World War One Engagement Centres

The Engagement Centres have supported a wide range of community engagement activities across the UK since 2014, connecting academic and public histories of the First World War as part of the commemoration of the War’s centenary, which begins this year.

A key focus of the five Engagement Centres is to provide UK-wide support for community groups funded through a range of Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funding programmes, via the ‘First World War: Then and Now’ community grants scheme (see related links).

Their support and expertise has enabled them to connect researchers from universities with communities, by disseminating their interests together.

World War One Engagement Centres - themes and areas of expertise

Each of the five Engagement Centres has a set of themes/areas of expertise on which they are able to provide support to communities across the UK thinking of undertaking commemorative activities relating to the centenary of the First World War. These themes are continually evolving during the course of the centenary in the light of interest from community groups.

Select an engagement centre from the list below to find out more:

  1. Voices of War and Peace - University of Birmingham
  2. Gateways to the First World War - University of Kent
  3. Everyday Lives in War - University of Hertfordshire
  4. Living Legacies - Queen's University Belfast
  5. The Centre for Hidden Histories - University of Nottingham

Voices of War and Peace

Voices of War and Peace logo

The University of Birmingham, in collaboration with Cardiff, Durham, Manchester Metropolitan, Newcastle, Birmingham City, Wolverhampton and Worcester universities.

The centre offers research support and guidance for community groups around the First World War in general and in particular around the following themes:

At Birmingham Museum
  • Belief and the Great War
  • Commemoration
  • Childhood
  • Cities at War
  • Gender and the Home Front.

For more information:

Enquiries about any of these outputs or topics can be sent to: voices@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

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Gateways to the First World War

Gateways to the First World War logo

University of Kent, in collaboration with (amongst others) Leeds, Brighton, Portsmouth Universities and Queen Mary, University of London

Gateways contains a range of expertise which can help you explore the following areas:

At Ashville College
  • Memorials, commemoration and memory
  • Life on the Home and Fighting Fronts
  • The medical history of the First World War
  • Wartime propaganda and popular culture
  • Maritime and naval history
  • Operational and military history.

For more information:

Enquiries can be sent to: gateways@kent.ac.uk.

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Everyday Lives in War

Everyday Lives in War logo

University of Hertfordshire, in collaboration with (amongst others) Universities of Central Lancashire, Lincoln, Exeter and Essex

How did war affect daily life between 1914 and 1918; what was the legacy of the conflict? This centre aims to encourage community research into questions such as these and has particular expertise in:

At a museum
  • First World War food and farming
  • Theatre and entertainment
  • Conscientious objection and military tribunals
  • Supernatural beliefs
  • Childhood
  • Family relationships
  • Cartoons, trench publications and popular culture.

For more information:

Watch this video (below) by Adam Jones-Lloyd, made for the Everyday Lives in War engagement centre in which Tony Dyer, a flight test engineer builds a replica First World War Sopwith Camel seat.

More films from the centre are available on their YouTube homepage.

The centre welcomes enquiries on its specific themes and on general First World War topics: firstworldwar@herts.ac.uk.

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Living Legacies 1914-18: From past conflict to shared future

Living Legacies 1914-18 logo

Queen’s University Belfast, in collaboration with (amongst others) Universities of Ulster, Newcastle and Wales and Goldsmiths College University of London

The ‘Living Legacies’ First World War Engagement Centre in Belfast explores the enduring impacts and legacies of the First World War and how it lives on in the twenty-first century.

The Centre is interested in helping communities to:

  • tell their stories and share these stories with others
  • rediscover the forgotten First World War heritage in our landscapes
  • find out why and where people moved as a result of the war
  • express stories about the conflict through drama and theatre.

It has particular expertise in the following areas:

  • Museums and exhibitions
  • Migration and 'moving lives'
  • Material cultures and archaeology
  • Digital technologies and digitisation
  • Performing arts.

For more information:

The centre particularly welcomes enquiries about developing collaborative projects, please contact: livinglegacies@qub.ac.uk.

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The Centre for Hidden Histories

The Centre for Hidden Histories logo

University of Nottingham in collaboration with (amongst others), Oxford Brookes, Manchester Metropolitan, Nottingham Trent and Derby Universities

The centre’s key thematic interests include:

At the Centre for Hidden Histories
  • Migration and displacement
  • The experience of ‘others’, from countries and regions within Europe, Asia and the Commonwealth
  • Impact and subsequent legacies of the war on diverse communities within Britain
  • Remembrance and commemoration
  • Identity and faith.

For more information:

The centre is particularly interested in developing commemorative projects with national, faith and other emerging communities whose histories are rarely considered. Please email HiddenHistories@nottingham.ac.uk. if you are interested in these themes or are looking for collaborative opportunities.

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