WW1 research centre opens at University of Birmingham

By on 20/03/2014 in Culture, Deputy Leader, News

The University of Birmingham will tomorrow (Friday) launch a centre dedicated to supporting public projects relating to the First World War.

One of five First World War 'Engagement Centres' around the UK, it is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The centres will form a part of the First World War Centenary Partnership, led by Imperial War Museums, and will complement other AHRC activities related to the centenary, including its collaboration with the BBC's World War One at Home project.

Professor Ian Grosvenor commented: “It is great news for the University to be chosen as the lead for one of the Engagement Centres. The Centre and its attendant projects are about marking a significant event in history, but also offer opportunities for outward looking universities such as Birmingham to engage with the wider community and build relationships that will be important for the future.”

City Heritage Champion, Cllr Phil Davis, added: “Although it’s only just begun, the city’s First World War commemoration already involves a wide range of local groups and individuals.  

“I congratulate the First World War Engagement Centre partnership, led by Professor Ian Grosvenor, on winning Lottery funding for the Voices of War and Peace project.  This is a great opportunity to bring the history of the Great War and its consequences – which still shape life today – to the widest possible audience.”

Karen Brookfield, Deputy Director (Strategy) at HLF, said: “We know just how valuable access to university researchers can be for communities exploring their local heritage. It provides them with additional skills and confidence to bring an extra dimension to their projects.

“HLF has already funded hundreds of community projects exploring aspects of the First World War and we're excited to see how these will develop further with the help of this unique partnership.”

Alongside the First World Ward 'Engagement Centre', there are many exhibitions, performances and events already in place to ensure that Birmingham honours and remembers those that fought and died in the Great War.

Art venues, theatres, academic institutions, museums, arts centres, associations and Birmingham City Council have come together to create a rich programme of cultural events and activities to commemorate the 100th anniversary on World War One.  Additionally, The Black Country Living Museum and The Wolverhampton Grand Theatre will also be taking part in the programme.

Civic events will take place the weekend of 3rd August, including a two minutes' silence. Most of the events confirmed so far will take place in 2014/15 but further events will be programmed up to 2018 as part of the commemoration.  For full details see – http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/ww1

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For further media information about the University of Birmingham 'First World War' engagement centre contact the University of Birmingham Press Office on 0121 414 6029

For further media information about the wider programme in Birmingham, contact Debbie Harrison at Birmingham City Council's press office on 0121 303 4476

Notes to editors

• The universities collaborating on the project are: Birmingham, Kent, Queen's University Belfast, Hertfordshire and Nottingham.
• 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.
• A key focus of the centres will be to provide UK-wide support for community groups funded through a range of Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grants, particularly its new £6 million 'First World War: Then and Now' community grants scheme.
• The launch of the University of Birmingham's First World War Engagement Centre will take place from midday-12.30pm at the Library of Birmingham. • For information about the other Centres please visit the AHRC website.
• To contact the University of Birmingham Centre directly please email any enquiries to vowap@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

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