Updated News 3rd July 2018
Shell Shock Stories & Beyond
Are you a Community Researcher Engaging with Trauma Narratives as part of your First World War Centenary Project?

2018-07-03 # Shell shock stories - Shell_ShockProfessor Nigel Hunt and Dr Larissa Allwork at the University of Nottingham have been awarded AHRC funding to explore the extent to which the psychological condition of trauma has been integrated into community engagement with the First World War centenary. Trauma here is being incorporated broadly to encompass a range of responses to the 1914-1918 conflict. From shell shocked soldiers recovering in specialist hospitals to cases of 'barbed wire disease' in 'enemy alien' internment camps; and from post-1918 literary and poetic representations of trauma to the contemporary family historian dealing with issues of transferential trauma in the archive. As part of their project, Nigel and Larissa want to get in touch with any Heritage Lottery Funded and/or AHRC First World War Engagement Centre community history projects that are engaging with narratives of trauma as part of their research.

Over the course of the centenary, community partners have expressed an interest in examining the human impact of the war and have looked to the First World War Engagement Centres to support them in doing so. Several participants in engagement activities have remarked that any understanding of the events of the war is inadequate without comprehending its traumatic effects. The difference between historical and contemporary perspectives on mental and emotional trauma presents a challenge to community researchers as it requires an understanding of how such trauma was regarded, described and recorded in historical records. An additional challenge is presented by the emotional impact on the researcher who examines potentially disturbing and upsetting material. This challenge is often felt more keenly by researchers who investigate people with whom they have a direct connection, such as members of their family or community.

2018-07-03 # Shell shock stories - Dump_of_18_pounder_shell_casesNigel and Larissa's project is intended to equip community partners from across the First World War Engagement Centres with the skills and support to meet these challenges and to ensure that this crucial perspective on First World War history is not omitted from the programme. As part of their project, Nigel and Larissa will be holding a series of public workshops across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for community groups on the topic of war trauma, with specific reference to the First World War and its aftermath.

Nigel and Larissa are keen to get in contact with any Heritage Lottery Funded and/or AHRC First World War Engagement Centre community history projects that are engaging with issues of trauma as part of their research. This means that Nigel and Larissa are interested in community history projects that might include topics such as:

  • Autobiographical narratives by soldiers on the front line who suffered from shell shock.
  • Autobiographical narratives by civilians who suffered from shell shock.
  • Observations on shell shock by First World War era doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists.
  • Observations on shell shock in First World War era local and national newspapers.
  • Observations on reintegrating traumatised veterans into communities, both during and after WWI.
  • Literary representations of shell shock (eg. Rebecca West, Pat Barker etc.)
  • Poetic representations of shell shock (eg. Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen etc.)
    2018-07-03 # Shell shock stories - Siegfried_Sassoon_by_George_Charles_Beresford(1915)
    Siegfried Sassoon
  • Documentary film or television representations of shell shock (eg. 'War Neuroses' etc.)
  • Dramatic film or television representations of shell shock (eg. 'King and Country' etc.)
  • Encounters with trauma narratives through family history research (eg. discovered a relative with shell shock).
  • Encounters with 'Barbed Wire' disease as a result of research into the British 'enemy alien' internment camps.
  • Encounters with narratives of trauma associated with histories of migration and displacement

Nigel and Larissa would like to hear from Heritage Lottery Fund and/or First World War Engagement Centre researchers looking at these themes because they:

  • Want to understand how much community research is being done in relation to trauma and the First World War.
  • Aim to understand the needs of community researchers in relation to this subject area.
  • Desire to compile a list of groups who would be interested in a workshop on trauma and the First World War, to run in either autumn 2018 or spring 2019.

If you are engaged with narratives of trauma as part of your First World War centenary community research project, please contact: or on Twitter @LarissaAllwork


Additional Information

Professor Nigel Hunt and Dr Larissa Allwork are part of the AHRC Centre for Hidden Histories, based at the University of Nottingham. The Centre for Hidden Histories is associated with the AHRC First World War Engagement Centres. The Centre for Hidden Histories has a particular interest in the themes of migration and displacement, the experience of ‘others’ from countries and regions within Europe, Asia and the Commonwealth, the impact and subsequent legacies of the war on diverse communities within Britain, remembrance and commemoration.

Find out more about the Centre for Hidden Histories at: 

Twitter: @Hidden_Hist

For further information about this research project, please contact:


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Updated News 2nd July 2018
Battlebags and Blimps BBC Radio Ulster Interview

2018-07-02 # Battlebags and blimps interviewBattlebags and Blimps

That is what the crew and civilians used to call the Royal Naval airships that patrolled UK coastlines during WW1. At Carrickfergus Town Hall, the secrets of Bentra airfield near Whitehead are being explored in an exciting new partnership project between Mid and East Antrim Council and Queen's University.

Click here to listen to the episode.









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Updated News 27th June 2018
Ballykinlar History Hut
A Shared History & Culture Project, Linking the Past to the Future

Newry, Mourne and Down District CouncilDown County Museum is pleased to confirm the receipt of EU PEACE IV funding for the development of the ‘Ballykinlar History Hut’, building positive relations project. The project hopes to consider myths and perceptions of past lives lived within Ballykinlar Camp, offering a unique understanding on how this past links to our future; taking wisdom from what went before, and building it into our future learning while developing approaches to culturally clashing situations.

This project is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Primary objectives of the project are: The promotion of positive relations characterised by respect, where cultural diversity is celebrated, and people can live, learn and socialise together, free from prejudice, hate and intolerance.

A strong community engagement programme will be key, and working with our project partners at Queen’s University Belfast, Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis & Living Legacies 1914-18 Public Engagement Centre, we will provide opportunities for sustained, meaningful and purposeful connections between individuals and groups of different backgrounds, on a cross border basis. The project will pay particular attention to minority groups and those who traditionally have been marginalised in society, so that opportunities will be created that allow for a greater degree of participation and integration within modern society. It is hoped that strong local partnerships will be forged, an outcome already greatly supported through previous EU PEACE money programmes.

The Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Councillor Mark Murnin explained ‘The Council is very excited to be working with the CDDA at Queen’s University Belfast to create a shared community resource and archive. This EU funded project will focus on the use of Ballykinlar Camp in the first half of the 20th century, particularly during the period 1914-21, by engaging with local people, digitising 2,000 artefacts and creating a virtual experience for the recreated Ballykinlar History Hut at Down County Museum’.

2018-06-27 # History Hut - Blend v2

‌Marking this Decade of Centenaries, Down County Museum will reconstruct and provide interpretation of a 1900s period timber ‘Armstrong Hut’, salvaged from Ballykinler Camp in 2012. The hut will be reconstructed in the central courtyard of Down County Museum and made open to the public by September 2019. The history hut will be a focal point for the community engagement element of the project, and will enable local people to come together to preserve the memories and heritage of those who lived within the Ballykinlar Camp, telling the stories of its occupants throughout its many periods of use.

The ‘Ballykinlar History Hut’ will provide the repository for much of the collected narratives, photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, letters and keepsakes, affording a physical connection to the past, and a vivid picture of what life for soldiers, internees and refugees would have been.

If you would like to be involved in this project, please contact:

Mike King
Heritage Manager
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
Down County Museum
The Mall, English Street
Downpatrick BT30 6AH

Tel 028 44615218 

  Peace Northern Ireland - Ireland

Down County Museum Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis LivingLegacies 1914-18 Logo (Aug17)

Queens University Belfast '18

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Updated News 26th June 2018
Workshop in collaboration with Living Legacies 1914-18, Queen’s University Belfast
‘Commemorating Battle of the Somme’

‌On Monday 21st May, over 70 school children from four schools across Northern Ireland attended a Living Legacies-led Open Day at Queen's University, in partnership with Patricia Hampson and the QUB Widening Participation Unit, undertaken as part of the School-University Partnership Initiative (SUPI). Three workshop sessions were organised and facilitated by Living Legacies team members: 1) Mapping the Front with Prof Keith Lilley (SNBE) - a practical session using historical maps to track the changing boundaries of the Western Front, 2) WW1 Drama with Dr Michelle Young and Dr Kurt Taroff (School of Arts, English & Languages) - a practical session which explored how drama could be used to bring WW1 stories to life. Students were invited to write letters home from the Front and took part in small interactive drama activities pretending to be contemporary personas, 3) WW1 Handling Box/3D Technology & Green Screen Booth with Clare Ablett (NMNI), Anthony Anderson & Elaine Reid (CDDA) - a hands-on session where students could handle genuine and replica WW1 objects, try on British & German army attire and nurses uniforms and have a take-home green-screened photograph of themselves in the trenches.‌

2018-06-26 # School workshop with LL - Mapping the front
Mapping the Front

‌The session also included a short presentation on current 3D technology being used by the Living Legacies team including hyperphotos, photogrametry and 3D modelling. The day was a resounding success with pupils stating they would love to come back to another similar event. The drama session was especially popular and feedback indicates that the day was both enjoyable but also informative, with attendees noting that they learned lots of new information about WW1 that would help them in their school projects. Some comments from teachers accompanying the children included 'the day was extremely well organised from start to finish with plenty of staff around so there were always people around who knew the answers to any queries', 'the workshops were very interesting and engaging for the students and they really enjoyed them' and 'the activities and excellent resources were very appropriate for the students and they had a lot of fun dressing up for the green-screen booth - the photos were brilliant - they will have them forever!'

2018-06-26 # School workshop with LL - WW1 Digital Technologies
WW1 Digital Technologies


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