The Centre for Hidden Histories was established by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in 2014 as one of the five , with the aim of engaging with communities as they sought to commemorate and reflect upon the century-long legacy of the First World War.
Since then, the Centre has led or supported over twenty co-produced projects in which academic researchers collaborated with community organisations to jointly investigate aspects of the war that had not previously been considered in mainstream commemorations. Topics included the internment of ‘enemy aliens’, the treatment of Belgian refugees, the role played by people from the British Empire and the Labour Corps in Britain.
During 2018 and 2019 the Centre is focusing on two distinctive projects:
The Trauma Workstream is exploring the extent to which the psychological condition of trauma has been integrated into community engagement with the First World War centenary. Trauma here is being incorporated broadly to encompass a range of responses to the 1914-1918 conflict. From shell shocked soldiers recovering in specialist hospitals to cases of ‘barbed wire disease’ in ‘enemy alien’ internment camps; and from post-1918 literary and poetic representations of trauma to the contemporary family historian dealing with issues of transferential trauma in the archive.
The Young People’s Learning Hub is co-ordinating First World War Research Workshops with schools and young people’s voluntary groups. These sessions privilege the ideas of the young people themselves and give them the tools to pursue their own WW1 interests and ideas. The activities include, but are not limited to, examination of primary source documents, artistic and performance work, formal debating sessions and examination of period artefacts and locations.
For more information on the other four Engagement Centres, please see the links below.