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Kent researchers selected for BBC World War One project

Professor Mark ConnellyTwo researchers from the University of Kent have been selected to participate in the BBC’s ‘World War One at Home’ project.

Professor Mark Connelly and Professor Ian Beckett from the University’s School of History will have key roles in the nationwide project which aims to bring to life more than a thousand powerful and never-before-told stories about the First World War.

The project forms part of a series of activities being held by the BBC throughout 2014 to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

Professor Ian BeckettEach story featured in the project will be linked to specific places across the UK. The aim is to uncover surprising accounts of familiar neighbourhoods where the wounded were treated, major scientific developments happened, prisoners of war were held and where heroes are buried.

Kent is the only university to have two researchers covering separate regions featured in the project: Professor Connelly for the South East and Professor Beckett for the South. In total there are 16 researchers representing 11 regions across the country.

Professor Connelly said: ‘This is a really great opportunity for us to inspire people to re-think the conflict which shaped the course of the twentieth century and our own world. Virtually everyone has some connection with the conflict and we have a chance to get people investigating their own family and where they live putting their piece of the jigsaw into the wider puzzle.’

Professor Beckett said: 'The centenary gives us a unique opportunity to revisit the actuality of the war in all of its aspects and, in particular, to give our young people real understanding of its significance. The best way to do that is through locality for there was nowhere in Britain that was not affected in some way, and this project enables us to explore a whole range of unique local experiences.'

The professors will work with broadcast journalists between September and January 2014 to source, select and showcase stories related to this significant time in history. They will advise on the war’s impact on the regions and highlight links with broader national and international events and themes.

The 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 on Wednesday 16 October at Broadcasting House in London at which the BBC’s entire offering for the World War One commemoration beginning next year was unveiled. The work undertaken by all researchers selected for the project has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).


Story published at 2:24pm 21 October 2013

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Last Updated: 23/05/2013