WWI Centenary Projects

What are your ideas for commemorating the centenary of the start of the First World War which will, of course, take place next year? I went to a meeting last night organised by heritage and arts organisations in Wiltshire and there were some interesting proposals emerging. As well as telling the stories of those who fought and died in combat, other ideas suggested were

  • relating the stories of those who stayed behind;
  • conscientious objectors’ stories;
  • women’s stories;
  • prisoners of war stories;
  • ways of curating remaining living stories, through memory, anecdotes, family stories, diaries, letters and documents;
  • international projects – there is, for example, according to a speaker from the Imperial War Museum, a lot of interest in the centenary in France, Belgium and Commonwealth countries.

Although not being released till May 2013, The Heritage Lottery Fund has Grants of between £3,000 to £10,000  for groups and individuals engaging with communities, and particularly with young people, to commemorate the centenary, through arts and heritage projects.  Keep checking their site (linked above) for information about when the funding will be available.  Apparently £6 million has been ear-marked for this.

Schools will also be interested in writers and artists with  innovative projects in mind that will appeal to young people, and they are particularly keen on projects that span the school curriculum; History and English departments, for example,  joining together for a Creative Writing project that makes use of research methods and materials.  Talking to a secondary Head Teacher at the meeting last night, it’s clear that many schools are happy to be approached with ideas, as are community venues, libraries, museums and the like.  If you have some interest in World War One, and are keen to develop a community writing project, or are already experienced in this area, now is the time to be creative and pro-active in your approach.  If you’re based in Wiltshire, keep in touch with the Wiltshire Arts blog which is a good source for information and events.

6 thoughts on “WWI Centenary Projects”

  1. That’s such a tender and moving poem, Colin. The IWM is undertaking a huge project to collate an on-line archive of personal histories. There is a commitment to share and respect each person’s story and a need for artists and writers to be involved with communities wanting to express these stories.


  2. Colin Will’s poem is very striking. I am so glad to be able to read it. Thank you.

    What you ask is really important and I think we should all be thinking about this.
    Not wanting to self-publicise but fyi my new collectiion A Handful fo Water contains a few WW1 poems..two about conscientious objectors (one of which was read out at the Peace Pledge Union’s Armistice ceremony in Bradford) , another about a young man who was shot, some about what it was like by the Somme in 2012 and oen or two others about the young men. Also I have just heard my next novel , What the horses heard, about a conchie and about his sister who wangles working with the horses, is to be pub’d in May ’14.
    What we must ensure is that we mark the occasion but not celebrate it…I can see it might become an occasion for being a bit jingoistic possibly, perhaps, maybe.
    Anyway, thought this might interest you. If you don’t mind I am going to blog about the same thing too to try and encourage people to think about it. Best wishes Becky Gethin


  3. Hi Becky, I’m so pleased you’re going to blog about this too. There is huge interest in this topic and I agree with many of your sentiments expressed here. Congratulations on your poetry and novel, by the way. Colin’s poem is powerful and I’m delighted he shared it here.


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