Call for Papers: Beyond the Western Front -The Global First World War

Call for Papers: Beyond the Western Front -The Global First World War

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

Two young Belgian girls greet their father outside their home on his return from work, as their mother looks on from the doorway. Birtley-Elisabethville, Co. Durham, 1918. IWM Q 27746
Two young Belgian girls greet their father outside their home on his return from work, as their mother looks on from the doorway. Birtley-Elisabethville, Co. Durham, 1918. IWM Q 27746

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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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?

Format

We invite proposals for workshops, 20-minute papers, performances, or posters. Other creative responses or discussion and debate formats will also be considered.

Persian man posing for a photograph. Note a truck with British troops in the background. The Service of the 9th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment in the Persian Campaign, 1918. IWM Q 73032
Persian man posing for a photograph. Note a truck with British troops in the background. The Service of the 9th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment in the Persian Campaign, 1918. IWM Q 73032

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.

Submissions should be made to hiddenhistories@nottingham.ac.uk by 29th January 2016.

Informal enquiries welcome.

 

Free Event: Family History at the University of Nottingham

FHDIt’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
  • East Midlands Oral History Archive, which has been gathering oral histories of the home front in Leicestershire and Rutland during the First World War
  • Nottinghamshire Archives, home to the World War I: Nottinghamshire Memorials Project, a resource commemorating local soldiers who fought and died in ‘Flanders Fields’.

The event will also feature exhibitions from the University’s Manuscripts and Special Collections department and Laxton History Project.

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.

Remembering the Chilwell Munitions Explosion

Munitions workers at Chilwell
Munitions workers at Chilwell

Some of you may recall our blogpost on the Chilwell munitions factory explosion. The disaster, which occurred 97 years ago this week, destroyed much of the No. 6 Filling Factory, which had been used for adding the volatile chemicals to shells prior to shipment to the frontline. 134 people were killed and a further 250 injured and the blast could be felt as far away as West Bridgford.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the disaster, and hearing some of the recorded testimonies of people who remember it, you may be interested in a series of events organised by Excavate Community Theatre.

This weekend (4th and 5th July), an exhibition will be held in Beeston Town Square, with photographs and audio interviews from relatives of those who worked at the factory. A new play about the disaster will also be performed at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on the Saturday and 12pm and 2pm on the Sunday.

On Sunday, from 10am to 2pm, Chetwynd Barracks, which lies on the site of the factory, will be open to allow people to visit the memorial on the site and to see a small exhibition.Pedestrian entry will be from Chetwynd Road; vehicular entry from Swiney Way where photographic ID will be needed.

A series of related events will also be held at the White Lion pub in Beeston. On Saturday night, an evening of First World War storytelling will begin at 7.30pm (tickets £6 on the door, or £5 advance from the pub). On Sunday, the pub will hold a screening of the BBC film The Killing Factories,  with an introduction from the director Tony Roe. This will start at 7pm and will be free of charge.

The project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Broxtowe Borough Council.

Chilwell2For more information, please visit excavate.org.uk

Heritage training in Derbyshire

record_office_logo_final_purpleThe Derbyshire Record Office is offering a series of training sessions that are aimed at community heritage groups looking to commemorate the anniversary of the First World War. However, they are open to anyone who is interested. The sessions will be half days based at the Record Office in Matlock. They cost £3 per person, not including refreshment. If you wish to sign up for any of the training sessions, please phone the Record Office on 01629 538 347.

Details of the individual sessions are below:

A Guide to Copyright

12th March, morning, 10.00 – 12.30
21st April, afternoon, 1.30 – 4.00

Paul Beattie, Archivist, Derbyshire Record Office

Paul is the longest serving Archivist in the Record Office with 15 years’ experience. He has an extensive knowledge of the collections and understanding of the legislation surrounding them, particularly the new orphan works copyright legislation.

The Copyright session will be aimed at helping you understand more about the recent changes in copyright regulations and where that leaves heritage and community groups who wish to publish images and articles, or anything else which may be under copyright. What can you do? What can’t you do? What is right and what is copyright?

A Guide to Digitising your Images

12th March, afternoon, 1.30 – 4.00
21st April, morning, 10.00 – 12.30

Nick Tomlinson, Picture the Past

Nick has a commercial background in computing, data handling and image digitisation. He has been at Picture the Past for 13 years, managing the creation of the project and overseeing the inclusion of over 114,000 searchable images to its database.

This session will provide a simple guide to what to aim for when considering scanning your images. It will include file types, resolution, output sizes and suggested scanner settings. Come and find out the best way to digitise your images to suit your purpose.

Researching WW1

25th March, morning 10.00 – 12.30
27th May, morning 10.00 – 12.30

Karen Millhouse, Archivist, Derbyshire Record Office

Karen has six years’ experience as an Archivist at the Record Office, having previously served as Assistant Curator, Maritime Collections at the Maritime Museum, Liverpool.

The Research session will help you to find the information you want. It will give guidance on where to find and how to use historic records. There may be documents and sources that you have not thought about, or were not aware of. The session will help you find the information most relevant to your needs.

Exhibitions & Preservation

15th April, (2 courses)
Morning 9.30 – 12.45
Afternoon 1.15 – 4.30

Karen Millhouse, Archivist, Clare Mosley, Assistant Conservator, Lien Gyles, Senior Conservator, Derbyshire Record Office;

Karen is responsible for the Record Office community outreach programme and the collection displays in the exhibition cases at the Record Office.

Clare has six years’ experience at the Record Office and has a foot in both exhibition and conservation camps. Clare has helped Karen arrange many displays of the Record Office collections over the last two years, but her main role is as Assistant Conservator.

Lien has twenty years’ experience as an archive conservator and is responsible for the preservation of the collections at the Record Office.

The combined Exhibition and Preservation session will give you ideas for how to present an interesting and informative display based upon your photos and ephemera and will explain how to ensure that they will still be around for the bi-centenary. It will show how to make the best out of possibly limited material and resources to create an attractive and interesting display. The preservation training will ensure that you know the best way to handle and display historic items so that they do not suffer inadvertent damage. What might be harmful to the artefacts you have and what should you do to help preserve them for future generations? Find out at this informal, hands-on workshop.

Oral History

18th May 9.30 – 12.45 & 1.15 – 4.30

Colin Hyde, East Midlands Oral History Archive Outreach Officer, University of Leicester

The East Midlands Oral History Archive is recognised as a leader in the subject of oral history. Colin’s involvement with oral history goes back to the original Leicester Oral History Archive which was set up in 1983. Colin advises on all aspects of oral history work. He has worked with many community organisations in Leicestershire & Rutland, giving talks, training sessions, retrieving existing oral history recordings, and encouraging and supporting new work.

The session will provide you with the skills and information you need to undertake your own oral history project within your community. What equipment do you need? What questions do you need to ask? What should you do with your recordings.

Applying for HLF ‘First World War: then and now’ funding

30th March, morning, 10.00 – 12.30
8th April, morning, 10.00 – 12.30

Glynn Wilton, Derbyshire Lives Through the First World War, Project Officer

Glynn is employed by Derbyshire Record Office to help community groups commemorate the anniversary of the First World War, from the creation of a project idea, to the application for funding.

Glynn has 30 years’ experience of working in museums, interpreting collections, creating exhibitions and applying for funding. The session will help ensure that you meet the outcomes required for a successful project, it will give you the skills to develop your idea and complete a funding application.

 

Mutinies and Death Sentences in the Foresters, 1914-18

Foresters
The Sherwood Foresters, pictured here in 1916

Now this looks like an interesting project. The Nottingham Radical History Group have used their long-standing experience of investigating and remembering radical moments from history to examine the cases of the 103 Sherwood Foresters who were sentenced to death or sentenced on mutiny charges during the First World War.

The project was deliberately chosen because of the high profile nature of the centenary. The group’s researchers soon realised the scale of their task and that their investigations would require them to familiarise themselves with the often arcane legal and organisational landscape of the military.

They have documented their approach in a brilliantly detailed initial pamphlet, which covers their work and the pattern of their investigations. It’s a fascinating example of the historical process and is written in an engaging and, at times, necessarily angry manner with footnotes that are as lively as they are informative.

The second in the series of pamphlets is also available. This begins the case study approach that the group has selected and focuses on the story of Private W. Harvey, who was sentenced to death for desertion in February 2015 (a sentence later commuted to two years’ hard labour).

As with the best works of history, this core story expands to examine the situation and context that surrounds it. Consequently, the pamphlet includes material on the lives that the soldiers left behind when they went to war and the experiences that the regiment offered once they had done so.

More information, and copies of both pamphlets, can be found on the People’s Histreh site