Community, Identity and Commemoration: Britain and the First World War
Friday 23 June, University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Room: TBA
The Passchendaele campaign, fought in the Flanders mud, provides many of the most enduring images of the Western Front. It also remains one of the most controversial battles of the War. At this public conference, the continuing reinterpretation of the battle will be discussed as we approach the 100th anniversary of the ‘Battle of Mud’. The academic controversies concerning the Passchendaele campaign have often reflected differing viewpoints on British identity and the extent to which the War exemplified British values. The conference will explore how the War impacted on Britain’s communities and the impact it has had on the evolution of a shared identity. It will examine the various ways in which Britain has marked the First World War centenary, examining the social, cultural and political influences that have shaped the commemorations. As the Silk Mill Museum hosts the Weeping Window, from the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ by Paul Cummins, the Conference at Derby University provides an opportunity to discuss what impact the centenary events have had on public knowledge and understanding of the Great War.
13.15: Dr Ian Whitehead: ‘The Battle of Mud’: Perspectives on the Passchendaele Campaign, 1917
14.15: Professor Paul Elliott: Derby Public Parks in the First World War and Beyond: Recovering a Hidden History of the Home Front
15.15: Christopher Batten, BA (Hons): Life in Ruhleben Camp: Edwardian Britain in Microcosm
15.45: Thomas Debaere, BA (Hons): Requiem: Foulds, Beaverbrook and a ‘British’ Festival of Remembrance
16.15: Dr Kathleen McIlvenna: Communities, Government and Heritage: The Centenary of the First World War and Public
As part of UNESCO Nottingham City of Literature, award-winning British writer Pat Barker will be appearing at Nottingham Playhouse on Wednesday 15 June.
Barker is one of the leading novelists of the First World War. She was awarded the Booker Prize for The Ghost Road (1995), the final novel in her much acclaimed World War I Regeneration Trilogy.
Noon Day, the third novel in her Life Class trilogy, which spans the First and Second World Wars, was published in 2015 and she is working on a new novel.
Pat Barker is renowned for her imaginative exploration of war and has regenerated interest in historical figures including the army psychiatrist W.H.R Rivers and artist-surgeon Dr Henry Tonks, as well as war artists in both world wars. As we mark the centenary of the First World War, Barker’s writing has particular and contemporary resonance.
Barker’s novels have been adapted for the stage and filmed in the US and the UK. They are studied in schools and enjoyed by readers across the generations.
Pat Barker will be in conversation with Sharon Monteith, Professor of American Studies at the University of Nottingham, who has followed Barker’s work since the 1980s and written about it since the 1990s. She published Pat Barker (Northcote House and the British Council, 2002), the first critical study of the writer, and co-edited Critical Perspectives on Pat Barker (2005).
The Centre for Hidden Histories is proud to announce a two day Conference and Community Showcase, entitled Beyond the Western Front: The Global First World War to take place at the Albert Hall Conference Centre, Nottingham, 1st and 2nd July 2016
Through a combination of academic papers, workshops and creative performances, this free conference will examine different understandings of the war and seek to provide a broader cosmopolitan context in which to place the British First World War orthodoxy. We seek representation from a variety of national, faith and other emerging communities whose histories are rarely considered, and for whom the traditional Armistice Day celebrations may have strikingly different meanings.
The existence of a First World War beyond the Western Front is a critical element of the Centre’s thematic interest and the conference would be intended to examine this in an open and discursive manner. We are actively seeking contributions from community groups and academic researchers.
It is hoped that the debates at the event will prompt further research and collaboration between academics and communities. Where possible, prompts to the AHRC Connected Communities, Care for the Future and Global Uncertainties themes will be made.
The conference will explore four major themes:
The Lives of ‘Others’
We are looking for contributions that examine the experiences of those whose war was fought outside the western trenches; at home and around the world. This embraces not only the combatant roles of Asian and African troops in European and non-European theatres but also the important contribution of labour. All the combatants enlisted labour for the myriad heavy duties to supply and maintain front lines. There are few monuments to labourers. The Great War was also a global war at sea, and a large number of merchant seamen were non-Europeans.
The War as Global Revolution The war was one of the most significant moments of change in recent history. We want to examine the global impact of these changes, in the destruction of old orders, the raising of new ones and in the development of new ways of living. This raises the question of periodisation e.g. the ‘1914-18 war’ so often projected; or, in the language of the UK Allied Victory medal ‘The Great War for Civilisation 1914-1919’; but what of the perspective from other parts of the world, eg. Turkey – should it be 1911 to the Treaty of Lausanne 1923? What is rather obvious is that the Great War did not end with the ‘Armistice’ or with the Paris treaties, but turned to revolution with sustained violence and destruction on a large scale across a large part of the world.
We Are Making a New World: The lives of those who survived In remembering the fallen, did we forget the even greater numbers who came home? We are interested in proposals that will examine the challenges faced by the men, women and children who lived into the peace. There were not many ‘memorials’ for those who survived the war, but there were memories and psychological damage on a large scale.
Different Memorial Cultures With the war now lost to living memory, cultures of remembrance are the primary methods by which people engage with it. We are looking for contributions that illuminate and explore the very different cultures of remembrance across national, ethnic and social groups.
Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
The impact of defeat
The impact of victory
The questioning of religious belief as a result of war
From 1914 to When? The question of periodisation
‘Enemy aliens’ and the impact of war on minority communities
The concept of the refugee from 1914 to the present day
Migration and resettlement
The First World War and the founding of nation states
War and the growth of the power of the State
Total war and attempts to retreat from this in the early 1920s.
Postwar independence movements
The First World War and the creation of the modern Middle East
The impact of continuity on British national attitudes
The First World War in the twenty first century
Unknown Warriors: the creation of mass memorials
Memorial traditions in different cultures and territories
The changing heroic ideal
War and the changed roles and positions of women, and not just in the industrial states.
Influenza, a pandemic and the single largest demographic disaster of the 20th century. To what extent the flu was a result of the war?
We invite proposals for workshops, 20-minute papers, performances, or posters. Other creative responses or discussion and debate formats will also be considered.
We accept applications from individuals, community groups and academic researchers from any discipline, with an interest in relevant topics. The Centre would particularly welcome proposals that involve collaborations between community groups and academics.
Please send a brief description of no more than 300 words outlining the topic you wish to share and your preferred format of presentation.
It’s a familiar tale — an ancient family album filled with black and white photographs, yellowed and dog-eared with age, the faces of young men and women in uniform gazing proudly from the pages.
The problem is the only people who knew them in life have long since passed away, often taking the many stories of these brave ancestors to their grave.
Now, The University of Nottingham is to offer a helping hand to people interested in finding out more about the part their family may have played in the First World War at a free community open day later this month.
Hidden Histories — First World War Family History Day will take place on University Park campus on Tuesday July 21 and will feature a range of speakers who will share their expertise and offer beginners tips and advice on how to make the best start in researching their past.
Keynote speakers for the day include:
A representative from the Imperial War Museum who will talk about the museum’s Lives of the First World War — an online resource which offers the opportunity to commemorate service men and women through a mix of official records, photographs and personal testaments
Anne-Marie Kramer, a lecturer in The University of Nottingham’s School of Sociology and Social Policy, who will speak about the development and use of family history
Professor Kurt Barling who will offer insight into the Middlesex Family History Project, which is seeking family stories and photographs of those who served in the Middlesex Regiment from their descendants
The Hidden Histories — First World War Family History Day takes place on Tuesday July 21 from 9.30am to 4.30pm in the Department of History, Lenton Grove and the Digital Humanities Centre on University Park Campus. A buffet lunch is included in the day.
The event is completely free but it is essential that those interested in attending register online beforehand.