March 2014

Queen’s named as one of UK’s World War One Engagement Centres

Queen’s University Belfast has been chosen to help lead a major, international research project on World War One, as part of centenary commemorations of the Great War.

Queen’s has been selected, along with four other UK universities, to become a ‘World War One Engagement Centre’ with a remit to support community, academic and public research into the events of 1914-18.

Queen’s along with the Universities of Birmingham, Kent, Hertfordshire and Nottingham, will form a part of the First World War Centenary Partnership, led by Imperial War Museum. Queen’s stands to receive £500,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund, to establish its Centre, which will be headed up by Dr Keith Lilley of the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology.

Entitled ‘Living Legacies 1914-18: From Past Conflict to Shared Future’, the new research Centre is based at the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities (ICRH) at Queen’s. The Centre represents a partnership with the University of Ulster and National Museums Northern Ireland. It will be launched publicly on Monday, 19 May.

Keith LileyDr Lilley said: “Connecting academic and public histories, the Living Legacies 1914-18 Centre will explore the enduring cultural impacts of the conflict and First World War heritage.”

A key focus of the Engagement Centres will be to provide UK-wide support for community groups funded through a range of Heritage Lottery Fund funding programmes, particularly its new £6million ‘First World War: Then and Now’ community grants scheme.

Professor John Thompson, director of the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities at Queen’s, said it was a “tremendous achievement in such a competitive environment to have an AHRC-funded UK Centre based here.

"Dr Lilley is a founding Fellow of the Institute and, as such, has clearly demonstrated the huge advantage for all of us in Arts and Humanities working in conversation with each other, across the UK and Ireland, and with the larger communities we serve, when opportunities such as this arise.”

During the start-up phase ahead of the formal launch, the Centres will be extending links with the diverse programmes of community activities already being planned for the centenary as well as developing international links.

Professor Mark Llewellyn, AHRC Director of Research said: “The centenary of the World War One provides an occasion not only to commemorate its pivotal role in shaping the twentieth century but also to reflect on and reassess its legacy for the present. The distinctive combination of arts and humanities researchers and community groups working together to explore heritage has proved to be a powerful one. Through collaboration these new Engagement Centres will develop and foster rich and fascinating perspectives on the commemoration, including its meanings for contemporary culture and society.”

The Engagement Centres are funded through a joint initiative of the cross-Research Council Connected Communities programme and the AHRC’s Care for the Future theme. The Centres will complement other AHRC activities related to the centenary, including the collaboration with the BBC’s World War One at Home Project.

For further details about the Queen’s Centre please contact

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