13th Report - Lessons from the First World War Centenary Contents


Supplementary written evidence submitted by Rt Hon Dr Andrew Murrison MP, Prime Minister’s Special Representative for the Commemoration of the Centenary of the First World War

DCMS Select Committee inquiry into Centenary of the Great War

I was grateful for the opportunity to present oral evidence to the committee on 26 March. This is submitted to follow-up on five of the items that the committee touched on.

Advisory Group

The creation of an eclectic Advisory Group of independently-minded people acknowledged as experts in their fields was a risk given the potential for the media to exploit any publicly expressed divergence of opinion. However, it worked extremely well, was highly creative and is to be recommended for the future.


Most people will experience events of this sort through the broadcast media. The BBC’s programme was truly exceptional. Its work around the largescale set piece events showed the State broadcaster at its very best.

Mass participation was also achieved, I believe uniquely in the UK, through ‘coming together moments’ that people could easily participate in at little or no cost. Examples would be ‘Lights Out’ in 2014, the free outdoor event in Heaton Park Manchester in 2016 and creations like the fabulous ‘We’re Here Because We’re Here’ and ‘Pages of the Sea.’

Over a four year centenary it is important that there is flexibility to respond to demand and public appetites as they become apparent. Lottery funders were very good at this, increasing funding as the extent of the centenary’s appeal became clear. The Poppies artwork in the moat of the Tower of London was a huge national success in no small part because of the ability to fund the subsequent tour.

The UK-wide nature of lottery funding meant that each of the home nations could benefit equally, an attractive, unifying feature of the Centenary. National Heritage Lottery Fund grants alone reached 98% of local authority areas. 1418NOW touched 35 million people.

Special Representative

I would strongly support the use of the Special Representative model for future national undertakings of this sort. At the time of my appointment in 2011 it was an innovation. However, it seemed to me to be helpful in getting things going in the early stages with the line to the Prime Minister of great benefit in a complex cross-government and multi-agency environment. NGOs and our interlocutors overseas got the sense, correctly, that the PM was taking a personal interest in the work. I was the continuity number, working with seven DCMS Secretaries of State over the seven years.

Enduring impact

It is important to record the habit of volunteering that the Centenary has imbued. As was said in the oral evidence session, the proportion of first-time applicants for grants for projects significantly exceeded the norm for heritage related work. The strong sense is that this widening of the net will endure. Groups have been formed to undertake Centenary related work and it is likely that these too will be the core of future community voluntary activity rather than simply disperse, notably in hard to reach areas and those where culture and the arts in a traditional sense have not permeated particularly well in the past.

Reaching minorities

Having reviewed the transcript of oral evidence, I would like to draw your attention again to the work of, among others MHCLG, exploring the part played by soldiers and workers from around the world. The committee should note ‘A Centenary Shared’ by the think-tank British Future published at the end of 2016 which I sent to it on 26 March and its updated report which has just been published. This important evidence suggests inter alia that the Centenary has improved the British public’s appreciation of the contribution to the war effort of people from outside the UK. Since the initial report, substantial pieces of work such as MHCLG’s ‘The Unremembered’ and ‘No Barriers’ together with the promotion of figures like Lieutenant Walter Tull have helped both people who might previously thought that they and their antecedents had little or no equity in the Great War and their neighbours to think again.

Lottery funding enabled alternative views to be expressed, by the Peace Pledge Union for example. It also actively encouraged all parts of the community to be involved, including, for example, people with learning disabilities. There is no doubt that the structure of UK lottery funding was a significant strength in securing the reach and scope of this Centenary.

April 2019

Written evidence submitted by The National Lottery Heritage Fund

About the National Lottery Heritage Fund

1.Created in 1994, The National Lottery Heritage Fund (formerly the Heritage Lottery Fund/HLF) supports projects involving the national and local heritage of the United Kingdom. A UK-wide arm’s length public body, we receive policy directions from the UK Government and from the governments in Scotland and Wales. We have invested over £8 billion in more than 44,000 projects over the past 25 years across the UK.

2.The National Lottery Heritage Fund invests in the full breadth of heritage, from museums, libraries and archives, to historic buildings and industrial sites, parks, landscape and natural heritage, and the intangible, cultures and traditions and people’s memories.

3.We set out to ‘inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change’, putting benefits for individuals and communities, including National Lottery players (the unique source of our income) at the heart of the projects we fund.

4.The National Lottery Heritage Fund is administered by the National Heritage Memorial Fund—which separately receives Government funding via DCMS. It was set up in 1980 to save the best of our national heritage for the public, as a lasting memorial for those who lost their lives for the country in armed conflict.

Summary of National Lottery Heritage Fund Centenary funding

5.Since 2010 the National Lottery Heritage Fund has invested almost £100 million (£97.5m to 28 February 2019) in 2,255 First World War (FWW) Centenary projects across the United Kingdom from Bellanaleck in Northern Ireland to Leiston in Suffolk, from Whalsay in Shetland to Penryn in Cornwall.

6.Grants range from £15million for HMS Caroline to small awards for local community projects. The vast majority of projects have been funded through our ‘First World War: then and now’ grants programme, which has so far awarded £14.8m to 1,754 community projects, all receiving grants between £3,000 and £10,000.

7.98% of local authority areas and 91% of parliamentary constituencies have received at least one National Lottery Heritage Fund grant for a FWW project.

8.Almost 10 million people have participated in these Centenary projects, not including the millions of visitors to the Imperial War Museum’s First World War galleries (£6.5m) and the 35 million people engaged by 14–18 NOW, the Centenary cultural programme (£10m).

9.In line with our approach to heritage overall, where people seeking funding define what they value as heritage rather than us defining it, we have taken a ‘bottom-up’ approach to the Centenary, supporting people and communities to ‘explore, conserve and share the heritage of the First World War’. Through early discussions with Government it became apparent that our approach would complement the Government’s focus on commemorative services and young people in formal education.

10.A very wide range of people have been in involved in the projects we have funded, researching stories of the war and its impact, and sharing them through publications, exhibitions, films, drama and social media.

11.Alongside traditional forms of commemoration, millions of people have contributed through projects like these to a rich new citizen history of the First World War. This local community activity has had a profound impact on individuals and has increased our collective knowledge, enriching our heritage for present and future generations.

12.We are proud of the fact, and it is fitting, that this has been made possible with funds raised by the players of the National Lottery throughout the United Kingdom.

Outcomes of National Lottery Heritage Fund Centenary project

13.National Lottery funding has proved to be highly effective in marking this national moment in a way that is meaningful for people and communities and has created strong social benefits.

14.National Lottery funding has helped restore some of the most iconic heritage of the First World War including: HMS Caroline; HMS M33; Yr Ysgwrn, the home of Welsh poet Hedd Wynn in Snowdonia National Park; and a B-type London bus, known as ‘Battle Bus’, which returned to the Western front in 2014. Grants have also helped conserve precious archives, records and letters and make them accessible to the public for the first time: the Royal College of Nursing digitised nurses’ scrapbooks from its archives; Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archives have digitised the rare survival of the Mid-Staffordshire Appeal Tribunal records.

15.The support for HMS Caroline and Yr Ysgwrn built on earlier investment from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) of £1m and £350k respectively to save the heritage from being lost forever. NHMF has also saved Stow Maries aerodrome in Essex, a near-complete example of a FWW aerodrome, untouched and largely forgotten until now, with a grant of £1.5m; and secured the personal archives of First World War poets Siegfried Sassoon and Rupert Brooke; and Lawrence of Arabia’s dagger, robes and kaffiyah.

16.However, the great majority of projects funded by the National Lottery focused on the intangible heritage of the lives and experiences of ordinary people, from all sections of society, one hundred years ago.

17.A wide range of topics were explored in projects: not only the obvious ones of military service, the home front and war memorials, but also food and agriculture, medicine and healthcare, women’s roles, children, propaganda, dissent and objection, industry, culture, animals, and sport. Few aspects of the war have been completely untouched by community projects.

18.From our evaluation (https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/publications/first-world-war-centenary-evaluation) we know that almost all projects (99%) improved people’s knowledge and understanding about the FWW. Three quarters of projects (77%) felt that their grant had enabled them to focus on different aspects of First World War heritage.

19.Four out of five (80%) project participants strongly agreed that Centenary activities had challenged them or been thought-provoking:

“It has broadened my understanding of WWI both at home and abroad. It has made me look in directions I would not have thought about.” Elizabeth, volunteer researcher, From Living Memory to Memorial: Dumbarton’s WWI Stories, West Dunbartonshire Library (Scotland)

“At school I hated history, I just wouldn’t pay attention … I found it boring … ask me now what I did at school in history and I have no idea, but looking at it from a different perspective … I think I’ve learnt more and taken it in better.” Volunteer—No Man’s Land, Impressions Gallery, Bradford

“I had no idea about Sikh contributions in World War I and now I feel more proud to be part of this community.” A member of the public attending an Empire, Faith and War event which shared the Sikh contribution to the FWW, United Kingdom Punjab Heritage Association

20.More than half (54%) of project participants felt that activities had given them greater respect for other people and their cultures.

21.Projects have produced a wide range of outputs to share their research locally, nationally and internationally, including leaflets and books (52%), websites (51%), and displays/exhibitions (50%). There has been significant social media reach and engagement.

22.Undertaking a Centenary project has also had a beneficial impact for the organisations involved, most of which are not publicly-funded. A year after they have completed their project, three quarters (73%) of organisations felt that their capacity to lead future projects had improved, and four in five (81%) felt they had greater capacity to develop stronger links in the community. Partnerships were sustained beyond the end of projects, with 68% saying they had continued after the project ended. It is a tribute to the interest in the Centenary and heritage that 218 organisations were inspired to deliver two or more projects.

23.The National Lottery Heritage Fund has a strategic partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which funds five First World War Engagement Centres in universities, one of whose core purposes is to support our community projects. Among the significant benefits are researchers helping groups to ask deeper questions and confront difficult heritage, and to develop a broader range of perspectives and interpretations of the war.

24.Meeting in No Man’s Land, led by Age Exchange in London, which brought together British and German descendants to explore the war through their own family experiences, was supported to explore these sensitive and hidden stories by a historian and a sociologist from Essex University through the Everyday Lives in War Centre at the University of Hertfordshire.

Breadth, coverage and range of projects

25.The geographical spread of funded projects across the UK; the diversity of themes and participants; and the involvement of organisations new to heritage funding have been some of the major successes of National Lottery investment.

26.We invested significantly in outreach work and support for potential applicants, particularly those new to heritage, across the UK; this has resulted in 98% of local authority areas and 91% of parliamentary constituencies receiving at least one National Lottery Heritage Fund grant for a FWW project.

27.Projects have taken place in a wide range of areas, with those experiencing the greatest deprivation as likely to be engaged as those experiencing the least. In England and Wales just under three quarters of projects (73%) were in urban areas and just over a quarter (27%) in rural areas; for Scotland it was 70% urban, 30% rural.

28.Grants were made to heritage organisations and public bodies including councils, schools and colleges but also to major charities such as British Red Cross and Poppy Scotland; local history groups; disability and health organisations; residents’ associations, community development trusts, groups representing diverse cultural communities; places of worship; Friends groups of parks and public libraries; and a wide range of youth groups.

29.Our FWW community grants programme has successfully engaged organisations new to heritage and/or new to our funding – 57% were first time applicants compared to 41% across all programmes.

30.The profile of participants in FWW projects was generally representative of the UK population showing that our funding has impacted on a very wide range of people. Young people under 16 and older people over 60 were particularly well represented. Engagement with different ethnic groups was broadly in line with UK population demographics.

31.The Centenary has provided new opportunities for diverse cultural and faith communities, including the African, Caribbean, Chinese, Muslim, Sikh, and Jewish communities, to research and share the stories of their contribution to the conflict. Among them were: Black on both sides where young people explored the experiences of black soldiers fighting on both sides; Honouring Victoria Cross Indian Soldiers in the First World War; Remember Us—Muslim Communities and the First World War, which increased public awareness in Scotland of the little-known contribution of Muslim communities; and We Were There Too—London, which looked at the experiences and contribution of the Jewish communities of London.

32.One third (35%) of projects included the war outside Western Europe in their research; a small number looked specifically at the German experience, both in Germany and in the UK, and that of refugees in Britain. For example, the Scottish Women’s Hospital WW1 Memorial Group researched the lives of Dr Elsie Inglis and other women who set up hospitals in Serbia; Norfolk Museums put on exhibitions about Olive Edis, the first woman to work as an official war photographer. Friends of Birkenhead Park are exploring Forgotten Refugees of the First World War: Birkenhead’s Belgian community and their legacy, and young people in Swindon are developing digital skills through their project Safe Haven: Connecting Swindon’s Refugee Heritage from WW1 to Swindon175 through film.

33.It was pleasing to see projects looking at the impact of the war after 1918. Bellanaleck Local History Group in Northern Ireland made a film about men settled on Cleenish Island in Upper Lough Erne, who faced untold hardships. With Writing on the Wall, families in Liverpool’s black community explored rare documents, which highlighted the plight of black servicemen, workers and seafarers ‘abandoned’ in Liverpool, including the impact of the 1919 Race Riots.

34.Volunteers were involved in 90% of projects, with over 26,000 volunteers engaged to date. These volunteers provided an estimated 241,000 days of their time, and made valuable contributions in many different ways.

“Volunteers were at the heart of the project. Previously the museum had to turn away potential volunteers away because of a lack of active roles. Now over 300 volunteers are trained in roles as varied as tour guides, building recorders and digital archivists.” Museum curator, York Castle Museum

35.There were also strong benefits for individuals:

“It has given me opportunities to expand my knowledge base and find out, ‘you can do this, if you actually put your mind to it’. [Taking part] does give you confidence and a sense of achievement.” Volunteer in On the Brink: The Politics of Conflict 1914–1916, Northern Ireland

36.However, it has been a challenge for projects to engage non-White people in volunteering—a challenge reflected across non-FWW projects too. For example, in 2017/18 only 8% of volunteers were not identified as White, compared to 13% of the UK population.

Children and young people’s participation

37.One of our Centenary aims was to enable young people to take an active part in the commemorations; this has been successfully achieved. Almost one-third (30%) of all project participants in 2017/18, for example, were young people—a total of around 680,000. Those aged 11–16 were particularly well represented, accounting for 16% of participants (compared to 7% of the UK population). Young people aged 19–25 are represented broadly in line with the proportion in the UK population. Young people are also project volunteers, where the percentage aged 17–25 is broadly in line with the percentage of 17–25 year olds in the population.

38.Many projects engaged with schools as a key audience. In the most recent survey, 50% of projects conducted outreach sessions in schools or colleges, while 44% received visits from schools. Just under half (48%) of all projects engaged with young people through avenues such as youth clubs and uniformed groups.

39.As of January 2019 we had funded projects in 85 schools, and 28 colleges plus 27 education services, education trusts, and arts education services; many of these projects engaged their local community, creating strong inter-generational benefits.

40.Engaging young people outside formal educational settings creates a different kind of space to engage with heritage, with young people given license to follow their interests in a way that might not be possible in school. We have funded 45 ‘Young Roots’ projects which are wholly led by young people within a partnership between a youth organisation and a heritage organisation. In addition, 37 youth groups, clubs and associations have received grants.

41.Involving young people in activities was seen by many projects as one of their greatest successes:

“I think it’s massively changed people’s perceptions of the FWW … everyone we’ve spoken to … Young people don’t realize how much the FWW had a massive impact on women’s equality in society, no idea … a lot of young people were amazed.” Project lead—No Man’s Land, Impressions Gallery, Bradford

“John Fox Russell was an Angelsea Scout during the war and was awarded the Victoria and Military Crosses. As soon as we realised that he was only my age when he joined the army—a 17 year old teenager—we couldn’t believe it. It actually scared me to think that could have been me.” Morgan Taylor, 1st Menai Scout Group, The Role of Snowdonia and Anglesea Scouts and Scouting around World War One

“I enjoyed meeting people like you, youngsters and people who are interested. I shall be 90 and it is quite an age to remember things.” Sylvia Probert, A Century’s Memories, Bath

Arts/cultural activity

42.A striking feature of the Centenary has been the prominence of arts/cultural activity, not only at the national scale of 14–18NOW (awarded £10m by the National Lottery Heritage Fund) but also at a local level. We have funded a large number of projects using film, drama, dance, music, poetry and artwork as a means to engage people with FWW heritage and to share it with a wider audience. The output on YouTube and other channels is extensive.

43.There have been many community drama productions based on research into topics such as the role of women in munitions factories (for example Gas Girls from Acta community theatre in Bristol) and soldiers shot for cowardice and alleged desertion (Shot at Dawn from Central Youth Theatre in Wolverhampton).

“I cannot believe my son is getting involved in a film, let alone the starring role, he would never had had the confidence before.” Parent of a young man, Yours Sincerely, North Tyneside Voluntary Organisations Development Agency

44.Away from the Western Front—a project exploring campaigns in the Balkans, Turkey, Egypt, East Africa and the Middle East—used drama, music and animation to engage audiences, including vulnerable people; for example, homeless veterans in Salisbury used the arts to connect their own experience to those who fought in FWW campaigns.

Lessons learnt

45.National Lottery Heritage Fund investment in over 2,200 Centenary projects has demonstrated that there is a significant public appetite to mark major national moments, such as anniversaries, through active participation and engagement with heritage, and that this is most successful when driven by the interests of people and communities themselves.

46.We have invested significantly more funding than we originally anticipated: we initially allocated £6m for the community grants programme over six years, but responding to demand have invested £14.8m. This shows that there is a huge public interest in heritage and the FWW in particular, which has not waned during the extended period of the Centenary.

47.Community-led heritage activity is an appropriate complement to official commemorative activity, and/or national cultural/educational programmes. It is also fitting that it is supported by funding raised by the National Lottery from players across the UK, many of whom will have taken part in heritage activity.

48.The success of the FWW Centenary programme overall—led, funded and delivered by UK and Devolved Governments, local authorities, public bodies including schools and universities, civil society organisations and individuals—demonstrates that different kinds of organisations have assumed appropriate roles, playing to their strengths and allowing a multiplicity of activity to emerge. The DCMS played a pivotal role, delivering much of the ceremonial and formal commemorative activity, convening key stakeholders and organisations in a co-ordinated effort, and allowing those stakeholders to play to their strengths.

49.We are pleased that a significant number of organisations who have received our funding remain committed to opening up and sharing our heritage and to new ways of working as a result of the Centenary, and we are encouraged that this increased capacity will benefit both heritage and communities in future. This sustainability through social benefit is a fitting legacy of the Centenary.

50.The digital legacy, however, remains a challenge. Professor Lorna Hughes, a digital humanities scholar, has noted that the FWW is now the most digitally documented period in history, thanks not least to the vast amount of material on community projects’ web sites, but it is not clear that this material will be discoverable or useable by anyone in five, let alone 50 or 100, years’ time. We would encourage Government to act now to co-ordinate collection of digital material centrally in order to secure its future, and to show leadership by investing in the digital legacy from the very outset of any future programme of this type.

51.From the outset the National Lottery Heritage Fund was clear about what we wanted to achieve through our FWW activity, creating a clear framework with which the work could be evaluated. Measuring success against both our Centenary aims and our wider organisational outcomes for heritage, people and communities has enabled us to robustly demonstrate the achievements.

52.We are pleased that DCMS is now undertaking an evaluation of the Centenary programme as a whole, even though this is at the end of the programme and difficult to retrofit to the vast range of activity that has taken place; it would have benefited from much earlier intervention. We would encourage Government to establish a robust evaluation, capturing economic and social benefits, at the outset of any future programme of this kind.

March 2019

Appendix 1

Web links and resources:

Evaluation of Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War Centenary Activity Years 1–4, Sheffield Hallam University Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/publications/first-world-war-centenary-evaluation

#OneCentenary100Stories—social media campaign to showcase how National Lottery funding has helped communities across the UK take part in the First World War Centenary https://twitter.com/search?q=%23onecentenary100stories&src=typd

Appendix 2

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Written evidence submitted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

1.We are pleased to respond to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s call for evidence on the lessons from the First World War (FWW) Centenary. The Government delivered and supported a rich and diverse programme to mark this historic milestone around the themes of remembrance, youth and education.

2.As lead Department for the Centenary, DCMS delivered inclusive and engaging national commemorative events on the anniversaries of some of the key actions during the FWW. Through our programmes, and in partnership with other Government Departments, 14–18 NOW, Arts Council England (ACE), the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), the National Lottery Heritage Fund (formerly the Heritage Lottery Fund) (NLHF), Imperial War Museums (IWM) and many others, we created a framework for a fitting centenary—commemoratively, educationally and culturally. The Government was supported by expert advice and guidance from an Advisory Group of eminent individuals with broad expertise.

3.The Government’s objectives were to deliver a programme through:

a)a major programme of national ceremonial events;

b)an educational programme to put young people front and centre of the commemorative activity and create an enduring legacy;

c)community projects to ensure a legacy of remembrance throughout the country;

d)the transformation of IWM London to inspire new generations;

e)appropriate and active engagement with our international partners.

How were arts programmes leveraged to engage new audiences who may not otherwise have been aware of, or engaged in, commemorations? Was using the arts more effective than a traditional approach to commemoration?

4.The use of arts and culture to tell the story of the generation that experienced the FWW was appropriate for a number of reasons. As there are no living veterans from the FWW an artistic and innovative approach was employed to tell the stories of those who experienced the FWW to modern audiences. The rich history of art - such as poetry and the visual arts - flowing from that period provided the inspiration for contemporary reflections.

5.The successful Cultural Olympiad was used as the model for the creation of a small, unremunerated cultural board. Vikki Heywood was appointed as Chair to develop a cultural programme, 14–18 NOW, with clear objectives to deliver an appropriate programme of substance and impact that would use culture to reach and engage a wide demographic- especially young people. It was funded by ACE, the NLHF and the LIBOR fines. 14–18 NOW invited artists to make strong and exciting works that in some way drew on their reflection on the lasting impact of the First World War.

6.During the Centenary, the 14–18 NOW programme engaged with 35 million people across the UK including 8m people under 25. These projects have been innovative and creative, using both physical and digital participation supported by learning and engagement activity in primary and secondary schools across the UK. Free outdoor events, such as ‘we’re here because we’re here’ and Pages of the Sea, appealed to a wide range of people including those who would not normally engage with arts and culture.

7.The 14–18 NOW programme was complemented by a diverse range of artistic projects delivered by our partners. Supported by DCMS funding, the city of Manchester led events in the city to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. This included an evening concert at Heaton Park which used a range of artforms to engage audiences. The concert featured songs from the period performed by a national children’s choir interwoven with archive footage and dance. The Hallé Orchestra played a number of FWW linked pieces including music by George Butterworth, a young composer who died at the Somme. There were also readings of poems, letters and diary entries from those affected by the Battle.

8.ACE funding supported Magpie Dance’s project to explore learning disabilities and the FWW. The project worked with a group of children and young people with learning disabilities to research and create multi-sensory learning resources and digital resources as well as performances, workshops and an exhibition at Bromley Library.

9.Art and technology combined for the CWGC Faces of Thiepval project which worked alongside the Shrouds of the Somme art installation. The CWGC crowd sourced the personal stories of those represented by the Shroud figures. This online resource continues to grow and currently stands at 1,000 moving stories. The archive will be preserved by CWGC in perpetuity.

10.This rich and diverse cultural programme was effective in helping the centenary to reach and touch individuals and communities who might be less inclined to engage with the more traditional approach. It is not a question of whether one approach is more effective than the other but rather that the two together enabled a broader and more diverse demographic to participate in the centenary.

The Centenary commemorations aimed to reach school children and young people to connect them to the events and legacy of the FWW. To what extent did this happen?

11.The key Government educational programme was the £5.3m Battlefields Tours programme funded by the Department for Education (DfE) and the MHCLG and delivered by University College London. The programme is providing the opportunity for up to four students and a teacher from every state-funded secondary school in England to visit the Western Front battlefields and to develop associated projects within their school and local community. An important benefit is the development of teachers’ knowledge and understanding of the FWW to support their teaching, and to make links to other related subjects in the curriculum. The programme has had positive feedback from both pupils and teachers. Since May 2014, over 2,850 schools and over 6,600 students and teachers have taken part and DfE has provided further funding to extend the programme until March 2020. The Legacy 110 community project was launched in January 2015 to support schools to undertake projects following their visits and an annual award ceremony to celebrate innovative FWW projects by schools and young people. So far over 4.2m people in communities across England have been reached by this project.

12.DfE also funded the Great War Debates which enabled students to debate the causes, conduct and consequences of the War at locations across the UK, and as a result, to broaden and deepen their knowledge and understanding of the conflict. 3001 students from 114 schools participated and 89% of the students attending reported a positive increase in their knowledge.

13.The centenary programme included a large number of projects and activities which reached and engaged young people. The NLHF has funded 45 Youth Roots FWW projects which are wholly designed to be led by young people and engages both them and their peers with their local heritage. The projects are delivered in partnership between a youth organisation and a heritage organisation.

14.With Government support, the CWGC launched an Internship Programme which provides opportunities for young people to work at some key CWGC locations in France and Belgium. The programme now in its third year, has been a resounding success allowing young people to guide visitors around the sites. CWGC Interns supported the delivery the DCMS national events in Belgium to commemorate the Battle of Passchendaele in July 2017.

15.A free DVD of the critically acclaimed Peter Jackson film ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ which was developed for 14–18 NOW has been sent to all secondary schools in the UK alongside teaching resources for use in the classroom. A free copy of the Government’s book - “The First World War Centenary - How the Nation Remembered” - which showcases a cross-section of the thousands of events and projects held throughout the UK to mark the centenary, has been made available to every secondary school in the UK.

16.The ballots for tickets to each of our national commemorative events have been open to all ages and young people have played a significant part in each event. For example, to commemorate the Battle of Amiens event DCMS supported a special International Students Programme with University College London in which students from the Allied nations undertook a number of visits and lectures and worked together to create an exhibition. National youth choirs performed at a number of the national events and the commemorations for the Battle of the Somme in July 2016 included the participation of 91 school, youth and community groups from Manchester and the north of England.

Did the commemorations inspire new community and volunteer involvement and engagement in the legacy of the FWW?

17.A key part of the Government’s approach was to lead the nation’s major commemorative events while encouraging and supporting individuals and communities to learn and commemorate in ways which were important and meaningful to them.

18.Following the events to mark the British Empire’s entry to the war on 4 August 2014, it was clear that there was huge public interest and appetite which was maintained throughout the centenary period, culminating in a large number of events across the country to mark the Armistice on 11 November 2018. Our partners responded with enthusiasm and commitment to support significant numbers of cultural and educational programmes, and funding for community projects.

19.The NLHF FWW: Then and Now small grants programme was developed to help communities make links with the FWW generation. Grants between £3,000 and £10,000 were made available to help communities and groups across the UK explore, conserve and share their FWW heritage and deepen their understanding of the impact of the conflict. The programme’s success exceeded all expectations. The budget was originally set at £6m but was increased due to the number of applications. By 31 January 2019, over £14m has been awarded to 1,754 projects. The number of first time funding applications was 57% for FWW projects compared to 41% for other heritage projects between 2013/14 and 2018/19. NHLF FWW projects were supported by 26,000 volunteers.

20.To mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, CWGC launched Living Memory, a UK wide initiative in partnership with Big Ideas Company, to encourage the public to reconnect with the war dead buried in cemeteries and churchyards in their own communities. It encouraged groups to organise a commemoration of their own and ultimately, champion the sites in the future. More than 600 groups—from members of the Women’s Institute to football supporters—requested information about the project and 250 events took place.

21.Volunteers have been a significant part of the centenary supporting activity locally and nationally. 6,400 volunteers helped in the delivery of the 14–18 NOW projects and over half of them were volunteering for the first time. Nearly 2,000 volunteers from 28 areas of the UK were part of ‘we’re here because we’re here’ on 1 July 2016 to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. Each participant represented an individual soldier who was killed on that day in 1916.

22.Young people from the National Citizen Service volunteered to support the delivery of a number of Government events including at Passchendaele, Amiens and the Nation’s Thank You procession on 11 November. 10,000 people also volunteered to help with the National Archives’ FWW project. The Government supported FWW Memorials Programme also worked with volunteers to support and conserve their local war memorials.

How effective was the distribution of events across the UK? Were all regions and nations fully able to participate?

23.The centenary programme sought to reflect the widespread impact of the war on communities across the UK. Only 53 so called ‘thankful parishes’ in England saw all their servicemen return; every single community in Scotland and Northern Ireland lost someone.

24.The national events delivered by DCMS were held in the most appropriate locations. Attendance was open to everyone throughout the country. In some cases, the Department also delivered events in the UK to complement the national event held overseas. For example, Manchester was chosen to host the national service and events for the centenary of the Battle of the Somme given the link to the creation of the Pals battalions. Due to the significance of this battle, national vigils were held in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and County Down as well as at other locations throughout the country.

25.For the Armistice, DCMS developed a website where participants could register their Armistice events. 3,690 events were recorded including 978 commemorative events and 2,712 bellringing events.

26.The devolved administrations delivered their own commemorative programmes alongside the national commemorations to mark events that were of specific significance to each home nation. For example, the Scottish Government held a service of commemoration to remember the life of Dr Elsie Inglis; and the Welsh Government commemorated the life of the poet Hedd Wyn. Each nation worked closely and collegiately with the UK Government to ensure complementarity. The Chairs of each of the devolved administrations’ FWW panels were also members of the DCMS Advisory Group.

27.Local communities embraced the MHCLG’s initiative to place a commemorative paving stone in the birthplace of every recipient of the Victoria Cross. Since August 2014, 361 stones have been placed in England, 70 in Scotland, 16 in Wales and 35 in Ireland. 145 stones representing Victoria Cross recipients from countries overseas were placed at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire.

28.Of the 650 parliamentary constituencies, 591 (91% coverage) hosted a FWW project funded by the NHLF which equates to 375 out of 381 local authority areas (98% coverage).

29.The 14–18 NOW programme was guided by the principle that funding for projects was spread widely throughout the UK. The Poppies tour, following their original display at the Tower of London in 2014, has been a particular success. Supported by LIBOR funding, over 4.5m people visited the Poppies at locations across the country including all of the home nations. The locations with the highest number of visitors were outside of London: Hull Maritime Museum (726k visitors) and the CWGC Naval Memorial Plymouth (641k). The Poppies tour also supported the economy of their locations. For example, the Weeping Window at St George’s Hall, Liverpool between November 2015 and January 2016 had 360,000 visitors. Of those visitors, 44% came to Liverpool City Centre specifically to see the display with an estimated economic impact to the local community of £6m .

The Government and Lottery distributors made £50m available for the Centenary commemorations. Was this money spent effectively?

30.At the launch of the Centenary programme in October 2012, the Government announced a £50m funding package:

31.In addition, a combination of LIBOR and core departmental funds was provided to deliver the national commemorative events and a wider range of significant projects including 14–18 NOW, the War Memorials Fund, CWGC Interns programme, restoration projects for the Thiepval memorial and Edith Cavell’s grave. This is broken down into the table below.




National Events












32.The LIBOR funding was made available by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to support the national events and a range of FWW projects, with the flexibility to respond to public appetite—such as £2.95m to support the UK tour of the ceramic poppies. The core departmental funding for the centenary was secured and managed through the usual processes of the Spending Review.

33.The HLF provided £97m to FWW projects in response to the huge demand from the public.

34.The high level of engagement and support from the public and local communities together with the significant educational outcomes as set out in this evidence satisfies us that the money was spent effectively.

How well connected were cultural organisations taking part in the Centenary? What role did the First World War Centenary Partnership play? How sustainable are the partnerships now that the commemorations have come to an end?

35.Partnerships between organisations of all kinds played a key part in the success of the Centenary. The FWW Memorials programme was a partnership between Civic Voice, Historic England, IWM and War Memorials Trust. As part of the programme, workshops were held in communities to inspire people to engage with and care for their local memorials. Working together, these organisations supported the research, recording, conservation and listing of war memorials of the country. At the end of the listing project in September 2018, English Heritage had exceeded its target of 2,500 memorial listings. Public engagement in the War Memorials Register was high across all the home nations, increasing regional interest in memorials and the enthusiasm, and indeed, inspiration, for research, publication and conservation projects.

36.14–18 NOW worked in partnership with 580 arts, cultural, community and volunteering organisations to deliver its programme and a number of those partnerships will continue.

37.The FWW Centenary Partnership led by IWM was a network of over 4,000 not-for-profit organisations from 50 countries. It allowed partners to join the Partnership Extranet, use the official centenary logo and access a range of resources including the digital collection and guides. Following the success of the partnership, IWM has announced the creation of a War and Conflict Subject Specialist Network that will provide a forum for sharing good practice, knowledge and skills in the same way that the FWW Centenary Partnership has and will initially focus on the forthcoming Second World War anniversaries.

38.DCMS will support the IWM’s Digital Legacy programme with £100,000 of funding to help create a publicly accessible portal that will protect and retain as much of the content that was created for the centenary by heritage organisations as possible. This includes material from smaller organisations with no previous experience of digital archiving and no alternative way to preserve their work.

39.IWM’s Lives of the FWW created a free online platform that brought together materials from museums, libraries, archives and family collections from across the world all together in one place, inspiring people of all ages to explore, reveal and share the life stories of those who served in uniform and the home front.

What are the overall lessons that can be learned for using the arts for commemoration, public participation in the arts, and volunteer involvement in local heritage initiatives?

40.The FWW Centenary programme demonstrated how arts and culture can be used to reach those who would not normally participate. Through the work of 14–18 NOW to the national events, the Centenary has shown that by telling human stories and making connections between current and past generations, a strong engaging programme will build momentum and appetite among key audiences.

41.The centenary was the first major commemoration of the digital age which resulted in an unprecedented quantity of high quality digital content which helped to engage the public. Digital technology combined with digital heritage has been used in innovative ways to tell the stories of people from the FWW. For example, at the national event in Ypres in July 2017, archive IWM interviews with surviving servicemen was projected onto the iconic Cloth Hall which was famously rebuilt after its destruction during the war. The Metro Boulot Dodo, an ACE National Portfolio Organisation, produced Empire Soldiers VR, an installation experience blending performance and technology to tell the stories of the forgotten Caribbean and South Asian soldiers of the FWW.

42.The centenary programme has also demonstrated how arts and culture organisations can work with sports organisations to support commemorative activity and engage new audiences. A number of projects have used sport to tell the stories of those who served in the War. In 2017, Premier League Academies across the country researched local graves linked to the Third Battle of Ypres and shared this heritage with club fans through matchday programmes and presentations. Brighton FC collected football boot laces from teams in the city and used them to create a wreath to honour those who died in Battle which they laid at the Menin Gate in Ypres.

43.DCMS has contracted the Centre for Strategy and Evaluation Services to undertake an evaluation of the centenary which will assess all the evidence to provide a full lessons learnt report for Government. Work is underway and it is due to conclude by April 2019.

44.The Centenary programme has demonstrated that the arts and culture can be a powerful vehicle to engage, inspire and educate new - and particularly young - audiences. In keeping with the Government’s mainstream relationship with the cultural sector, cultural programmes must respect the artistic freedoms of the creative sectors if the programme is to be credible and able to attract the participation of respected and high quality artists. Collaboration and partnership working are essential ingredients if a programme of this nature is to be successful, building trust and creating a mutually supportive environment in which inspiring creativity can flourish.

March 2019

Written evidence submitted by 14–18 NOW


1.14–18 NOW is the First World War Centenary cultural programme established by the Government in June 2013 to create a UK-wide arts programme that engaged the widest possible audiences with the First World War centenary.

2.14–18 NOW worked in partnership with arts and heritage organisations across the UK to commission and present new artworks.

3.14–18 NOW has been overseen by an independent board whose chairman Vikki Heywood CBE was appointed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. The programme was curated by director Jenny Waldman CBE. 14–18 NOW was hosted by Imperial War Museums.

4.14–18 NOW’s programme has been independently evaluated by Morris Hargreaves McIntyre (MHM).

5.This evidence is to brief the Select Committee on the achievements and approach of, and key learnings from, 14–18 NOW.

Executive Summary

6.14–18 NOW engaged 35 million people across the UK.

7.Of these, 8 million people were under the age of 25.

8.The programme featured 107 projects producing 269 new artworks in 220 locations across the UK, as well as broadcast and online.

9.Artists were inspired by a range of First World War heritage, especially through the archives of Imperial War Museums and other heritage organisations.

10.YouGov surveys in 2016 and 2018 evidenced 85% approval of 14–18 NOW’s key projects.

11.Free outdoor events significantly increased the number and diversity of people engaging with the centenary.

12.Working with broadcasters and social media greatly increased 14–18 NOW’s reach.

13.30% of people who experienced 14–18 NOW’s commissions in 2018 reported that the First World War was now much more relevant, compared with 19% of people who’d marked the centenary in other ways.

14.580 arts and heritage organisations across the UK worked with 14–18 NOW, from small independent organisations to national institutions.

15.6,400 volunteers gave 136,000 hours of their time.

16.Major projects such as Peter Jackson’s film ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ took place simultaneously right across the UK.

17.Other projects took place in 220 locations spread equitably across the UK.

18.14–18 NOW’s major funders were the National Lottery distributors (£10million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, £5million from Arts Council England and £0.3million from the National Lottery Community Fund) and the UK government (£14.1 million). Their funding leveraged a further £25.6million from partners’ contribution and from funds raised by 14–18 NOW from other sources.

19.Contemporary artists have attracted new audiences to heritage and made the First World War more relevant to new generations.

20.The programme has extended understanding of the conflict, exploring hidden histories and contested heritage of the war.

21.14–18 NOW has offered an alternative to the established commemorative approaches, allowing people to come together and mark the centenary on their own terms.

22.The Poppies tour shared the iconic artwork with communities across the UK and shone a light on regional stories of the First World War.

23.14–18 NOW offers a valuable model for the future: initiated by the government, established independently and hosted within a major trusted institution.

24.14–18 NOW was established to work with artists to engage new audiences with the centenary.

25.14–18 NOW’s programme engaged 35 million people across the UK,

26.Of the 35 million people 8 million were under the age of 25. Of the 8 million young people, 4.3 million were children aged under 16.

27.All 14–18 NOW’s work was delivered in partnership with arts and heritage organisations from across the UK.

28.Major projects in the programme included:

a)‘LIGHTS OUT’ (August 2014) inviting people to turn out their lights to mark the centenary of the start of the war;

b)The ghost soldiers of ‘We’re here because we’re here’ (July 2016) marking the Battle of the Somme;

c)‘PROCESSIONS’ (June 2018) marking the centenary of women first winning the right to vote;

d)Peter Jackson’s film ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ (October 2018) technologically transforming IWM and BBC archive footage;

e)Danny Boyle’s ‘Pages of the Sea’ (November 2018) on 32 beaches marking the centenary of the Armistice.

29.YouGov omnibus surveys in 2016 and 2018 evidenced wide public approval of 14–18 NOW’s programme.

a)YouGov tested three projects with the UK public: ‘We’re here because we’re here’, the film ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ and ‘Pages of the Sea’. Approval ratings in each case exceeded 85%.

b)Even of people who didn’t commemorate the centenary in any way, 84% agreed that the 14–18 NOW programme was an appropriate way to mark the centenary.

30.Free culturally specific projects succeeded in attracting more culturally diverse audiences.

31.52 free outdoor events increased the number, and significantly diversified the demographic profile, of people engaging with the centenary, including people who don’t normally attend arts events.

32.Wide reach was greatly enhanced through working with the BBC, other broadcasters and social media, achieving 3 billion social media reach in 2018.

33.In 2014, more than one in three (36%) of the people who engaged with 14–18 NOW’ felt the First World War was more relevant to them, with younger people particularly feeling a greater increased sense of relevance.

The 36% figure compares favourably with 13% for people who had commemorated the First World War in 2014 but not through 14–18 NOW activity.

34.Similar outcomes were observed in in 2016 and 2018; the table below shows attitudes reported in 2018.

35.A YouGov survey after 11 November 2019 found that 99% of respondents agreed that ‘Pages of the Sea’ was an appropriate way to mark the end of the First World War.

36.64% of attenders at ‘Pages of the Sea’ reported that they felt that the First World War was now more relevant to them. 61% reported that the experience made them want to find out more about their own family in relation to the First World War.

a)“It just brings it home to you, how brave all the soldiers were. It’s very nostalgic. It’s quite emotional, as well.” Attender, Pages of the Sea, Roker

b)“It’s an event that’s drawn people together in a way that a standard cenotaph or church ceremony would not have done.” Attender, Pages of the Sea, Formby

37.‘LIGHTS OUT’, ‘We’re here because we’re here’, ‘PROCESSIONS’, ‘Pages of the Sea’ and other projects invited people to participate in making the artwork, deepening the impact on participants.

38.14–18 NOW’s programme reached 4.3 million children aged under 16 and 3.7 million young people aged 16–24.

39.Projects of particular impact with these age groups included ‘LIGHTS OUT’, ‘Letter To An Unknown Soldier’ (2014), the UK-wide Poppies tour to 19 locations (2015–2018), ‘Incredible Journeys’ (2016), ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’, ‘Make Art Not War’ (2018) and ‘Pages of the Sea’.

40.‘They Shall Not Grow Old’: A free DVD of the film with bespoke learning resources was distributed free to every secondary school in the UK. Teachers surveyed unanimously agreed that ‘The colourised footage made the conflict seem more recent and relevant to students’.

a)‘It was eye-opening and made me understand just how horrible it was there. I saw things that I haven’t seen or thought about before.’—Pupil

41.‘Pages of the Sea’: 27% of almost 100,000 visitors to the beaches were in family groups with children under the age of 16.

42.1.4 million young people aged between 16 and 24 years old participated in ‘LIGHTS OUT’.

a)My main reason for coming is my daughter - she saw it from miles away and she insisted, she’s nine years old, and she insisted that she be brought here - she will not forget this for her entire life.’—Attender, LIGHTS OUT, Spectra London

43.‘Letter To An Unknown Soldier’ engaged with over 500 primary and secondary schools, with school-age children contributing approximately 15,000 of the 21,439 letters written to the Unknown Soldier.

a)‘I know in school the opportunities for collective commemoration are limited and it was such a unique opportunity to come together and remember.’—Teacher

44.Poppies tour: 20% of visitors (920,000 people) to the Poppies tour were under the age of 25.

45.During the centenary 6,400 volunteers helped create and deliver the projects, giving 134,000 hours of their time. 3,600 people were volunteering for the first time. Many of these volunteers have been retained by partners for future projects.

46.Organisations reported that the high profile of the Poppies Tour made the recruitment of new volunteers easier than anticipated and strengthened relationships with current volunteers.

a)‘The high profile and publicly loved nature of the Poppies helped us bring in new volunteer recruits and encourage greater engagement with the museum or greater time commitment from existing volunteers.’—Poppies Tour presenting organisation

47.The following table gives a breakdown of the engagement of volunteers in the 2018 Poppies Tour.

48.Nearly 2,000 volunteers from 28 areas of the UK helped create ‘We’re here because we’re here’.

49.100 community groups across the UK worked with artists to create banners for display in ‘PROCESSIONS’.

50.‘Pages of the Sea’ achieved extensive community engagement through workshops and drop-in sessions, engaging more than 7,000 people across the UK. Ten of its 18 beach locations in England were in areas with lower than average levels of arts engagement.

51.The largest scale projects took place simultaneously across the UK, often enhanced by television, radio and online broadcast.

52.The table below shows the geographic spread of 14–18 NOW’s projects.

14–18 NOW



Geographical spread

They Shall Not Grow Old

East of England



East Midlands






North East



North West



South East



South West



West Midlands



Yorkshire and The Humber



Northern Ireland









53.14–18 NOW received £15.3million from Lottery distributors and £14.1million from UK Government funds.

54.The funds from Lottery distributors were:

National Lottery Heritage Fund £10million

Arts Council England £5million

National Lottery Community Fund £0.3million

55.The Lottery and government funding to 14–18 NOW leveraged an additional £25.6million from a range of sources, including trusts, foundations, corporates, philanthropists and our partners’ contributions, to make a programme with the total value of £55million.

56.Excluding the producing partners’ contributions of £19.69million, 14–18 NOW’s direct expenditure of £35.77million was divided as follows:

Programme £28.70million (80.2%)

Marketing and Communications £ 4.11million (11.5%)

Fundraising £ 0.99million (2.8%)

Management and Overheads £ 1.97million (5.5%)

57.This spend:

a)engaged 35 million people across the UK

b)created 107 arts projects featuring 269 new artworks, many of which will have a lasting future life

c)presented events that engaged the whole of the UK, as well as works in 220 locations spread throughout the UK. 81% of projects took place outside London, and 61% were free

d)achieved 3 billion social media reach and £73million media value for the 2018 season.

How well connected were cultural organisations taking part in the Centenary? How sustainable are the partnerships now that the commemorations have come to an end?

58.14–18 NOW created its projects in partnerships with arts and heritage organisations. Establishing productive relationships was essential to 14–18 NOW’s success.

59.580 UK and international arts and heritage organisations worked with 14–18 NOW, ranging from small local museums and independent arts companies to large festivals and national institutions.

60.14–18 NOW was considered a supportive, collaborative, flexible, transparent and approachable partner.

61.Working with 14–18 NOW helped partners raised their own profile in the UK and internationally.

62.The financial support provided by 14–18 NOW and association with the brand helped partners secure funding from new sources.

63.Some of the partnerships established through 14–18 NOW will continue.

a)The National Theatre has already worked again with some of the theatres that partnered with it for the first time in Jeremy Deller’s ‘We’re here because we’re here’ on 1 July 2016.

b)In Cornwall, WildWorks and the Lost Gardens of Heligan worked together in 2014 and again in 2018.

c)The National Trust expects to work again with some of the organisations it partnered with for the the first time on ‘Pages of the Sea’.

d)Tate Liverpool and Liverpool Museums have continued working together since their first collaboration on a 14–18 NOW project in 2014.

64.In the light of their experience during the centenary, IWM—14–18 NOW’s host—have started working in new ways with contemporary artists to engage audiences with its collections and exhibitions.

What are the overall lessons that can be learned for using the arts for commemoration, public participation in the arts, and volunteer involvement in local heritage initiatives?

65.Artists have found new ways to connect people with the First World War, attracting new audiences and a broader demographic including young people.

66.Artists have broadened audiences’ understanding of the conflict, often inspired by archives and museum collections. Stories providing new perspectives on the war have been told, including about the roles of colonial soldiers, the contribution of women on the battlefield and the home front, and social influences that still resonate.

67.14–18 NOW’s artists have interpreted heritage on an individual, human level—including within very large-scale projects—enabling audiences to connect emotionally and intellectually with the First World War.

a)‘ … the piece was ingenious in giving me the stimuli to enable me to form my own interpretation, make my own mental assumptions and to draw personal associations and conclusions in a non-didactic yet inspirational way.’—Attender, Five Telegrams

68.14–18 NOW projects have generated powerful models of creative practice to mark national moments, offering an alternative to the ceremonies of the church, state and military, and allowing audiences to discover and experience alternative forms of memorialisation and to mark the centenary on their own terms.

a)‘If you are looking for a new way to commemorate I think something like this, something a bit more artistic, for me I think that actually hits home a bit more. Traditional is great, it has its place. We do a lot of it, it shouldn’t change but having something in addition, something like this, is a good thing. ’—Attender, LIGHTS OUT Spectra

69.Artists have created ways for people to remember their personal and national heritage and offered contemporary interpretations of the conflict. These include temporary and permanent memorials, using participation, targeted interventions, active engagement and social media.

a)‘It’s so apt and poetic … this way of remembering them and saying goodbye to thank them for their sacrifice was perfect. Almost like we were sending our thoughts towards their resting places on the other side of the sea.’—Attender, Pages of the Sea

70.Participation in UK-wide projects has created resonant shared moments, bringing people together locally and nationally.

71.14–18 NOW’s free outdoor art projects have attracted a broader demographic than that of typical arts or heritage audiences, closer to the profile of the UK population. The table below compares the audience profile for ‘We’re here because we’re here’ with the profiles of the UK population, and those of typical arts and heritage attenders.

72.8 million young people were engaged with the centenary through their responses to artists’ creative approaches.

73.Over 40% of 14–18 NOW projects shifted the narrative away from a predominantly male, military perspective towards other perspectives, focussing for instance on the role of women on the homefront and on the frontline.

74.New aspects of First World War heritage have been shared with audiences, including technological inventions and developments; the contribution of artists to the war, and the music, literature and art inspired by the war; and the unknown, hidden or forgotten casualties of the war.

75.14–18 NOW commissions have presented hidden histories and often difficult contested heritage in both literal and metaphorical ways, and shone a light on the global impact of the First World War.

76.The Poppies tour brought one of the iconic artworks of the centenary to communities right round the UK, helping throw a national spotlight on the particular local and regional stories of the First World War: Orkney’s role in the naval war, for example.

77.Projects have drawn extensively from local communities to recruit participants who performed or help present the work in those localities. This created a connection to ‘place’ and helped people feel more positive about their local area.

78.Staff at partner organisations have developed new skills or enhanced existing expertise, particularly about the approaches needed to deliver large-scale, high profile artwork work involving multiple partners. Organisations developed new ways of working through challenging themselves artistically, working at scale or in non-traditional spaces. Professionals involved believe there will be a legacy for their professional development, reputation and future careers.

79.The 14–18 NOW model of co-commissioning large-scale works in partnerships around the UK with artists creating new work for new audiences offers a valuable model for future important moments of reflection, regionally, nationally or internationally.

80.Having been initiated by the government, 14–18 NOW benefitted from independent governance and skilled professional artistic leadership enabling it to deliver high quality results and value for money within a tight timeframe.

81.14–18 NOW’s relationship with IWM was crucial, benefitting from its established authority, extensive archive, respected advice and flexible facilitative support.

82.The excellent creative quality of the artworks was essential to achieving the programme’s success.

March 2019

Written evidence submitted by Imperial War Museums

Written evidence compiled by Alex Tyrrell, Assistant Director Exhibitions, Interpretation and Design (Exhibitions’ Response) and Imogen Robertson, Executive Producer (Public Engagement and Learning’s Response). Submitted by Liz Robertson, Head of Partnerships on behalf of IWM (Imperial War Museums)

Evidence submitted on the work of IWM’s Exhibitions and Public Engagement and Learning teams for the duration of Centenary commemorations 2014–2018. Compiled by departmental leads Alex Tyrrell and Imogen Robertson, as the members of staff who oversaw activity.

Executive Summary

Exhibitions’ Response

1.IWM London opened its ‘Making a New World’ season in 2018 with four new exhibitions which explore how the First World War has shaped today’s society. So far 130 000 visitors have enjoyed this free and innovative experiences spanning photography, film and sound. African Soldier, a new multi-screen installation by artist John Akomfrah combining sound, historic footage and newly created film, remembers the millions of African men and women who served in the First World War.

2.‘Renewal: Life after the First World War in Photographs’ highlights the ways in which lives, landscapes and national identities recovered, evolved and even flourished in the aftermath of war through a display of over 100 black and white photographs. It focused on a little-known time period; the years immediately following the First World War and gave prominence to Imperial War Museum’s hugely rich and varied photography collection. At this time, countries, societies and individuals were regenerating and rebuilding on an unprecedented scale and this exhibition highlighted images not often seen. These were from both official collections and personal albums and covered topics such as the rebuilding of Ypres, post-war Service life and the mundane tasks of clearing up the detritus of war.

3.Two immersive installations, ‘Moments of Silence’, commissioned from award winning artists 59 Productions, and ‘I Was There: Room of Voice’s bring together personal testimonies reflecting on Armistice and how we choose to remember.

4.We also opened a very popular exhibition at IWMN called ‘Lest We Forget’ which opened up questioning and provoked thought and debate about what remembrance means today. It addressed the disengagement with remembrance of the First World War which was highlighted in audience testing completed in 2017.

a)Audience testing as part of the exhibition development demonstrated there were perceptions that the subject had been dealt with comprehensively—that there is perhaps nothing new to say—and respondents in general failed to find remembrance a motivating subject. One respondent summed up the group’s feelings – ‘I think the problem with this idea, [the season concept] and with why we don’t care about remembrance like we think we should, is because what we’re supposed to be remembering isn’t being told to us in a way that is human or real, if we’re being told at all anymore… In society generally the subject has become remembrance, and not what we’re remembering.’ We addressed this feeling in several ways—vox pops with general public about how they saw and felt about Remembrance and the FWW—these vox pops then formed the introduction to the exhibition. Exploring the reason for and ways in which the British dead of the First World War have been remembered over the last one hundred years. Also the surprises surrounding and challenges to these rituals and memorials

b)The exhibition challenged perceptions and beliefs and opened up debate. Visitors could vote at the end of the exhibition on from—‘Yes. We should always remember the war’ to ‘No, Remembrance glorifies war.’

c)We had 10 of the Hall of Remembrance works majestically displayed together, including Gassed—which had returned from its 2 year international tour.

d)The exhibition exceeded the visitor figure target and from recent audience insight document, LWF visitors had high expectations of the exhibition before they visited, which were then exceeded. There was also a raise in new visitor numbers and growing in developmental audiences.

5.At IWM North, our specially commissioned Big Picture Show showcased the museum’s archive collection of film and photography—98% of show was made up through using our own material, lots of the featured film and photography had never been displayed to the public before. This was alongside a specially commissioned poem by Tony Walsh. This has been a very popular show with the public, gallery staff have reported on multiple occasions that people were observed crying and applauding at the end of the show. The show has become part of IWMN’s BPS portfolio, so will be on display long-term. We receive lots of requests from visitors to get a copy of the poem, our publishing team are currently negotiating to sell copies of the poem through our retail outlets.

6.Poppies: Wave and Poppies: Weeping Window were exhibited at IWM North and IWM London respectively in 2018. The installations allowed us to build on our existing volunteer programme by trialling a new approach to recruiting and managing volunteers. This encouraged greater engagement with our volunteer programme and developed volunteer management skills in our existing workforce.

7.The permanent First World War Galleries opened summer 2014. Part of a £35million refurbishment of Imperial War Museum London, funded by HLF, these ground-breaking new galleries were opened to mark the centenary of the start of the conflict. Visited by almost 4.5 million people since 2014, the exhibition examines not just the courses, but the causes and consequences of the First World War. Designed to connect a 100 year-old story to new generations with little direct link to the war, the galleries inter-grate the stories of the Home and fighting fronts, over-turn myths and focus in on extraordinary events such as the Battle of the Somme. Over 1,300 objects, many never before displayed, range from tanks and uniform to intensely personal items such as diaries and photographs. These are combined with thought-provoking new multi-media displays and immersive experiences. This exhibition reveals, and is centred on, the stories of people from Britain, the Empire and all over the world whose lives were affected by the ‘war to end all wars’.

Public Engagement and Learning’s Response

8.Public Engagement and Learning’s programme over the 2018 centenary period focussed on presenting diverse stories through creative lenses, with audiences of all ages involved not only as audience members, but as filmmakers, performers, composers and participants in line with our aim of giving everyone the opportunity of understanding, exploring and debating the human impact of conflict. The public appetite to engage creatively with the subject matter has been a key factor in increasing our reach and impact over the period especially with audiences of young people, families and school groups.

9.High profile creative partnerships with companies and creatives across the UK have underpinned our centenary work, from theatre makers Frantic Assembly and the National Theatre to 59 Productions and Mercury Prize nominated band Field Music and many more, our programme has offered nationally recognised creatives access to our collections to craft explorations and responses to the First World War and reflect on its significance in today’s world.

10.Alongside increasing our programmes press and social media exposure, a noticeable effect of this approach was engaging audiences who consistently report that the work they engaged with had changed their opinion of what IWM was or that this was their first time at one of our sites. This was especially evident for the high impact youth strands of our centenary programme. Breaking the Silence created with Brighter Sound invited young people from Manchester and London to craft musical responses to the break the two minutes of silence at remembrance ceremonies at our sites while a programme in partnership with Frantic Assembly’s Ignition Company invited young men to create a physical theatre response to the lived experience of the First World War. Both groups reported that their idea of what a museum was and its relevance to contemporary life had changed as a result of the programme as well as their relationship with the idea of remembrance and its relevance to them.

11.The artistic nature of the programme was also a driver of Middle Youth first-time-visitors, engaging with the museum for the first time or the first time since childhood. The profile of the creatives and companies we worked with was consistently ranked as the top reason for their visit for events such as Field Music’s performances in London and Manchester of the album commissioned by IWM about the aftermath of the First World War and for Shobana Jeyasinghs dance piece Contagion on the subject of Spanish Flu.

12.All of our engagement figures saw a rise in attendance, participation and visits around the centenary periods. November 2018 saw a 63% increase in participation and audience numbers across our programmes in comparison with our monthly average over the year. This is reflected in all of our audience segments and is especially apparent with regards to family audiences who responded well to activities and engagement around the Poppies: Wave and Weeping Window installations in both London and Manchester resulting in 34,267 interactions over the course of autumn 2018.

13.Our programme stretched beyond our five sites to all corners of the UK with our digital and offsite programmes. First World War loans boxes produced in partnership with The National Theatre’s production of War Horse, reached record numbers of school children and families across the UK (40,478 interactions this year to date) with real and replica objects and digital media archival material reflecting the stories of individuals from across the country.

14.For adults, school children and families too, our programme invited people to question the traditional means of remembering the First World War. Ministry of Memory, IWM North’s flagship remembrance and centenary focussed schools activity challenges KS2 students to evaluate remembrance traditions, choosing what they save and what they rework in the face of a hypothetical server error which threatens our collective memories and traditions. For adults, immersive experience Moments of Silence poses questions about how and why we remember through a sound, video and projection experience developed with 59 Productions. In both, artistic form and content play a key role in immersing the visitor in an experience prompting them to challenge their preconceived ideas about remembrance and commemorative traditions.

15.The collaborative nature of our work also extended to our digital programmes, delivered jointly with BBC Learn. Our online Live Lesson broadcast on Nov 18 2018 reached 75,000 pupils and teachers nationally was developed from the idea of bringing the centenary alive in classrooms. The lesson included practical exercises that could be replicated in tandem in classroom across the UK as well as showcasing objects and providing teacher CPD content. The programme forged new contacts between IWM and schools nationally irrespective of their locations.

16.The collaborations with creative partners undertaken by Public Engagement and Learning were crucial to the success of and interest in our centenary programme and for challenging audiences of all ages to think differently about, take part in and learn about remembrance and the legacy of the First World War as well as laying the foundations for an approach which will continue into the future.

March 2019

Written evidence compiled by Ian Hook, Project and Public Engagement Manager, and submitted by Liz Robertson, Head of Partnerships on behalf of IWM (Imperial War Museums)

Evidence submitted on the work of the War Memorials Register for the duration of Centenary commemorations 2014–2018.

Executive Summary

Lessons from the First World War Centenary

1.The War Memorials Register (founded as the UK National Inventory of War Memorials, later the War Memorials Archive) was founded in 1989 and upholds the IWM’s founding vision that the men and women who contributed their “toil and sacrifice” during the First World War would be represented. The Register is the IWM’s longest running digital project and offers online information on nearly 81,000 memorials.

2.During the Centenary the level of support provided by DCMS enabled:

2.1Existing information held in digital form to be made publicly available online in a new interface. From 1 October 2014 to 7 March 2019 the Register enjoyed an audience of 845,344 visitors. No age cohort data is available for these.

2.2Volunteers to be recruited for both in office and extra-mural collection and input of data, extending the reach of the Museum and awareness of war memorials and improving, broadening and deepening the memorial records in quality and numbers.

2.3Online release of over 40,000 war memorial images.

2.4Online release of 1.13 million names from war memorials in searchable form, a unique resource for researchers at all levels, including schools.

2.5Public engagement across all the home nations, increasing regional interest in memorials and the enthusiasm, and indeed, inspiration, for research, publication and conservation projects. In some cases groups and individuals so inspired were subsequently successful in achieving Lottery funding. Community engagement and involvement was very productive of new submissions of information and reports on memorials that were not well registered, lacked images or names, had disappeared or had yet to be discovered. Audiences became new “eyes and ears” for the Register bringing with them the priceless advantages of local knowledge, influence and contacts.

3.The First World War Memorials Partnership was crucial “force multiplier” bringing together the combined resources of the IWM, Historic England, the War Memorials Trust and Civic Voice as well as a number of other interested parties. The relationships forged are to continue. Tangible and lasting outputs are:

3.1An Application Programming Interface (API) to display automatically, on WMR, Historic England’s Statutory Listing detail for war memorials and War Memorial Trust’s unique and changing reports on the condition of memorials.

3.2An online portal (http://www.ukwarmemorials.org) maintained by the IWM offering a “one stop shop” for those interested in war memorials, with detail of care, research and relevant organisations and how to get involved in memorial matters.


The WMR and its First World War Memorials Partnership stakeholders have been hugely successful in boosting awareness and understanding of the UK’s war memorials. Citizens who have been engaged in the community will become local guardians who watch over a memorial, care for it, ensure its survival and, by advocacy and example, pass guardianship to future generations.

In seeking to trace some memorials from closed schools a number of new Academy Schools were approached to find out if they had information on the fate of their legacy school memorials. Without exception Academies replied that the memorials were now in a place of honour in their newly built premises. This demonstrates that whatever cultures and values were discarded from former institutions it was recognised that their War Memorials were material cultural icons that were, almost alone, worthy of being saved, retained and reinstalled as a legacy to benefit future generations of young students.

March 2019

Written evidence submitted by Liz Robertson, Head of Partnerships, on behalf of IWM (Imperial War Museums)

Evidence submitted on the work of the First World War Centenary Partnership, led by IWM, for the duration of Centenary commemorations 2014–2018.

Executive Summary


1.IWM tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War. Our unique Collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.

2.This evidence refers to the work of the First World War Centenary Partnership, led by IWM, supported by Arts Council England and Culture24. Liz Robertson, Head of Partnerships, is submitting this evidence on behalf of IWM as she managed the project from December 2015

3.From 2010–2019, IWM led the First World War Centenary Partnership (FWWCP), a network of local, regional and international cultural and educational organisations. Together, the Partnership presented a vibrant programme of cultural events, activities and digital campaigns, enabling millions of people across the world to discover more about life in the First World War.

How well connected were cultural organisations taking part in the Centenary? What role did the First World War Centenary Partnership play? How sustainable are the partnerships now that the commemorations have come to an end?

1.By 2019, over 4,100 not-for-profit organisations had joined the Partnership, representing over 60 countries. The membership included an enormous variety of organisations; national governments, embassies and cultural institutes; museums, libraries, archives and galleries; theatre and music groups; charities; universities, colleges and schools; community groups and local history societies

2.IWM established the FWWCP in 2010. The founding ambition for the Partnership was that its members would collectively organise and present a vibrant, diverse and far-reaching programme to reflect how people want to remember, commemorate and debate the conflict in their own communities, in a way that was meaningful for them.

3.The FWWCP was supported by funding from Arts Council England from 2012–2019. This funding proved for an Officer and activity in England. With a lifetime budget from ACE of £278,566 across six years, including staffing, the Centenary Partnership was able to engage with almost 3,000 organisations across England alone.

4.From 2014–2018 IWM core funding provided for an additional Officer role, with responsibility for the Home Nations and International members, and corresponding activity.

5.Members joined a digital community with its own website, 1914.org, Facebook and Twitter channels, and promotional e-newsletter. Members used these platforms to share their activity and reach the widest possible audience. Culture24 provided access to its listing database and data for members, free of charge, from 2014–2019, to populate the Partnership events calendar

6.Members had access to unique, free digitised content from IWM collections, resource packs and digital toolkits through a log-in website. Members used these resources in their exhibitions, events and promotional material, to inspire activity and ensure high-quality projects. By 2019, IWM had digitised over 300 photographs, sounds and film clips from IWM’s First World War Archives, all of which were available to members for free.

7.The Partnership team directly supported members to develop their activity with advice and led regular Partnership networking events and workshops, to facilitate collaboration. From 2014 to 2018, ACE funding supported 20 regional events, bringing together hundreds of organisations from across the country to share their plans and coordinate activity, and country-wide evaluation. IWM also supported yearly events in partnership with the Welsh Government, in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

8.The FWWCP offered members the opportunity to participate in international programmes marking significant centenaries – in particular, the Battle of the Somme, the Representation of the People Act and Armistice 2018

9.From the 1st July 2016 to the 15th July 2017, IWM made the 1916 film The Battle of the Somme available to members of the FWWCP to loan, for free. Over the year, more than 360 organisations loaned the film across the world, and over 35,000 people saw the film during the centenary of the battle, July to November 2016. The film was screened in an incredibly wide variety of settings and with diverse interpretation: from small community groups and church halls, to national and international commemorations at Thiepval, Manchester, and Belfast. Tours of the film were arranged across Devon, Worcestershire, Yorkshire, and North Lanarkshire to name a few locations. The Poetry School and the Lake District Summer Music Festival both held performances of creative responses to the film. Festivals in York, Belfast and Edinburgh showed the film in their programme. Live streams were arranged with schools in Scotland, through PoppyScotland, and Canada, in collaboration with the local government in Newfoundland. Members found that screenings encouraged newer audiences to engage with commemorations and the experience of seeing the film was thought to be powerful, moving and insightful. Seeing the film also stimulated interest in taking part in other Centenary commemorations.

10.To coincide with the centenary of the Representation of the People Act (6 February), in 2018 the FWWCP presented Women’s Work 100, an international programme of activity which explored the working lives of women during the First World War. The global programme included events and exhibitions, film screenings, creative responses, and a vibrant digital campaign #WomensWork100. Members were able to join a moment of international commemoration in February 2018, and share their stories throughout the year on 1914.org/womenswork100. Between 6 February and 8 March 2018, the #WomensWork100 digital campaign across the Centenary social media platforms featured the stories of over 60 partners, as well as IWM Archive and Lives of the First World War content. #WomensWork100 was the most popular IWM hashtag in that period, and in the week of International Women’s Day, Facebook content reached over 90,000 users.

11.Coinciding with the Centenary of the Hundred Days Offensive and the Armistice of 11 November 1918, the First World War Centenary Partnership commissioned a literary project, Armistice 100 Days. Armistice 100 Days engaged 100 volunteer writers from the not-for-profit organisation 26, who were each connected with 100 members of the Centenary Partnership. From this collaboration, each writer created a 100-word piece (a centena) based on an individual who experienced the First World War. One centena was shared every day online from 5th August to 12th November. Armistice 100 Days has encouraged members of the Centenary Partnership, and the wider public, to engage with the personal stories of the First World War, and to find out more about organisations who have commemorated the centenary. The digital campaign #Armistice100Days including a Twitter Q&A brought these stories to new audiences, and reinvigorated interest in the commemoration of the centenary in 2018.

12.Throughout the Centenary IWM has worked closely with DCMS to ensure that national commemorations engage with as many members, and as diverse an audience as possible.

13.In 2019 IWM is working with DCMS to ensure the digital legacy of commemorations, through the ‘First World War Centenary Digital Legacy Project’. This will create a sustainable digital portal which will enable content created for the centenary to be accessed for an ongoing period by a range of users including schools, students and academics. It will champion the development of good practice and standards for digital archiving, including embedding digital archiving at the outset of such projects. It will allow future generations to look at how the Centenary was commemorated and use the tools created to learn more about the First World War.

14.To further secure the legacy of the First World War Centenary Partnership, IWM has developed the War and Conflict Subject Specialist Network (SSN), funded by ACE. The SSN will build capacity, connections and confidence in the cultural heritage sector to improve the public understanding of war and conflict. It will provide a forum for sharing good practice, knowledge and skills; and deliver national programmes. The SSN will build on and sustain the networks, good practice and lessons learnt, and capitalise on the new ways of working together and public engagement developed throughout the centenary.

15.As we archive the FWWCP sites, some content will be moved to iwm.org.uk, to create a permanent record of Partnership activity on the site, alongside a publicly accessible database of all FWWCP events listed on Culture24 2014–2018

March 2019

Written evidence submitted by Charlotte Czyzyk, Project Manager for Lives of the First World War

Executive Summary


1.The founding vision for IWM was that men and women from throughout the British Empire who contributed their ‘toil and sacrifice’ during the First World War would be represented in the museum. Now, in the digital age, that vision can be achieved through IWMs’ flagship digital centenary project, Lives of the First World War.

2.Lives of the First World War is a digital memorial to commemorate all those who helped the British war effort, which features 7.7 million individual stories. Since 12 May 2014, we have encouraged members of the public, community groups and schools to piece together the lives of people who experienced the conflict through sharing anecdotes and photographs and digitising material that has been hidden away in attics until now. On 18 March 2019 the website Livesofthefirstworldwar.org will close to new contributions, and in June 2019 a permanent memorial on the main IWM site will be launched; this rich digital archive will help to shape our understanding of the First World War both now and in the future.

3.The Lives of the First World War Teachers’ Hub went live on 23 June 2015. It offers free resources tailored to the secondary History Curriculum, with ideas for use in the classroom and in wider school projects. Using downloadable primary sources that relate to each person, students engage with real Life Stories of ordinary people living through extraordinary times. From the date of launch to 1 March 2019, the Teachers’ Hub has received almost 20,000 page views and also received positive feedback from an online survey conducted in 2017.

4.The Lives of the First World War team has promoted the resources to schools at a wide range of events and workshops. Since 23 June 2015 we have engaged with almost 1,500 students and teachers in person, and reached an estimated 61,000 schoolchildren online by taking part in the BBC Live Lesson on Remembrance in November 2018.

5.The First World War Centenary has produced many fascinating projects across the world, but it is often very difficult for people to find and access the information that has been compiled, or for projects to save the results permanently. The Communities function on Lives of the First World War encouraged individuals and groups to create, manage and edit their own personalised area of Lives of the First World War. There are more than 8,500 Communities on Lives of the First World War, which will be preserved by Imperial War Museums as a permanent legacy of the invaluable work conducted by community groups over the past 5 years.

6.To help deliver Lives of the First World War, we have a team of 29 Remote Volunteers who offer their skills and knowledge to undertake administrative tasks and answer user enquiries from home. From the UK to Spain and Canada to Singapore, our international network of Volunteers has bonded online through their passion for the project—their friendship and support for each other is captured beautifully in our short film.

7.2018 produced a peak in interest in Lives of the First World War, and Armistice Day saw a staggering 450% increase in the number of users on the site. Throughout this important centenary year, the Volunteers went the extra mile to inspire people of all ages to explore, reveal and share stories that have been hidden in attics for years. They diligently and courteously answered almost 2,900 queries in our Support Forum during 2018, resulting in over 10,500 individuals being added to the site who previously were missing or forgotten. This has had a positive impact upon the user experience and ensures that the stories that IWMs features are rich, accurate and easily accessible worldwide.

8.Lives of the First World War outreach activities have engaged more than 15,000 people since 2014. From the BBC World War One At Home Tour in 2014 through to family history shows and teachers’ events, we have taken part in events in all 4 UK nations and Ireland. The Lives of the First World War team also participated in many of the activities organised by the First World War Centenary Partnership.

March 2019

Published: 16 July 2019