Impact: Centre for Hidden Histories Exhibition, ‘Beyond the Western Front: Oxfordshire in the First World War’

Dr Tudor Georgescu installing exhibition.
Dr Tudor Georgescu and Simon Wilson installing the exhibition (photograph by Tom Killick).

Dr Tudor Georgescu’s Centre for Hidden Histories exhibition, ‘Beyond the Western Front: Oxfordshire in the First World War’ is currently being displayed at The Glass Tank, Oxford Brooks (18 November – 16 December 2016). This exhibition is an exploration of the First World War involvement of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry battalion and the Queens Own Oxfordshire in military actions in Ireland, Italy, the Balkans, the Middle East and Russia. Coalescing with the participatory ethos of the AHRC First World War Engagement Centres, the exhibition is the result of research conducted by fourteen local people, museum volunteers and Oxford Brookes students.  These project participants are: Jeff Clements, Jane Cotter, Louisa Fagan, Jim Grundy, Peter Johnston, Shelia King, Mark McKay, Jean Mills, Kevin Northover, Paul Otter, John Sheldon, Kathleen Tunnicliffe, Steve Warner and Janet Witcomb.

Stereoscopic image
Stereoscopic WWI image (3D anaglyph conversion by Simon Wilson).

Particularly innovative is the exhibition’s use of Stereoscopic pictures from the front line, many of which were published in a 1923 Keystone set. These images can be viewed through 3D glasses available at the exhibition. ‘Beyond the Western Front’ has also been accompanied by a lively programme of public events. These have included an exhibition launch on 18 November, a visit by the Barton Brownie troop on 22 November and the book launch of Poppy (2016),  Andrew Lack’s exploration of the symbolic meaning of this flower (25 November). Educational events have continued with research seminars by Professor Mark Harrison (29 November 2016) and Dr Marius Turda (06 December 2016) as well as a school group visit by 50 pupils and 6 staff visiting from France as part of a Poetry Centre project on 13 December 2016.

Here are just some visitor responses to the exhibition:

“The first-hand accounts and the photography made it seem much more real to me.”

“I can feel the experiences of the soldiers, rather than just know they happened.”

“Nice to see personal stories, and some info’ about foreign soldiers.”

“Would have loved to look through the scrapbooks but realise how precious they are.”

“It was amazing, fantastic work! Thank you!”

Audience participant at Glass Tank exhibit
Visitor at the ‘Beyond the Western Front’ exhibition.


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