The beginning of September saw the first, all-centre, collaborative series of roadshows as the teams from the five AHRC-funded WW1 Public Engagement Centres (http://ww1engage.org.uk) gathered in three venues across the North of England to connect WW1 research agendas and communities.
Community Roadshow Review by Michael Noble, Community Liaison Officer, Centre for Hidden Histories: Community, Commemoration and the First World War.
For three days, we each participated in a range of events, which sought to uncover and make salient the ways in which the Centres can most effectively work alongside communities in interrogating the legacies of the war.
The Living Legacies team, along with Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis (CDDA), travelled first to the Imperial War Museum North, for a stimulating day of conversations, roundtable discussions and a lively, digitisation workshop, led by the LL/CDDA team. The workshop was well-attended by local historians, community representatives and individual researchers, and included an overview of the Centre’s role in working to guide and support community research efforts.
There was a particular interest in how digitisation, and website design, can help to disseminate and conserve the significant work carried out by groups researching the war. CDDA, led by Elaine Reid, demonstrated the technical expertise, and indeed, high-spec equipment, required to undertake such a process. This section of the programme stimulated serious discussion as to the long-term approach required when first writing a grant application.
|Sophie Long - giving a short presentation on Living Legacies 1914-18||Elaine Reid - giving a presentation on the Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis and their services||Within the previous presentation their is referance to a video, please see above for the same|
The next venue on the schedule was Leeds City Museum, where we were kindly facilitated by staff and colleagues. Living Legacies and CDDA ran another digitisation workshop, where participants shared their experiences of using various online resources, such as IWM’s ‘Lives of the First World War’, and made constructive suggestions for methods of effectively sharing and preserving research outputs.
Those present from the Living Legacies centre also attended a roundtable discussion which looked at a number of critical questions, one of which asked how the Engagement Centres could best assist community research projects. The conversation led to some shared conclusions, amongst which were the need for some centres to better make publics aware of their role, in order to optimise the knowledge-exchange and collaborate more effectively.
The final day of the Northern Tour was held at Newcastle University, with Living Legacies director, Prof. Keith Lilley, opening the event by outlining the role and remit of the Engagement Centres, and appealing to interested groups to make connections with, and work alongside, such Centres. We enjoyed thought-provoking presentations from Tynemouth WW1 project, and others, some of whom the Living Legacies centre is now working with closely through collaborative projects funded through the Centre.
Having thus far carried out a great deal of public engagement work in Northern Ireland, we were delighted to find that the levels of local interest in the war are matched by communities across the North of England. We want to thank our colleagues at the other Centres for helping to coordinate such a comprehensive programme of events, to all of the venues for kindly hosting us, and to those community groups and researchers who made the roadshows so worthwhile. We look forward to working together in the future.