Co-Ordinating Centres for Community Research & Engagement to Commemorate the Centenary of the First World War
In response to the above call, issued in May 2013, historians from the universities listed here have formed a consortium to bid for £500,000 to establish a Coordinating Centre at the University of Kent. If successful this will be one of between 5-7 regional hubs which will manage, in partnership with the HLF, community projects connected with the First World War centenary. The primary aims of the project are to build a dialogue between academic and public historical research, and to assist communities in exploring their heritage.
The Centres will operate in co-operation with other major project partners in the heritage sector such as museums and archives. This will be done by a range of activities including:
- A website to coordinate and inform the Centre’s network
- Open lectures, seminars and conferences on war-related subjects
- Family history workshops
- Tours of archives and relevant collections
- Information events and open days
- Self-tour guides to the battlefields and significant war-related locations
- Visits to schools, colleges and community centres
- Providing advice on further bids to the HL
The proposed centre will be led by Professor Mark Connelly at the University of Kent who will be supported by four Co-Investigators who are all established experts in the field of First World War history. The decision will be announced: October 2013 and if successful, phase one will run from 1st January 2014 – 31st December 2016.
Mark would welcome any letters of support for this application. Please contact him directly on: M.L.Connelly@kent.ac.uk.
Gill Bromley, Service Improvement Manager (Community Cohesion and Heritage) manages the KCC History Services teams based at the Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone. Her wider job role is to lead and co-ordinate the development of service provision to support community cohesion across Libraries and Archives, with a particular focus on services to customers excluded by such barriers as language, disability and social isolation; and on utilising heritage collections to support community cohesion and social inclusion. The heritage collection include archives housed at the Kent History and Library Centre, local history collection is libraries and museum collections at Sevenoaks and Folkestone libraries
Rob Illingworth, Service Development Librarian (Local History) works across the county developing and maintaining a high quality, customer-focused library and archive service with particular focus on local history services.
Gill and Rob represent Libraries, Registration and Archives at KMMP/Frontline Kent FWW meetings.
The wider Community Cohesion and Heritage team includes some other key posts which will be involved in FWW commemorative work:
History Services Development Manager; Anne Atkinson‘s role is to lead the History Services Development Team in developing and delivering widely accessible services which fully exploit the power of the historic collections in our care to impact positively on people’s lives. Anne is currently developing an on-line Kent Community History Network which will go live autumn 2013. This will link heritage organisations and interest groups from museums to stately homes to local history societies and enable them to share resources including expertise, promote their work, and to identify opportunities to work together.
Historic Collections Manager; Sarah Stanley‘s role is to lead and manage on all aspects of the care of the county council’s archive, local history and museum collections including preservation, conservation and reprographics (microfilm and digitisation) programmes. Her team actively supports and advises history groups and organisations in the county to care for and provide access to their historic collections.
Conservator (post vacant) responsible for the immediate and long-term care of the collections; provide advice on environment, storage and handling, and undertake treatment of material across Library and Archives historic collections. Our studio at Kent History and Library Centre will be shared with heritage organisations to enable them yto develop skills and undertake conservation work.
Community History Officer; Mark Bateson, works in the community and with community partners to support heritage projects. Working with colleagues to promote KCC’s archive and local history collections to local groups, making more material and information from the collections available locally to improve community cohesion, literacy and learning
We are a small team with countywide responsibilities but can advise on archives and local history. The First World War is a top priority in relation to our work in 2013-14 and beyond. We will use the theme as a focus to develop and promote our rich collections to reach new audiences. We will also work with and support heritage organisations and community groups.
If you would like to find out more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I recently received an email from Jo Dyer, Artistic Director for Animate Arts Company. Jo writes:
“I run a participatory arts company called Animate Arts Company. As a group of professional artists, performers and makers, who work all over Kent, and have a joint vision to place creativity in the heart of local communities. We’ve been running for over 11 years now, and have produced and delivered a wide range of projects on a variety of scales. If you fancy having a look at some of our work, we have a growing portfolio on our website www.animatecommunityarts.com.
However, I wanted to share with you specifically a recent commission which was funded by The Happy Museum and The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge in Canterbury. Responding to the history of the building (Dr. Beaney funded the building to be built in Victorian times and started his medical career as an apprentice in an apothecary), we created a life-size apothecary entirely out of paper and card. It was sited within The Beaney and invited museum visitors to engage with the installation, and meet the resident Chemists. Every visitor was prescribed a cultural treatment – a medicine designed to make you feel happy. Treatments connected the ‘patients’ to collections and artworks, and sample the building differently in and around The Beaney, with a view that the treatment would stimulate well-being. We worked alot around the New Economics Foundation paper on ‘5 ways to well-being’ developing this work.
Here you can see a short film about the Apothecary, to give you a better sense of the experience.
I wanted to introduce myself and our company to you, as we are starting to develop and consider ideas for other museums, and also for the First World War centenary. If you feel that our work may be of any interest to you, or may be able to link to your programming, I would be delighted to meet up and chat further. It would also be good to hear more about your work.
The Paper Apothecary project has actually been nominated for an award by The Collections Trust, shortlisted under ‘Best Participatory Practice Award’. We wish Animate Arts and The Beaney the best of luck at the Awards Ceremony on Tuesday 2nd July.
If this has inspired you to include a creative response to your FWW commemorations, then get in touch with Jo and the team at, email@example.com.
Since the Government announced their plans for the 1914-18 centenary, things have been hotting up at the IWM’s http://www.1914.org website.
A new project has just been started by Exeter Uni to ask English and History teachers what they think about the First War and how it is taught– if you are a teacher, on know someone who is please take time to fill in the survey at: http://ww1intheclassroom.exeter.ac.uk/ it will hopefully bring up some interesting results!
Also on the IWM site are a number of interesting podcasts http://www.1914.org/podcasts/ and the partnership side of the site has release a WW1 reading list http://members.1914.org/2013/05/30/first-world-war-reading-list/ .
Outside of IWM the Government have launched their own centenary website https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/first-world-war-centenary where all ‘official’ announcements will be posted.
If you are not already signed up as a partner on the official Imperial War Museum’s 1914.org website, then we recommend you do so! You get access to a community of over 1,140 organisations who are now signed up across the country, as well as use of free resources, and access to use the official IWM 1914 partnership logo on all your related activities.
The British Government has announced their WW1 Centenary Events. See the BBC article on it here:
- Candlelit vigil at Westminster Abbey will start First World War centenary events (standard.co.uk)
- Candlelit vigil to mark centenary of outbreak of WW1 (itv.com)
- First world war centenary events will be ‘respectful and useful’ – The Guardian (guardian.co.uk)
- World War One centenary plans unveiled (itv.com)
- Great War centenary events unveiled (standard.co.uk)
We would like to find out a bit more about your plans so that we can plot things on our shared planning calendar (www.fwwkentmedway.wordpress.com/calendar). We have created an online form that we hope will capture all this information. From the information you provide, we will compile the calendar which we can be shared with everyone.
To access the form, please follow this link.
This way, we can identify if there are any overlaps or duplications in times and venues – we want to make sure we provide a joined up complementary offer!
Don’t forget to keep checking this blog for information, meeting dates and various other details and opportunities.
If you would like to attend this meeting, please contact Rob Illingworth on: Robert.Illingworth@kent.gov.uk.
Research Working Group – Wednesday 5th June 2013, 10.30-11.30am
Kent History & Library Centre, James Whatman Way, Maidstone, ME14 1LQ
1. Kent & Medway timeline
A volunteer at the Kent History & Library Centre has begun working on an excel spreadsheet timeline (see attached). She is drawing from a wide range of sources, some authoritative, some less so. As an indicator of the coverage of the timeline across the districts in Kent & Medway, she is noting down place names relevant to the entries in a separate column.
What do the working group think of this format? (See demo spreadsheet here)
- Potential to create both full & edited versions of the timeline?
- Potential to use the Kent Libraries Registration & Archives website as a platform for the timeline TBC.
- Discuss with the KLR&A Information Services and Digital Inclusion team.
- Potential to host the timeline on First World War Centenary Plans in Kent & Medway? https://fwwkentmedway.wordpress.com/
- Potential for customer/volunteer involvement in timeline content creation?
- Potential to include examples of relevant local “personal heritage” stories within the timeline?
– Decision on format of timeline agreed
– Decision on where the timeline will be hosted
– Decision on who will contribute to timeline and how
– Identified themes/areas of research for timeline (eg. Coastal defence, civilians, naval etc) and who will research what for addition to timeline.
2. National timeline
Who has already signed up to the IWM’s Centenary Partnership programme (http://www.1914.org/partners/) and who has access to their national timeline? Should this information be added to the above time?
– Decision made on whether this information will be added to local timeline
– Person identified to carry out this work.
4. Date & Venue of next meeting
On Wednesday 22nd May, I attended the second meeting of ‘Frontline Kent and the Spitfire Coast’, a group that had come together around the same time as we held the big networking meeting in March.
The Frontline Kent group formed to look at all areas of Kent’s frontline and defense heritage, of which FWW plays an important part. The group consists of members such as Visit Kent, Kent County Council, the KM Group, War & Peace Revival, the Royal British Legion, to name a few.
It was a good meeting (read the minutes here) and there were very many cross-overs and similarities to the discussions we had in March. I suggested that our two groups unite to form a ‘super group’. This was agreed to by all members of Frontline Kent, and so I would like to welcome everyone to the new, bigger and better group, simply titled ‘Frontline Kent’ – its aim:
To share knowledge, information, skills and learning, and to capture and create a joint events calendar that displays all activities throughout 2014-19 (not just FWW commemorations).
Members of the Frontline Kent group will be joining the planned Steering Group meeting on 5th July to meet some of our members; this will be the fist joint meeting of the new combined group, and hopefully, the first of many useful partnerships.
On May 15th, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) launched its ‘First World War: then and now’ funding strand; a £6 million small grants programme to help communities mark the Centenary of the First World War.
HLF is making at least £1 million available per year for six years until 2019. It will provide grants between £3,000 and £10,000 enabling communities and groups right across the UK to explore, conserve and share their First World War heritage and deepen their understanding of the impact of the conflict.
At the launch in the House of Commons, Culture Secretary of State Maria Miller, said: “It is completely right that we mark the Centenary of the First World War with a national programme capturing our national spirit and saying something about who we are as a people. But what we do also needs to help create an enduring cultural and educational legacy for communities. The HLF grant programme announced today will play a big part in this, and builds on the substantial investment they have already made towards the Centenary.”
Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of HLF, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund’s new programme will enable communities to explore the continuing legacy of this war and help young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”
Successful projects will include:
• researching, identifying and recording local heritage
• creating a community archive or collection
• developing new interpretation through exhibitions, trails, smartphone apps etc
• researching, writing and performing creative material based on heritage sources
The new programme can also provide funding for the conservation of war memorials. HLF has already invested £12 million in projects – large and small – that will mark the Centenary of First World War. If a group have a project idea to mark the Centenary of the First World War, an online application pack is available by clicking on: First World War: then and now page. If a group needs a grant of more than £10,000 for a First World War project, it can apply to HLF through its open programmes.
On Friday 10th May, many people from around Kent & Medway came together at Maidstone Museum for the first sub-working group for Education.
There are lots of exciting ideas and plans forming; to read the full minutes, click here.
Amber Cottee, Deputy Curator (Education & Events) from the Royal Engineers Museum, is leading this group. If you would like to attend the next meeting (date TBC), please contact Amber on: firstname.lastname@example.org.