Tag Archives: Connected Communities

World War One events this June in Belfast

A number of events this June in Belfast will be encouraging the public to engage with their local WW1 history. The events are part of the nationwide Connected Communities Festival.

West Belfast WW1 Soldiers – Living Legacies Centre a digital walking tour

belfast boysThe walking tour will take place in and around the Falls Road, West Belfast, an area rich in contested cultural heritage and with strong community interest in WW1. This venue has been chosen given its immediate proximity to the areas of interest on the walking tour. The tour is built around original data gathered by Prof. Richard Grayson on the origins of the local men that served in the FWW.
This event is open to the public and is a cross-community event, we are hoping to encourage members of the Nationalist Community to participate and engage with their WW1 heritage.
20th June 2015, An Chulturlann, West Belfast, BT12 6AH

Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich website – Cultúrlann produces a vibrant Arts Programme that promotes Irish language and culture while creating an attractive meeting place for tourists and locals alike.
A review of Professor Richard Grayson’s book “Belfast Boys” can be found here.
More information on the Living Legacies project can be found on the website
The event will be using #GIStourFallsRoad

 

ulstermuseumNational Museum Northern Ireland – First World War tour and workshop at the Ulster Museum

This venue has been chosen given its unique collection of WW1 materials, staff expertise and knowledge. In addition NMNI is a partner of the Living Legacies Engagement Centre. The event will feature a guided tour of the Home Rule to Partition section of the Modern History Gallery and will cover events from 1912-1922. There will then be a break for refreshments and this will be followed by an interactive handling workshop involving FWW artefacts. The main benefit to the attendee is an improved understanding of the past, including a broader knowledge of the nuances and complexities of the war.

23rd June 2015, Ulster Museum, South Belfast, BT9 5AB

More information on the National Museums of Northern Ireland can be found on their website.
More information on the Reminiscence Network Northern Ireland can be found on their website.
More information on the Living Legacies project can be found on the website
The event will be using #UlsterMuseumTour
2013-10-14-insigniaArts for All – Mural exploring the years 1914-1918

This event involves both the launch of a new FWW mural and a piece of interactive drama/performance from ‘Medal in the Draw’ by Dr. Brenda Winter-Palmer – LL, QUB. The event will take place in Tigers Bay, North Belfast on the 25th June, provisionally held. Tiger’s Bay is traditionally a strongly loyalist area of Belfast with a high degree of deprivation and strong community interest. The mural reflects a range of perspectives on the war, including women’s role on the Home Front, shipyard strikes and soldiers employed to make crosses to mark the graves of the men who died. The plays script is used as a stimulus for the audience’s questions and the actors then engage with the audience in character. The venue was dictated by the mural location, which is of itself the product of one year’s community research. The event is open to the public and is a cross-community event. The event will be publicised through all partners (see links).

25th June 2015, Tigers Bay, North Belfast

More information on the Living Legacies project can be found on the website
More information on arts for all can be found on their website.
More information on ‘The Medal in the Drawer’ can be found here.
The event will be using #WW1TigersBay

Image Copyright © 2013 Extramural Activity

Exploring the Legacies of War

In this blog post, Carrie Dunn looks at the outreach work of Legacies of War, one of the AHRC Engagement Centres based at the University of Leeds researching events from the First World War. 

‘Legacies of War’ is the umbrella name for a series of research projects focusing on the First World War Centenary at the University of Leeds, including three strands of work supported by the AHRC: the initial titular project, which was followed by Leeds Stories of the Great War, and then Discovering First World War Heritage. Led by Professor Alison Fell of the University of Leeds, academics with research interests in different aspects of the First World War have collaborated with community groups around the area to explore what happened during the war and its long-term consequences.

Memorabilia brought along to the WW1 Open day in Leeds in February organised by 'Leeds Stories of the Great War'
Memorabilia brought along to the WW1 Open day in Leeds in February organised by ‘Leeds Stories of the Great War’

The team have also been helping to coordinate a series of events and activities that are taking place across the city now and over the next four years in a variety of venues, commemorating different aspects of the First World War. “There are six core academic members of the team,” explains Fell. “We’re not military historians, so we had a desire to do something beyond the trenches, something home front-based, and also something that had the potential for European comparison because a lot of us work primarily outside of Britain.”

Fell has led the theme of‘Yorkshire and the Great War’, one of five thematic strands, looking at different elements of the war’s impact on the city and the county more broadly. “I’ve learnt a lot – there are aspects of World War One I genuinely knew nothing about,“ she admits. “I’ve got to know a lot more about British history – I’m primarily in French studies, so that was probably inevitable, but for me it’s been really interesting.”

Fell’s involvement with community projects has also led her to reflect upon her own research interests and practices as a cultural historian. One of the most significant, she feels, was a link-up with local young people exploring records of refugees relocating to Leeds during the war. “One of the projects that has been most closely linked to my own research is about Belgian refugees into the city, and I was working with two secondary schools and with some university students on it,” she says. “I did some research in the archives in Brussels, and I helped some of the schoolchildren and their teachers and the students do some research in the local archives, so we were trying to get both perspectives – the people in Leeds and the Belgian refugees.”

She began to notice that the young people were approaching the source materials in very different ways, looking for very different things to her.

We were trying to get both perspectives – the people in Leeds and the Belgian refugees

Memorabilia brought along to the WW1 Open day in Leeds in February organised by 'Leeds Stories of the Great War'
Memorabilia brought along to the WW1 Open day in Leeds in February organised by ‘Leeds Stories of the Great War’

“That was really interesting!” she exclaims. “I was interested in the experience of mothers with their children, and in education; and what they were interested in was crime and romance, mainly! A lot of them were interested in the idea of fitting in as a teenager in a new culture. They didn’t have the background knowledge that a historian would if they’d been researching this stuff, but they did have their own life experience, so to help them answer the questions they were asking, I looked at different sources than I might have normally.

“I’d just never thought about how they might approach the sources. That interaction was really fulfilling.”

It has also been a hugely positive experience for the community groups working with Fell and her colleagues, such as the Friends of Lawnswood Cemetery, who have been involved with Legacies of War from the very beginning.

The cemetery opened in 1875 and features four memorials and several buildings that have been listed for historical preservation – but it is also of significance to those interested in World War One, with 138 burials, a war graves plot and two screen walls recording names of war dead.

Founder Andrea Hetherington and her group work towards the upkeep of the cemetery and also offer guided walks. Since becoming involved with the project they have also had the opportunity to work with academics on various pieces of research, and Hetherington feels that personally the relationship has been invaluable.

“The Legacies of War team have made such a massive difference to me,” she says. “When I started to work with them, I’d just been made redundant and was at quite a low ebb. My background is in law but now I’m doing lectures and guided walks and I’m writing a book at the moment. They’ve been really helpful and enthusiastic and it’s led off in all kinds of directions for me.”

The Legacies of War team have made such a massive difference to me

IMG_1745_EDITED
Memorabilia brought along to the WW1 Open day in Leeds in February organised by ‘Leeds Stories of the Great War

As well as the successful research outcomes, Fell feels Legacies of War is also proving to be an opportunity for personal professional development in external communications, marketing and partnership working – areas that individual academics may often neglect while working within their institutions.

“I realised at an early stage, for these projects to work and to reach into different parts of the community that a university wouldn’t normally work with requires skills that academics often don’t have,” she says. “We had a project officer from an outreach background – she was absolutely vital. There’s a skills deficit [in academia] in terms of trying to understand how you would get people to trust what you’re doing, and deal with all the paperwork, like risk assessments, so academics can be confident to go and work with community groups. The AHRC has been doing this via the Connected Communities programme, and now we’re all working to learn new skills.”

And she would urge other universities to overcome their reservations and look into the possibility of doing similar work with local groups. “When we had the first meeting, there was a lot of anxiety around the newness of the project,” she confirms. “There were questions like, ‘Is it going to allow us to do research our bosses are going to like? Is it going to be REF-able?’

“But there’s a lot of knowledge out there, and it does all feed in. And it has given validity – because it’s an AHRC grant – to something that we wouldn’t normally have time to do. I’ve found it really valuable.”

 

Legacies of War at the University of Leeds is a First World War Centenary project for 2014-2018. The project will work with people and organisations in Leeds, the UK and internationally to explore the legacy of the First World War.

Connected Communities Festival: Exploring World War One and its Legacy

A number of sessions at the recent Connected Communities Festival in Cardiff reflected on the nature of community at this time of commemoration and during the First World War.

In this short film, Mike Noble from the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Hidden Histories speaks about the work of the AHRC’s five World War One Engagement Centres. He describes how the focus of each centre allows it to better engage with communities.


You can revisit all the sessions which were live streamed in a YouTube playlist.

Whose remembrance?

Until very recently, the contribution of people from the former colonies to the two world wars has largely been relegated to the sub-text of mainstream coverage. Whose Remembrance? is an AHRC-funded Imperial War Museum project, funded through the Connected Communities programme, which aims to help restore this unfairly forgotten history to its rightful place in our consciousness – an investigation into the state of research into the experiences of the peoples of Britain’s former empire in the wars and its availability to 21st-century British audiences and communities. Find out more in a feature on the AHRC website.

Connected Communities Festival: Performing the First World War

A number of sessions at the recent Connected Communities Festival in Cardiff reflected on the nature of community at this time of commemoration and during the First World War.

This session, ‘Performing the First World War’ explored how drama and performance can shed light on lives and legacies of the First World War.

The session focussed on creating new drama from local material and how lost plays can reveal historical experiences. Brenda Winter-Palmer (Queen’s University, Belfast) led an activity around her experience of developing a community play, The Medal in the Drawer. Dr Andrew Maunder (University of Hertfordshire) then considered how ‘lost’ plays of the First World War can explore the war, memory, and identity and give an alternative perspective on the more familiar performances of the war.

You can revisit all the sessions which were live streamed in a YouTube playlist.

WW1 research at the Connected Communities Festival, 1-2 July

The AHRC’s Connected Communities Festival gets underway in Cardiff this week. Among the many community research showcases and activities, research into the First World War will be the focus for reflection and community participation.

On Tuesday 1st July in the Motorpoint Arena,  there will be a World War One ‘Antiques Roadshow’ Event which invites the public to bring along their memorabilia. You can drop in from 10am until 4pm.

A screening of Whose Remembrance?, a film exploring how the peoples of the former British Empire were affected by the two World Wars, will be shown at 1.45pm on Tuesday 1st July in the Motorpoint arena. If you can’t make the screening, a stall at Motorpoint Arena on both days will showcase the findings of the film:

The former colonies were an inextricable part of the British war effort in both wars. But what do we really know of the story of military service and of the home fronts experienced in Africa, India and the Caribbean?  What do the present minority communities in the UK – for whom this a part of their heritage – know of this piece of history?

Another stand in the Motorpoint arena on both days will also showcase the five new World War One Engagement Centres, with representatives from each centre keen to talk about their specific research themes and plans for the commemorations ahead. And, a session on Cultures of Commemoration will explore the role of the centres and of commemoration at this time. This session will begin at 11am on Tuesday 1st July in the Motorpoint Arena.

The Festival gives us an opportunity to explore what commemoration means for individuals, organisations and places in
Wales and across the UK. We are keen to hear what Festival participants have to say about the  possibilities of academic and public research collaborations on the FWW.

To encourage discussion, the Centres will bring some recent examples of commemoration, including Joanne Sayner’s 4-minute AHRC film produced by children, ‘Why Commemorate the FWW?’; work with four regimental museums in Northern Ireland; cross-community work based in part on Cymru1914 for Wales and potentially similar work on Ireland; and a Nottingham project on green spaces.

These projects are just one part of a diverse programme of events. Find out more, including the full programme, on the AHRC website.

CC-Cardiff

Whose Remembrance?

Last month, Suzanne Bardgett, Head of Research at the Imperial War Museums, came to the AHRC to share their plans for researching the First World War in this important year, and to share a film, the outcome of an AHRC-funded project.

Whose Remembrance? began as a scoping study under the Connected Communities programme which explored the colonial experience of the two World Wars. The findings were so compelling that the project later received follow on funding for dissemination, and the film is both a part of and a celebration of that.

The film, Bargett explained, is about doing history, rather than about the history itself. It is clear that colonial troops and labourers were often exploited for the war effort, but the film is upbeat because it shows how researchers are dynamically uncovering, reflecting on, and sharing their stories.

As is clear from much of the coverage and stories shared on this blog and elsewhere, there is no one war experience or narrative. The First World War was different for all nationalities and individuals. There is to date no feature film in the UK about colonial war service, despite the many other films that spring to mind (from Oh! What a Lovely War [1969] to War Horse [2011]). The colonial story has often been overlooked, but Whose Remembrance? seeks to change that.

The film hopes to inform teachers and policy-makers, and to inspire other projects addressing the experience of colonial subjects in times of conflict. Already, it has been shown at the UK’s House of Commons, to school groups, and as far afield as New Zealand and Bangladesh – themselves both former British colonies. Now, you can watch and share the film in full via Youtube.