The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has announced that it is continuing funding for the five First World War Engagement Centres set up as part of the nation’s commemoration of the Centenary of the conflict.
This new funding for the second phase of the Centres will total £2million over the next three years. The programme is part of an ongoing partnership between the AHRC and Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Since their establishment in 2014 the five Engagement Centres, each linked to a consortium of Universities including one at Queen's University Belfast, have collaborated with hundreds of community groups across the country and provided support to over 150 HLF-funded First World War community projects.
Continued AHRC funding means the Centres will be able to support academic researchers to work with an even greater range of community groups and HLF-funded projects over the next three years.
Professor Keith Lilley, Director of the 'Living Legacies 1914-18' centre, said: “I am pleased that the support for the centres is being continued. Living Legacies 1914-1918 connects academic and public histories, and continues to explore the enduring impact of the conflict and First World War heritage.”
Professor Andrew Thompson, Chief Executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, said: “The Centres have demonstrated that collaboration between communities and academic researchers can generate fresh and important insights on the history of the First World War as well as on its heritage and legacy for diverse communities across the UK today. I am delighted that the AHRC will be continuing to support the First World War Engagement centres for the remainder of the Centenary, extending its partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund."
The five Centres are:
- Living Legacies 1914-1918 at Queen’s University Belfast
- Voices of War and Peace at the University of Birmingham
- Gateways to the First World War at the University of Kent
- Everyday Lives in War at the University of Hertfordshire
- Centre for Hidden Histories at the University of Nottingham
Four of the Centres are receiving funding for a further three years until the end of 2019. The fifth, the Centre for Hidden Histories at the University of Nottingham, has been extended until the end of 2017 while a review is undertaken of how to enhance support further for the important agendas covered by the Centre.
The funding just announced will not only support the continuation of the Centres, but also a number of linked supplementary activities. These include a new cluster of almost 30 community/academic co-produced research projects on the War which will start this year following a call issued by the five Centres.
Other activities that will be led by the Centres include a series of showcase events in 2017-2018, a Legacies of War and Peace Community Festival in 2019, networking for early career researchers interested in the First World War, and work to explore learning about the role of community performance-based approaches in the Centenary commemorations.