On 15 and 16 April 2015, Newcastle University hosted two very successful events showcasing First World War research, which were attended by over 70 people across the two days. The events were presented in association with Living Legacies and the AHRC, and were both generously supported by the McCord Centre for Historic and Cultural Landscape at Newcastle University, alongside the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal and the Newcastle Humanities Research Institute.
The first of the two events, on Wednesday 15 April, was a First World War Postgraduate Symposium, at which postgraduate researchers from 9 institutions across the UK presented their research on the First World War and its legacies. The speakers covered a wide range of fascinating topics, from literary and artistic responses to the First World War to the role of women in both war and pacifism, and from military technologies and empire to activities on the home front. The final programme for the event can be found here.
The second event, which took place on Thursday 16 April, was entitled ‘Connecting Communities Through Researching First World War Heritage’, and brought together community and academic researchers working on projects during the First World War centenary commemorations in the North East of England. The projects showcased at the event approached the war from a range of different perspectives, and through a variety of different methods. These included the artistic and creative responses of Applied Comics Etc. (Newcastle University), Wor War (YMCA North Tyneside), Wor Women on the Home Front (Tyneside Women’s Health & Curiosity Creative), and Decoded 1914-18 (Newcastle Institute for Creative Arts Practice and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums). Alongside these, several projects focused on using digital technologies to either map the impact of the First World War on the region, to digitize and preserve archival materials, to investigate and record the lives of those featured on local war memorials, and to preserve the memorials themselves. These projects included: Durham at War (Durham County Council & Record Office); Tynemouth World War One Commemoration Project; Northumberland at War (Northumberland Archives); The Universities at War and the Armstrong Memory Book (Dr Jane Webster of Newcastle University); and CARE of War Memorials in North East England (Dr Myra Giesen of Newcastle University). In addition to detailed and informative presentations from representatives of these projects, the event also featured a presentation from Dr Keith Lilley and Dr Paul Ell, PI and Co-I of Living Legacies at Queen’s University Belfast, as well as a stimulating keynote on non-invasive landscape archaeology of the First World War in Flanders from Professor Veerle van Eetvelde of the University of Ghent. The event concluded with a lively roundtable discussion in which community and academic researchers developed initial plans for future collaborations. The final programme for this event is available here.