Friday, 11 September 2015

James McConnell Wins Bid to the AHRC-funded WWI Living Legacies Centre

Congratulations to James McConnell for his successful bid to the AHRC-funded WWI Living Legacies Centre. James describes the project below.

WWI poster, courtesy of the
Library of Congress. London:
Johnson, Riddle & Co., Ltd., 1915.
In mobilising ‘citizen historians’, this project will work with community partners such as the Northumbria First World War Commemoration project (NWW1), a path-breaking, multiple Heritage Lottery Fund-supported group, which has pioneered the use of grassroots-led research methods, combining these with cutting-edge IT, to produce community-led research on the men from the former borough of Tynemouth who fell during the conflict. ‘Citizen history’ is a relatively new concept in which professional historians work alongside volunteers from a range of backgrounds, often online, to collect and analyse data in relation to particular topics. For a well-known example of ‘citizen history’, click here.

In the case of this project, we’ll be looking to recruit volunteers to research the lives and wartime service of ‘Geordies’ in the armies of Australia, New Zealand, and Canada during World War One. By ‘crowdsourcing’ research in this collaborative way, the project will collect information that will help us to understand why ‘Geordies’ emigrated and how these journey relate to their wartime movements and even post-war locations of settlement.

The project will consider not only the complexities of individual ‘migration histories’ but also the way that individuals and communities saw their identities (as ‘Geordies’ and Britons, but also Australians, Canadians, or New Zealanders); how they understood ‘Geordie’ migration more generally, and how people came to see the empire in new ways through this migration. By using the term ‘Geordie’, we’re aware that the name is often used to describe the people of Newcastle, but it has been used by scholars to describe the people of the wider north east region  as well. In seeking to find volunteers across the world who will help the project research the lives of these soldiers, we’re using the term because it’s internationally recognisable.

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