As the First World War Engagement Centres announce a major festival for 2019 (http://www.voicesofwarandpeace.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/2019-WW1-Engagement-Centres-Festival.pdf), Nicola Gauld from the Voices of War and Peace Centre shares some of the highlights of the Centre’s work.
In January 2014 the Voices of War & Peace: The Great War and its Legacy Engagement Centre was established to support community groups working on First World War projects. One of the most rewarding aspects of the Centre’s work has been talking to participants from collaborative projects funded by the Voices centre and hearing about the impact the project had on them. One community partner remarked:
“I’ve always collaborated with community groups but not so much with academics…it was good because you can trust in what they say, they’ve got the knowledge, that’s really important…it’s made me value academics.”
The academic who worked on that project also found the experience a positive one:
“One of the things I really wanted to do was enable other people to do the research. I’ve seen people come to meetings where we’ve had archive material out…and I’ve seen people’s faces light up. We’ve absolutely achieved that collaboration that I was hoping for.”
Through our work we have been able to support groups during this commemorative period in their projects, to strengthen existing relationships with community partners and to build new ones, thereby supporting the embedding of community engagement with history and heritage within the academy.