The Centre for Hidden Histories and Excavate Community Theatre are proud to present In Flux, a performance piece that examines the history of borders in the Middle East and the implications of their continuing collapse on those who live in the region and those who are fleeing from the wars that have been unleashed there.
In Flux interweaves three monologues – the history of the secretive Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 which led to the creation of Iraq and was a key influence on the current map of the Middle East; the story of a woman whose sisters all live in Kurdistan and yet find themselves in four different countries; and a young man’s account of how he escaped the war in Syria to travel, via the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean ocean, to Nottingham.
The first public performance will take place at Nottingham Playhouse on Saturday 8th April at 8pm. The event is free but booking is essential.
With projections, live music and performers from England, Bakur, Syria and Iran this should be a provocative and enlightening evening.
There will be a collection after the performance for the Red Cross Tuesday Night Group who provide free English classes and activities to those who have just arrived in the city.
2016 sees the centenary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, the secret agreement by which the Entente powers, chiefly Britain and France, organised their intentions for the Middle East once the Ottoman Empire fell.
It was a significant moment in international relations and the development of the postwar system and is of particular interest at the moment, not just because of the centenary, but also the huge ramifications that it has had on the present day, in the Middle East and beyond.
The Centre intends to use the moment of the centenary to explore and discuss Sykes-Picot, the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the long term impact of the First World War on a region that isn’t always associated with that conflict in the wider public imagination.
The Centre’s first public activities will take place in York on the 26th April. There are three linked events taking place, you can book for all three, or for each one individually.
The morning workshop will draw on the King’s Book of York Heroesand local research current, recent and future, focusing on the Middle East. The afternoon will lead on from this to more general discussions of World War One and the Middle East, including Yorkshire’s involvement and implications for today. Famous Yorkies such as Sir Mark Sykes, Gertrude Bell, and even Lawrence of Arabia and Bridlington will attend. ISIS will no doubt be mentioned!
There will be exhibitions throughout the day, along with lots of sources familiar and unfamiliar. We hope the day will generate enthusiasm and interest to follow up these ideas so it has a lasting legacy.
Details are still being confirmed, and may well be changed. Draft programmes are below.
9am: set up exhibits
9.30-10.30: Coffee & Registration: Network and view exhibits
10.30-12.30 (with break): Introduction: Themes of today and of the BABITME conference
The King’s Book of York Heroes.
What is it?
What has been done with it so far? Research from Fulford, Bishopthorpe, Copmanthorpe
What remains to be done? Digitisaton? A digital database? Linking with other data sources?
12.30: Lunch (free if booked). Network and view exhibits
1.30-5.30 (with breaks): Several themes such as the following
Middle East and the decline of the Ottoman Empire, 1900-1920
What happened? Different perspectives (Ottoman, German, Russian, French)
Sykes-Picot (16 May 1916)
Yorkshire links with the Middle East
The East Riding Yeomanry in Egypt and Palestine
Gertrude Bell, Mark Sykes, Wass Reader (a Hull soldier writes home)
Possible future research.
Yorkshire Quakers, pacifism, and the Middle East
Presentations from the Rowntree Society (York)
Contribution from Cyril Pearce (world-renowned expert on the history of pacifism – see below)
Prospects and sources for future research
The evening lecture (7.30) relates to pacifism in World War One and is hosted by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society (details here). The speaker, Cyril Pearce, is world-renowned. Workshop attendees will be entitled to attend this lecture without charge.
All events are in central York. Morning and afternoon workshops are at Clements Hall, just 800 yards from York Railway station – turn right as you come out of the station, curve left and go over the bridge, cross in front of Micklegate Bar, then walk 200 yards along Nunnery Lane, turn right along Dale Street, and Clements Hall is at the end on your left. If you are parking, park in Nunnery Lane car park (fees apply).The evening event is in the Yorkshire Museum (see details below).
The entire day links with the themes of the “Borders and Beyond in the Middle East” (BABITME) conference in York in mid-June (details here). Those attending on 26 April will be entitled to free and reduced-fee tickets to BABITME (normal price £100).
We hope that you will decide to stay for the entire day on April 26th, but booking will be possible for each session separately.
Winston Churchill is indelibly associated with the Second World War, and with good reason. As Prime Minister of Britain from 1940-45, he took a leading role in the conflict. However, he also had significant role in the First World War and one that is rather less celebrated.
In 1914 Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty and took part in the debates and arguments that concerned British involvement. He was also a staunch advocate of the development of the tank, then still referred to as ‘landships’. However, he is perhaps better known (or more notorious) for his masterminding of the failed Dardanelles campaign and the Gallipoli landings, which were tragic disasters for the Allied cause.
Seeking to make amends for his failures, Churchill left the government and took a commission in the Army, serving as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Scots Fusiliers on the Western Front. He remained there until 1916 and, after winning the trust of new Prime Minister David Lloyd George, he returned to government, initially as Minister of Munitions.
After the war he was appointed Secretary of State for Air and War and attended peace talks in Paris in 1919 at which he warned of the dangers of Bolshevism. His opposition to the Soviet system remained with him even after he was forced to make common cause with the Soviet Union in the defeat of Hitler.
Artist Joy Pitts, whose work we covered in an earlier blog post, has started work on a piece to commemorate Churchill. The work, currently titled ‘Size 46’ will focus on Churchill’s very particular style.
The project has been made possible through collaboration with his preferred outfitters. Churchill was certainly a man of style, choosing Henry Poole & Co, the most famous Savile Row tailor to measure, cut, fit and sew his bespoke three-piece suits.
Turnbull & Asser of Jermyn Street were also favoured by Churchill, pattern cutting and crafting his shirts and spot silk bow ties. Later referring to Churchill simply as size 46 and designing his famous ‘siren suit’.
Our vision of Churchill today would certainly not be complete without the addition of a Homburg hat, first ordered by Churchill from Lock & Co Hatters at No. 6 St. James’s Street, London in 1911. Now the oldest hat shop in the world.
Henry Poole & Co, Turnbull & Asser and Lock & Co Hatters are proud to have been of service to Churchill and are delighted to supply their bespoke labels for inclusion in his portrait. The result will be a contemporary image of Britain’s greatest war leader, portrayed through dress and reflecting on quality couture craftsmanship.
Once assembled using thousands of dressmaker pins the portrait will be exhibited in London in 2016
For more details and to see the work develop, please follow Joy’s blog