a Holy War

The significance of the Bible in the war, and anti-war efforts, of both Allied and Central powers in the First World War are to be examined in a new research project, which will document ways in which scripture was used to create notions of a Holy War, and how views of the Bible changed as a result of the conflict. Amid the mud and mechanised slaughter, it is difficult to see how the teachings of the Good Book could have been much more than an afterthought for those who lived and fought through the horrors of the First World War. Yet as a new research project aims to reveal, the Bible may have done far more to shape popular perception of the war than has previously been appreciated. Starting this week, researchers at the University of Cambridge will embark on a centenary study examining how the Bible played an influential role in the deadliest armed struggle that the world had, at that stage, ever seen. In some ways we treat the idea that scripture can be used as the basis of a holy war as primitive and medieval. Actually, the Bible was being used for self-justification by opposing sides in Europe just a century ago Nathan MacDonald Over the next two years, an international network of academics in various disciplines including history, literature and theology will attempt to piece together an aspect of the conflict that remains broadly overlooked, showing how the supposed word of God was widely employed both to support and oppose war efforts on both sides. Among other themes, the research will explore the Bible’s role...
Your Community in the First World War: A Road Show

Your Community in the First World War: A Road Show

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...