The ‘Living Legacies 1914-18’ engagement centre hosted this year’s IWM Centenary Partnership Meeting in Northern Ireland on 27 November at the Brian Friel Theatre, Queen’s University Belfast. The meeting was organised jointly with the IWM Partnership team, and included presentations by organisations including NMNI, Northern Ireland Office, Northern Ireland World War One Centenary Committee, PRONI, as well as Living Legacies, plus community based projects such as The Last Post, the Kells Literary and Cultural Festival, and a HLF-funded project led by Bellanaleck Local History Group working on Cleenish Island (Co. Fermanagh). The presentations were followed by workshops on the theme of the meeting, “Lessons Learned”, which proved very lively and informative, and useful for those working with communities on FWW projects, including Living Legacies. The event was very well attended, and achieved its aim of evaluating and reflecting on centenary projects, and informing and shaping ongoing work and partnerships.
- 27/11/2014 - Living Legacies 1914-18’ engagement centre hosted this year’s IWM Centenary Partnership Meeting
- 20/11/2014 - The Hundred Years’ War: Poetry in Performance
- 19/11/2014 - 'Crowdsourcing the Anniversary', AHRC workshop, University of Birmingham
- 19/11/2014 - WW1 AND YOU - Objects, Memories, Resources (Mellon Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster American Folk Park)
- 17/11/2014 - BBC Documentary - The Man Who Shot the Great War
- 13/11/2014 - School Workshop on the FWW Archive of Thomas Baker Brown
- 12/11/2014 - Gilnahurk Men's Association
- 05/11/2014 - No Elephants Allowed
- 01-30/11/2014 - Opening of the Modern History Gallery, Ulster Museum
- 01/10 - 30/11/2014 - National Museums Northern Ireland # activities report
- 01/08/2014 - 31/12/2014 - Performing Arts activities report August – December
Produced by Midland Creative Projects in association with the Belgrade Theatre Coventry, The Hundred Years’ War is based on an anthology of poetry edited by Neil Astley, published by Bloodaxe Books in spring 2014. This is a poetry-in-performance production. 40 poems were performed by three actors, each chronicling times of war and conflict, with verse from aggressor and victim, soldier and civilian, the wounded and those watching on in horror. Presented in association with the Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts, the performance took place at Newcastle University’s Culture Lab, and had over 55 attendees.
On the 19th of November, Rebecca Milligan took part in a workshop took place in the University of Birmingham as part of the run up to the 10th anniversary of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). This event was hosted by Dr Ross Parry and Dr Richard Clay and brought together Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) and Early Career Researchers (ECRs) from all parts of the UK. The day was entitled “Crowdsourcing the Anniversary” and its objectives where “to explore the potential themes for anniversary events” and “to gather insights from this group to shape the way the message from the AHRC is taken to the public”. Dr Richard Clay spoke about the AHRC Commons (outlined in The AHRC Strategy 2013-18). It was a lively day full of exchange of ideas across a wide range of disciplines. The twitter feed from the day may be found at https://storify.com/newbiephd/ahrc10-crowdsourcing-the-anniversary.
(Mellon Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster American Folk Park)
On Wednesday 19th November, the Living Legacies team travelled to the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies (MCMS), part of Libraries NI's national network of public libraries
The Centre hosts a world-leading collection on Irish migration and diaspora.
Our roadshow included a series of lectures, given by Dr. Johanne Devlin-Trew, a migration studies specialist from Ulster University, Dr. Colm Donnelly, a historical archaelogist from QUB, Professor Elizabeth Crooke, a museum studies academic from Ulster University, and a series of talks were also delivered by local historians. Philip Faithfull kindly brought along items from his own personal collection, some of which we digitised.
|Dr. Johanne Devlin-Trew||Dr Colm Donnelly||Professor Elizabeth Crooke||Dr. Brian Lambkin|
We received tremendously positive feedback from attendees, who filled the Centre from 11am-4pm. We are grateful to those who came along and shared their stories and objects.
A preview screening of the new BBC documentary, “The Man who Shot the Great War”, took place on Tuesday November 11th, appropriately enough, at the BBC Blackstaff Studio in Belfast.
The film was made by DoubleBand Films for BBC NI with the support of NI Screen. The programme features the life and work of Belfast-born photographer George Hackney, who survived the war and bequeathed to National Museums Northern Ireland his extraordinary collection of photographs taken during the war in France and Belgium.
The preview screening was immensely well-supported, with not a free seat to be had. From the Living Legacies 1914-18 centre, Keith Lilley and William Blair were present in the audience, courtesy of an invitation by the BBC, as were others, from our partners at NMNI, PRONI and Queen’s University. The documentary will be broadcast on BBC NI on Monday 17 November @ 9pm.
Archivists and staff from Newcastle University’s Robinson Library visited Christ Church Primary School in North Shields, Tyne & Wear, to run a workshop (repeated 3 times with students from Years 1, 2 and 3 – approximately 90 in total) based on the First World War archive of Thomas Baker Brown, which is held in the Robinson Library.
This school visit took place as part of a larger programme of Schools events run by the Robinson Library, which includes a series of workshops on First World War memorials. These were on-campus events in which groups of up to 30 students spent a day at the University learning how to research the people names on a war memorial. The workshop focused on the war memorial in Newcastle University’s Armstrong Building, but the skills learnt by the students can then be applied to war memorials nearer their school or home. Students were shown how to use online search tools to find out about the fallen, and also how to use archival resources in the University Library.
The follwoing workshops took place:
- Burnside Business and Enterprise College – 11 Year 9 History students.
- Norham High School – 17 Years 7, 8 and 9 History students.
- Star of the Sea primary School – 30 Year 6 students.
- Star of the Sea primary School – 30 Year 6 students.
On Wednesday, Nov. 12, team members Dr Johanne Devlin Trew, University of Ulster, and Sophie Long, Queen's University Belfast, gave an interactive presentation entitled, WW1 and You!, at the invitation of the Gilnahurk Men's Association in Gilnahurk Presbyterian Church Hall. The presentation showed some of the artefacts thus far digitised by Living Legacies and some of the Gilnahurk men also displayed items of their own, including war medals and a WW1 'active service' pocket version of St. John's Gospel.
On Wednesday 5th November, the digitisation team and museums expert Professor Elizabeth Crooke, travelled to Linenhall Library in Belfast City centre. We were joined by staff from the Somme Museum, PRONI, NI War Memorial, the Genealogical Society of Ireland and NI Libraries for a public engagement event which invited members of the public to come along and discuss their connection to, and understanding of, the First World War
We were delighted to once again receive a number of interesting objects from members of the public, the most notable of which was a soldier's notebook from a series of lessons on explosives. The notebook contained careful notes made by the Royal Irish solider, along with complex sketches of grenades, missiles and other ordnance. We were able to digitise some sample images from the notebook and will be reviewing these for possible research use.
In addition to the public activity, we were pleased to avail of the opportunity to have productive and useful conversations with other institutions. We are planning a tour of the Somme Museum on the 2nd December to peruse their exhibition and discuss the potential of collaboration. We also made links with the Genealogical Society of Ireland (http://familyhistory.ie/wp/), an archival unit based in Dun Laoghaire in the Republic of Ireland. Furthermore, NI War Memorial kindly presented us with a copy of their new book. We hope to build upon these conversations and work alongside these contributors through the course of the Decade of Centenaries.
A major new exhibition, ‘Modern History,’ opened on November 26th at the Ulster Museum. The ‘Modern History’ exhibition offers a unique opportunity to gain insight into the social, economic, cultural and political influences which have shaped our society within Irish, British and international contexts. ‘Modern History’ is arranged around particular events and themes and tells the story of the historic province of Ulster from 1500 to 1968. It also reflects the Decade of Centenaries, and addresses events of 100 years ago which changed the face of the island of Ireland, in particular the outbreak of the First World War.
The exhibition showcases almost 400 objects, some 150 of which have not previously been on display. These are complemented by a new suite of interactives and AV installations adding more information and context which will engage and challenge visitors and greatly improve the visitor experience.
The ‘Modern History’ exhibition has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (£454,800) and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (£127,000).
SinceThe Medal in the Drawerwas successfully staged at the Brian Friel Centre, Queen's University Belfast, the play's cast and Creative Team have been busy preparing and delivering a community outreach programme which uses the original script as stimulus material for groups of young people to stage their own theatrical responses to the centenary of the First World Warhttp://www.livinglegacies1914-18.ac.uk/PerformingArts/.
Photo 1 :- Jumping Boys - Rehearsing Medal in the Drawer
In September 2014, seven third-year students of Drama Studies at Queen's University, all leading players in the original production, trained with a professional drama-workshop facilitator. The object of the exercise was to equip these students with the skills which would enable them to go into schools and community groups to help lead young people in the devising of their own drama productions.
Third-year Drama Studies student Stella Green, who played Lady Constance Fairfax Ross inThe Medal in the Drawer,comments on her experience of participating in the play and its accompanying out-reach activities to schools:
From the start I understood that ‘Medal in the Drawer’ was going to be more than an assessed piece of work for my university degree. The family connection which the author, Brenda Winter-Palmer, has with the piece, coupled with the cultural connection of its cast to the Belfast locality in which it is set, made sure we approached the text with sensitivity and emotion. The play and the cast have not only made me explore a point in history which I have always found interesting but it has also given me a connection to characters which I have never felt before … they’ve become people who I know well. And this is the reason why I find using the characters from ‘Medal in the Drawer’ as a focus for drama work with young people such a natural development. We all want to share these individuals that we have come to know with as many people as possible. It has been and I hope it will continue to be an eye-opening experience which I am lucky enough to share with many good friends that I have made along the way.
Photo 2 : The Frontliners with Jonathan Evershed
Stella with fellow ‘Frontliners’, David Paulin, Brian Diamond, Lloyd Whiteside and Mathew Jeffrey. Also pictured is Jonathon Evershed, Creative Director of the Co-operation-Ireland Project ‘Entwined Histories’. This group of students, along with Rebekah Wallace and Pamela Bell, have been so inspired by the process that they have formed their own theatre-in-education company called ‘Frontline’.
Since the beginning of October the Frontliners have performed scenes from The Medal in the Drawer, engaged in question and answer sessions in role, conducted workshops, assisted in the devising of performances in schools, community venues, outdoor museums, museum galleries and even in a cinema as a prelude to the screening of the famous silent film of the Battle of the Somme.
Photo 3 : First person interpretation at the First World War Poster Exhibitions – National Museum Northern Ireland
Entwined Histories : The Frontliners partner with Co-operation Ireland October/November 2014
This was a collaborative project with the cross-border agency ‘Co-operation Ireland’. It explored through creative and expressive means the role politicians played in encouraging young men to go to war in 1914. The Frontliners used a range of theatre/drama techniques as well as scenes fromThe Medal in the Drawerto enable groups involved to create their own mini-dramas on the First World War. This project culminated in a public performance involving eighty pupils and their student mentors on 6th November at the Ulster Museum, Belfast.http://www.cooperationireland.org/.
Photo 4 : Matthy Jeffrey at the First World War Poster Exhibitions – National Museum Northern Ireland
Peter Sheridan OBE, Chief Executive, Co-operation Ireland said
"Co-operation Ireland highly values partnership working and we are delighted to have had the opportunity to extend our relationship with Queen's University in the past months. Liaising with Brenda Winter-Palmer through the Living Legacies programme, we have had the pleasure of training and working with five 3rd year Drama students. Working as part of our facilitation team, their contribution as mentors has very much enhanced the experience of the 80 teenagers involved. I've been impressed by their energy, enthusiasm and work ethic, encouraging and motivating the young people to express themselves and their ideas. Thank you to Brenda, Matty, David, Stella, Brian and Lloyd for all your efforts."
Photo 5 : David Paulin conducts a workshop with Co-operation Ireland
Greg Toner, Head of History at Participating School Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch commented
"I cannot speak highly enough of the Drama students from Queen's University. In addition to their obvious talent as actors it was their cheerful demeanours and clear sense of purpose which quickly earned them the respect and admiration of pupils and teachers alike."
Project facilitator Jonathan Evershed described the benefit obtained by students:
Medal in the Drawer' captures so well the conflicted emotions and divided loyalties in Ireland during the First World War in a way that only drama can. The play's subtext is a profoundly personal politics of memory, and I am grateful to Brenda Winter- Palmer for allowing us to make use of her wonderful script over the course of the project. In their dual role as actors and facilitators, the play was brought to life and re-worked with great energy by Stella, Lloyd, David, Matty and Brian to allow the project participants to engage creatively and critically with this period and its legacy.
Photo 6 : The Frontliners perform at final presentation of Co-operation Ireland Project
The Frontliners perform at the Ulster Museum
‘Westies’ at War Project.
This project is currently working with two schools on the Falls Road to uncover, dramatize and present stories from the Home Front in Nationalist West Belfast, particularly the role of women munitions workers in Mackies Foundry.
In addition to this, an event in the QFTs School Outreach Programme was enjoyed by school pupils.
Photo 7 : Students from belfast Hospital School with Frontliners
The Frontliners have also been invited to perform scenes from Medal in the Drawer at the launch of a new exhibition on the history of The 6th Connaught Rangers, a British Amry regiment largely populated by nationalist men from the Falls Road in Belfast.http://www.nam.ac.uk/research/famous-units/connaught-rangersat Belfast's City Hall on the 19thNovember 2014.
Photo 8 : Frontliners perform at Belfast City Hall
Siobhan Deane from 6th Connaught Rangers Research Project sent some comments regarding the Frontline theatre company:
I just wanted to say a big thanks to you and the 4 actors (Brian, Lloyd, David and Matty) from 'Medal in the Drawer' in putting on the final scene at our exhibition launch at Belfast City Hall on 19th November last. This was a big day for us. It was the first time we think, that those men from nationalist areas of Belfast who fought in WW1 would be highlighted in City Hall and we wanted this to be as professional and informative as possible. Your play and the acting certainly achieved that. Whilst we knew that your play and the acting was first class, those attending the launch, including the Lord Mayor and Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, were unaware what was about to unfold and I think for them, it was engaging, original and even emotional. I think some in the audience expected a lecture but your play managed to convey what we intended to say in an original way. Instead of a slide show we were met by four young men (like the original soldiers themselves) in army uniform, with Belfast accents, who voiced the fears and feelings that the politics of WW1 encapsulated and who conveyed both the message we had hoped to convey whilst at the same time, embodying the young soldiers themselves. Attendees at our event could see these young men instead of imagining them. It almost seemed that the past was speaking to the future and that caught a lot of people. I found it very moving and I know others did too.
We look forward to working with you again.
Siobhan and the 6th Connaught Rangers Committee
Photo 9 : Brenda Winter-Palmer at Belfast City Hal
Jonathan Evershed, through Co-operation Ireland, put together a cross-border project for schools which aimed to examine recruitment and the impact of the First World War in Ireland. Specifically, to explore the conflicted loyalties on the island in 1914, and the different motivations that led people to joining the British Army.
National Museums Northern Ireland and Living Legacies supported and facilitated this programme.
The group of teenagers received a talk on the background to war in Ireland, mainly the events leading up the signing of the Ulster Covenant, the Home Rule Crisis and the outbreak of war.
The teenagers had the opportunity to hear Dr Vivienne Pollock provide a tour of the Answer the Call: First World War Posters exhibition and ask questions. A workshop followed where they explored the themes in more depth and created their own recruitment posters and slogans.
Brenda Winter-Palmer, Lecturer in Drama QUB, with her acting students, worked with this group to explore the theme and impact of recruitment in Ireland through drama workshops.
The group will experienced life in during the war at Ballycultra village at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum through the Hidden Histories, Life at the Home Front tours and explored what life was like for those at home during the war.
The group at a showcase evening event at the Ulster Museum on November 6th and it featured the work of the group from St. Patrick’s College Bearnageeha, The Wallace High School, Assumption Grammar School, Ashfield Girl’s High School, Lagan College and Holy Child Community School. They produced a multimedia showcase which highlighted what they had learned and discovered about the legacy of war and examined the use of war-time propaganda.
Please click on the Poster for more details