Great war

Age Exchange, the leading British charity working in the field of Reminiscence Arts has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), to deliver a London wide creative programme on the First World War. The focus of the project will be on memories and experiences of the War passed down through families and across communities.

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See our News page for details of the “Children of The Great War” Installation and Theatre Production.

The project, Children of The Great War, will centre on the Home Front, and how family and community life was directly affected by the war, through participation in it, the loss and trauma families experienced at the time, as well as the effect it had on subsequent generations. Age Exchange will work with many partner organisations across London to record and share family histories from a diverse range of communities – telling the untold stories of the War and how it affected people in the city.

“We have worked for over a year to create the partnerships necessary to enable such an ambitious project to succeed,” commented David Savill, Artistic Director of Age Exchange. “To have the opportunity to work so closely with the London public and to enable many younger and older people to share family histories of such importance is so exciting and such an honour. Age Exchange is delighted that people will be able to participate directly in heritage and arts activity and see their family history brought to a public audience through exhibition, film, theatre and archive. We are grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for its support and to our partners for having supported the planning and creation of the programme structure and application. Particular thanks are due to Piet Chielens at In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, Jehan Weerasinghe at London & Quadrant Housing Trust, and Doctor Stuart Lee and his team at the University of Oxford.”

Sue Bowers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund London, added: “This is a great project that serves to capture intriguing individual and community stories; at risk of being lost from living memory, from this poignant period in our history. It is fantastic that these testimonies will be available online and contribute to remembering the First World War on the eve of the Centenary.”

Across an 18 month period, project activities will include reminiscence projects, intergenerational workshops, filming and recording of group and individual interviews, including exploring the theme through sharing personal heritage. There will also be open days in 8 London Boroughs where the public will be welcomed to contribute family history, images and text to the Europeana 1914-18 International archive.

In the final months leading up to the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War in August 2014, Age Exchange will integrate the collected memories into a touring exhibition and film installation, and a major intergenerational theatre production where young and old will perform both theirs and others memories gathered through the many hours of reminiscence sessions and archive collation. Following the completion of the project in Autumn 2014, the recorded memories, digitalised photographs, letters and text will rest with the Europeana 1914-18 Archive, in support of learning and research into the Great War by people across Europe.

The Heritage Lottery has awarded £82,000 to the programme which has also raised match funding enabling Age Exchange to support activity with £137,000.

Age Exchange is a member of The Imperial War Museum First World War Centenary Partnership.

Heritage Lottery Fund
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported almost 35,000 projects with more than £5.3bn across the UK.