Call for Papers: The First World War: Past, Present, Future

Call for Papers: The First World War: Past, Present, Future

Edinburgh Napier University, Craiglockhart Campus

27 & 28 June 2019


An image of the Craiglockhart Hydropathic mental hospital

In the wake of the centenary of the First World War, The First World War Network seeks to build upon the success of its inaugural event at IWM North in February 2016 by reflecting upon the first century of First World War history, celebrating current, pioneering research into all areas of the conflict, and producing an ambitious, transnational framework for the future direction of scholarship on the twentieth century’s first global conflagration.

The organisers welcome contributions that examine the local, regional, national, and international dimensions of First World War history, that provide diverse and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the conflict, and/or that emphasise the war’s multiple legacies and impacts. We aim to bring together the latest in academic scholarship with participation from heritage agencies, libraries, museums, archives, community groups, individual researchers and all those with a shared desire to sustain interest in furthering knowledge and understanding of this seminal event. Alongside a range of traditional presentations, the conference will include poster presentations and roundtable discussions on the future of First World War studies with participants drawn from across the academic and public sphere.

Abstracts for individual twenty-minute papers, panels of three connected papers, and posters which focus upon any aspect of the past and present of First World War studies are invited. Suggested themes may include, but are not limited to:

●      The conduct of the war

●      The politics of the war

●      Commemoration/remembrance

●      Community projects

●      Forgotten theatres

●      Wounding and its aftermath

●      The centenary

●      Cultural responses to the war

●      Uses of the war

●      Historiographical trends

●      Gendered aspects of warfare

●      Local, regional, national or international responses

●      Dominant discourses

●      Myth and memory

●      Understanding/coping with death

●      Peace making

●      Silence

●      Learning from the war

The working language of the conference will be English. Abstracts of 250 words should be accompanied by your name, institutional/organisational affiliation (if any), and a biographical statement of up to 100 words. Submissions for complete panels should also include a statement of up to 250 words outlining the relationship between the individual papers. A ‘flash presentation’ session will take place during the conference, in which poster displayers can introduce and discuss the research behind their displays.

We wish to encourage submissions from academics, students, institutions, organisations, independent researchers, and community groups. In line with our mission to encourage and support postgraduate students and early career researchers, a number of bursaries will be available to individuals who fall into this category to assist their attendance at the conference. In addition, the First World War Network will be coordinating opportunities for postgraduate students and early career researchers who participate in the conference to engage in a peer mentoring scheme. Please indicate upon your submission if you wish to be considered for a bursary and/or the peer mentoring scheme.

All submissions and enquiries should be sent by email to:

The deadline for submissions will be: 14 December 2018

The organising committee aim to notify all applicants of their decision by 1 February 2019.

The Venue

Located to the south-west of the Scottish capital, the Craiglockhart campus of Edinburgh Napier University possesses a famous link to the First World War. The campus, commandeered for use as a military hospital for the treatment of shell-shocked officers, provided both the location for the first meeting between the poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen and the site upon which Dr William H. Rivers made significant advances in psychiatric treatment. The campus is now home to the War Poets Collection, a tribute to Sassoon, Owen, and their contemporaries whose words have provided a significant and lasting effect upon the public memory of the conflict.

A permanent exhibition allows visitors to view the collection, and gain an insight into the personal and social experiences of war through the words, memories, voices and objects that the officers, medical staff and relatives of those associated with Craiglockhart Military Hospital left behind.


Away From the Western Front Conference

Away From the Western Front Conference

(Q 24168) The 1/4th Hampshire Regiment make their ceremonial entry into Baghdad watched by natives lining the street. Baghdad fell on 11 March 1917. Copyright: © IWM

On the centenary of the Mudros Armistice, which marked the end of the First World War in the Middle East against the Ottoman Empire, the Heritage Lottery Funded Away From the Western Front project will be holding a conference to reflect on the often-overlooked campaigns which took place all over the world between 1914 and 1918.

Away from the Western Front has combined research into aspects of the global war with arts activities in which people from all over Britain have considered what the war means to us today. This conference will serve both as a commemoration of the centenary of the Mudros Armistice and an opportunity to take a fresh look at the war away from the Western Front.

Date and venue

The conference will take place on Tuesday 30th October 2018 at the Armada House Conference Centre, Telephone Avenue, Bristol BS1 4BQ. This is in the city centre, 15 minutes’ walk from Temple Meads station. The event will run from 10.00 to 16.00, with refreshments and lunch provided. A flyer for the event is available here.


  • Alan Wakefield will speak about the Salonika Campaign, followed by three presentations reflecting on personal stories – a Dartmoor stonemason, the artist Stanley Spencer and the composer Gustav Holst.
  • Stuart Hadaway will introduce the Palestine Campaign, followed by presentations about how a railway clerk won a VC, and how a churchgoer felt about visiting the Holy Land for the first time.
  • Nicholas Saunders will speak about the Arab Revolt, with particular reference to recent excavations of some of the places visited by T. E. Lawrence.
  • Soldiers from Lancashire and India fought in Mesopotamia, and some of their experiences will be presented.
  • Anne Samson will give an account of the huge African theatre of war.
  • There will also be presentations from our Creative Writing Competition, along with music created especially for the project.
  • In addition to the formal programme there will be exhibitions about the regional projects.
  • The full programme is available here.


There is no charge for attendance, but you must register. Click here to book your place. You will be taken to our Eventbrite page.  If you have any further questions please contact the National Coordinator (

‘Salonika’ – a new short film has been commissioned by Away from the Western Front

‘Salonika’ – a new short film has been commissioned by Away from the Western Front

Extract from Salonika battlefield footage (© Khaki Devil)

As part of its lottery-funded project ‘Away from the Western Front’ is delighted to announce the availability of a new film that it has commissioned about the Salonika campaign.  ‘Away from the Western Front’ has brought together a number of activities across the UK to raise awareness about the wider aspects of the war and to remember all those who served in campaigns such as the Balkans and elsewhere.

The Salonika campaign, sometimes referred to as the Macedonian Front, took place between 1915 and 1918 along the Greek borders with Albania, Serbia and Bulgaria. The port of Thessaloniki, then known as Salonika was the main Allied military base.

Project adviser Alan Wakefield from the Imperial War Museums tells us more: ‘In Britain the Salonika Campaign is very much a forgotten part of the First World War despite the involvement of over 200,000 British soldiers. Fighting as part of a multi-national army the British Salonika Force helped secure the first victory against the Central Powers in 1918 with the defeat of Bulgaria. We should remember that soldiers do not get to choose where they fight and just because these troops were not facing the German Army on the Western Front does not mean their story should be forgotten.’

Salonika Allied Comrades in Arms © IWM (Q 67857)

Alan Wakefield wrote and narrated the film, which was produced by the well-known military film-makers ‘Khaki Devil’. Director, Taff Gillingham said: ‘Khaki Devil was delighted to work with Away from the Western Front to bring the story of the Salonika Campaign to a wider audience.  It has been a privilege to work with Alan Wakefield, the leading expert on the campaign, and members of the Salonika Campaign Society, to make this film as historically accurate as possible’. As part of the film, Khaki Devil was able to make use of re-enactments filmed in various locations, including the battlefield itself.

The 14 minute film – available at – is linked to four other regional projects based on Salonika as part of ‘Away from the Western Front’.

  • At the Sandham Memorial Chapel near Newbury a group of military veterans put together an exhibition comparing their own experience with those of soldiers who served in Salonika a century ago. The Salonika film is available for visitors to the Chapel.
  • At Castle Drogo in Devon, schoolchildren have developed a drama production based on the story of a mason who joined up in 1914 and was killed in Salonika in the final year of the war.
  • Two more Salonika-based projects are just starting. In Cheltenham local people are to sample the food the multi-national army enjoyed during the campaign, using the diaries of composer Gustav Holst, who was there. In Newton Abbot, Devon, schoolchildren are developing an exhibition and drama performance about a local man who was at Salonika with his horse, which was one of the fortunate few to return to Britain, where he was put out to grass in what are now the school playing fields.

This new film and the regional projects will all help to inform people that the First World War was not confined to the mud and trenches of France and Flanders, but was a truly global war, involving soldiers far away from the Western Front.