Keele historian in BBC’s World War One at Home project
The familiar narrative is about 'blood and mud' but there other stories to tell too - about the women, children and male civilians who in their different ways sustained the home front.
Keele University historian Karen Hunt is one of the researchers selected to participate in the BBC’s ‘World War One at Home’ project, which were announced today. The BBC project will tell the story of the First World War through the people whose lives were transformed - in their homes, schools, churches, theatres, streets, factories, and so on. These stories are planned to be broadcast on local radio and regional television in BBC English Regions and on television and radio in BBC Wales, BBC Scotland and BBC Northern Ireland.
The announcement follows an event this morning at Broadcasting House in London at which the BBC’s entire offering for the World War One commemoration beginning next year was unveiled.
Professor Hunt (Keele University) said: “This is a very exciting project as it gives me the chance as a historian to work directly with broadcast journalists, framing and researching a series of new stories about the First World War and linking them to specific places within the region. Somewhere you drive past everyday may have within it a story about how men and women, the old and the young, local families or passing strangers experienced the emergency of 1914-1918. One of the challenges is to tell what can be complex stories in an accessible and engaging way.
“Our task in the West Midlands is to produce 100 stories which cover a wide range of themes including how the war front affected the home front. I am particularly interested in everyday life during the First World War and I hope to use my research to broaden the ways in which we remember the war and whose contributions are commemorated. The familiar narrative is about 'blood and mud' but there other stories to tell too - about the women, children and male civilians who in their different ways sustained the home front. Over the years of the centenary, 2014-18, these stories will be part of how the BBC enables us all to commemorate the first 'total' war with a real sense of what it was like to live through such novel and challenging times - and not just in Flanders or London.”
The AHRC is funding researchers to work with broadcast journalists in the BBC Regions in England between September and January 2014 to source, select and showcase stories related to the First World War. Researchers will advise on the war’s impact on the regions and highlight links with broader national and international events and themes.
Following a successful pilot project held in the BBC West region, the initiative is now being rolled out across England, with the BBC Nations undertaking similar initiatives early next year. The AHRC recently issued a call for the planned projects in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland [link -http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/Funding-Opportunities/Pages/BBC-World-War-One-at-Home-project.aspx ].