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New centre launched to support World War One community research projects

Date: 30/05/2014

The University of Kent has launched one of five new national Engagement Centres being established to support community World War One (WW1) research projects. Kent's Professor Mark Connelly, one of the UK's leading experts on WW1, is heading the new Engagement Centre at the University, known as Gateways to the First World War.

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in conjunction with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Centres will connect academic and public histories of WW1 as part of the commemoration of the war's centenary, which begins this year. Kent's Centre - along with those hosted by the universities of Birmingham, Hertfordshire , Nottingham and Queen's University Belfast, will provide UK-wide support for community groups funded by a range of HLF programmes, particularly its new £6m 'First World War: Then and Now' community grants scheme.

The Centres also form part of the First World War Centenary Partnership, led by the Imperial War Museums, and will complement other AHRC activities, including the BBC's World War One at Home project.

Professor Connelly, of the University's School of History, said: What is particularly exciting about establishing Gateways to the First World War here at Kent is the fact that it will enable researchers at the University to have the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues in our partner institutions and those in the community who have public histories to share.
We are the only Centre being established across a wide area of the south and east of Britain so I'm sure there will be a rich seam of community history to unearth and celebrate.

The First World War was a conflict that continues to grip the imagination of generation after generation and its centenary provides a major opportunity for historians to reflect on its impact in a way that engages the public.

Kent's Gateway to the First World War Engagement Centre includes a dedicated web portal featuring archive material, including many photographs expected to be published for the first time.

Professor Connelly, Professor of Modern British History, is one of three historians from Kent selected to participate in the BBC's World War One at Home project. The others are Professor Ian Becket and Dr Timothy Bowman.

For further information, please go to the AHRC's WW1 webpages.

Notes to editors

  • For further information from the AHRC, please contact Danielle Moore-Chick on 01793 41 6021 or d.moore-chick@ahrc.ac.uk

  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. www.ahrc.ac.uk


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