IPUP researchers have been undertaking research into how the First World War is commemorated in York and Yorkshire.
On 13 June 2015, IPUP and the York Castle Museum collaborated to engage with the public to consider the legacy of the First World War.
After 100 years, what legacy has the First World War left us and are we commemorating the right things about this historical event?
This issue was explored through an open discussion between a public audience and a panel of representatives from local museums and the University of York postgraduate community.
The panel, chaired by Daniel Johnson (University of York), included Major Graeme Green (York Army Museum), Alison Bodley (York Castle Museum), Philip Newton (York Castle Museum), Alexander Bowmer (University of York) and Michael Whelpley (University of York).
The lively and interactive discussion considered how commemoration of the war has changed over the last one hundred years, whether certain ‘hidden histories’ - of particular groups, innovations, or alternative legacies of the war – have been sidelined in these commemorations, and what the future of commemoration might be.
Audience members were asked to complete a short survey at the beginning and end of the event. Before the discussion, the majority felt that as a society we have commemorated the right things about the First World War, most commonly citing the massive loss of life as the primary reason for commemoration. After the debate, however, most participants stated that we have not commemorated the right things, and many suggested that more attention should be paid to the war as a social, cultural, and technological turning point.
In 2014, the York Castle Museum launched an exhibition funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which will remain open until the end of 2018, commemorating 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War.
World War One: When the World Changed Forever (York Castle Museum Exhibition)
This public history biographical project commemorates the members of the administrative and domestic staff of the University of London who fell during the First World War. They came from a diverse range of backgrounds, and fought in many different theatres of conflict overseas. Their names are listed alphabetically rather than by status or rank, regarding the equal sacrifice made by each man in giving his life during the Great War.
The project should be particularly significant during the centenary of the First World War, as public interest in the conflict is at a high point. It also highlights the recent interest in individual commemoration, as historical focus has arguably moved away from regimental and battle statistics, and towards the men who served in those regiments and battles.
Biographical information about the five personnel featured in this project can be found in the files below.
The 1807 Commemorated project analysed public debate and activity regarding the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade.
The project tried to identify and understand how 1807 was marked by different agencies and communities in Britain, and the consequences of this for the expression of national, local and community identity, and for the development of a range of social debates addressing multiculturalism and social inclusion.
See the 1807 Commemorated project website, which is hosted by the Instutute of Historical Research