“The single biggest piece of work since the Pharoahs” (Kipling)

A conference for PhD students and Early Career Researchers

2017 marks the centenary of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Originally named the Imperial War Graves Commission, the organisation emerged from the various bodies given responsibility for the war dead of the British Empire. Led by the remarkable Sir Fabian Ware, a man driven by a vision of imperial collaboration, the Commission took responsibility for a global project for the permanent commemoration of the dead.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, a body instigated to provide a common focal point for commemoration across the Empire was led by the remarkable Sir Fabian Ware, a man driven by a vision of imperial collaboration. The Commission took responsibility for a global project for the permanent commemoration of the dead. However, at the same time, communities and individuals across the Empire were searching for ways of expressing their own grief and pride and balancing concepts of local, national and supra-national imperial identity in their memorial schemes for the battlefields.

Finding solutions to the vast number of questions faced by the Commission was a delicate process, and it resulted in a unique form of remembrance which has left a deep impression on people across the world.

The Centre for War, Propaganda and Society (School of History, University of Kent) and Gateways to the First World War (AHRC-funded World War One Engagement Centre, University of Kent) are hosting a conference for PhD students and Early Career Researchers in the CWGC’s centenary year to explore its work and legacies.

Monday 04 September 2017, 9:00 to Tuesday 05 September 2017, 13:00

Grimond Building, (Lecture Theatre 3) University of Kent, Canterbury Campus, CT2 7NZ

The papers will be exploring the role of the Commission in its wider imperial context and to see how its work sits with other commemorative schemes and impulses. Themes include issues of identities (including class, race, and gender), horticultural and architectural treatment, mourning and grief, landscape and space, belonging and ownership, tourism and pilgrimage, interaction between visitors and the communities occupying the zones around the cemeteries and memorials, different uses and interpretations of the cemeteries and memorials, comparisons with other commemoration schemes, on-going role of the CWGC and its future.

This conference is free to attend but please register

To book accommodation on campus please book and pay via the Hospitality website selecting the 3rd and/or 4th September and entering the promotion code “COMMONWEALTH17”.

Prices will be £51.50 for a single and £82.50 for a double and these prices include VAT.

Day One – Monday 4th September

09:15-09:45am: Registration

9.45-10.00am: Professor Mark Connelly (University of Kent - UK) Opening comments

10.05-11.55am: Panel One (A): Dealing with the Dead (1)

Colin Harding (AHRC Colla Doctoral Candidate, University of Brighton and Imperial War Museum - UK)

Private Grief and Public Mourning

Kyle Falcon (PhD Candidate, Wilfred Laurier University - Canada)

Mystical Mourning: Spiritualism, the Great War and the Séances of the Walker Sisters 1917-1936

Dr Caroline Lord (University of Canterbury – New Zealand)

Representations of war graves and war memorials in New Zealand’s visual history of the FWW

12:00-1.20pm: Panel One (B): Dealing with the Dead (2)

Sarah Ashbridge (AHRC Doctoral Candidate, University of Bradford – UK)

Military Identification: Death, burial and identification in the landscape of industrial war 1914-18

Tim Godden (PhD Candidate, University of Kent – UK)

Unlocking Ypres

Lunch 1.20pm-2.15pm

2.15pm-3.30pm: Panel Two: Dominions

Karine Landry (MA Candidate, University of Ottawa - Canada)

Imperial War Graves Commission: A Case Study of Anglo-Canadian Relations

Natasha Silk (PhD Candidate, University of Kent – UK)

Canadian memorialisation: a case study of the Canadian war memorial at St. Julien

Dr Matthew Haultain-Gall (University of New South Wales – Australia)

Shaping Australia's memorial footprint in Belgium

3.45pm-5pm: Panel Three: Colonies

Hanna Smyth (PhD Candidate, University of Oxford – UK)

'Alien soil’, or ‘forever India’? Indian burial and material commemoration on the Western Front

Tim Clarke (PhD Candidate, University of Waterloo - Canada)

Of Dual Purpose: The 'Askari Monuments' and British Colonization in Kenya

Dominiek Dendooven (Researcher, In Flanders Fields Museum – Belgium)

Bedford House Cemetery. A virtual visit with special attention to ethnic and cultural diversity

Day Two: Tuesday 5th September

09:15 – 09:45 Registration

09:45 – 11:15 Panel Four: Remembrance at the centenary

Rob Page (Researcher, Officer of British Army – UK)

Comparing Post-War and Centennial Forms of Commemoration

Hanne van den Berghe (PhD Candidate, University of Ghent – Belgium)

Military landscape: Different policies of military cemeteries and the surrounding landscape in Flanders Fields through the last century

Ashley Mackenzie-White (Educator, Pukeahu National War Memorial Park – New Zealand)

New Zealand's FWW commemorative programme: "The great pain we feel" - the return of the Unknown Warrior.

11:00 – 11:30 Q&A

12:00 Closing comments

12:30 End

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