war ephemera

Ephemera and writing about war in Britain,
1914 to the present

What is the project about?

‘Ephemera and writing about war in Britain, 1914 to the present’ is a 30-month collaborative research project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project runs from September 2021 to February 2024. Our team of researchers is led by Dr Ann-Marie Einhaus (English Literature, Northumbria University), who is working alongside Co-Investigators Dr Tony Williams (Creative Writing, Northumbria University), May Sumbwanyambe (Creative Writing, Northumbria University) and Prof. Catriona Pennell (History, University of Exeter). In addition, each institution has one full-time PDRA, Dr Ann-Marie Foster (History, Northumbria University) and Dr Chris Kempshall (History, University of Exeter).

The ephemera pictured in our banner image above belong to the descendants of Drummer Andrew Hanton, 7th Northumberland Fusiliers, reproduced with kind permission of Georgia Godsmark and family.


Why are we doing this work?

Our project is a response to the enduring need, even after four years of centenary commemorations, to ensure that conflicts like the First World War are commemorated in all their diversity and complexity. We approach the memory and commemoration of the First World War in Britain through the twin lenses of ephemera (broadly defined as any small physical traces of everyday life other than printed books) and storytelling. Through a mixture of historical enquiry, literary criticism, creative writing and – most importantly – work with community groups and individuals interested in expanding public understanding of the war, we investigate how ephemera can be used both publicly and privately in diversifying the memorialising and narrating of conflict.

We are particularly committed to researching how working-class and ethnic minority experiences of the war can be brought into the public eye by drawing on ephemera and storytelling methodologies. Find out more about our team, the questions we are setting out to answer and about our plans by exploring this website!

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