Co-ordinating Centre - Gateways to the First World War

  • Connelly, Mark (PI)
  • Beaven, Brad (CoI)
  • Noakes, Lucy (CoI)
  • Hanna, Emma Louise (CoI)
  • Fell, Alison Sarah (CoI)
  • Todman, Daniel (CoI)
  • Brookes, Helen (CoI)

Project Details


Gateways consists of Kent, Brighton, Greenwich and Portsmouth HEIs together with an extensive range of collaborators and will provide a gateway for wide public access to: 1) a network of research excellence in First World War Studies 2) skills and resources to develop a range of outputs 3) the geographical gateway to the Western Front and wider war.

Through Gateways the British public will be given the opportunity to engage with, understand and interpret a historical event that played a fundamental role in the shaping of the contemporary world and their place within it. In exploring the local, wherever located, they will engage with the global. They will also engage with their own preconceptions and be encouraged to test and question their origins. Gateways will then use this as a base to examine the (dis)connection between academic/official history and popular perceptions. Gateways will use the combination of its recognised research strengths and high profile in First World War Studies, practitioner skills, resources and geography to explore themes universal to the experience of the First World War:

The global nature of the conflict.
The importance of the sea and overseas communications.
The blurred line between fighting and home fronts; how people understood the nature of the conflict and the acts of combat.
The effect of transplanting communities and creating new ones.
Moments of culture clash and moments of culture harmony.
How different memories and legacies emerged from the conflict, why some endured, mutated or were marginalised.

Gateways has three elements:
1) Core members: building on the existing research interests and public engagement links centred on the First World War anniversaries between Brighton, Greenwich, Kent and Portsmouth HEIs. For example, Kent and Portsmouth are developing a research network exploring the experience of Imperial port cities during the conflict in association with the Institute of Commonwealth Studies; Greenwich and Kent are working on a programme for schools and colleges; Brighton and Portsmouth have collaborated on a photographic project with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
2) Project collaborators: extending and exploiting existing partnerships with non-HEI bodies for the benefit of the wider community. Examples include: Chatham Dockyard Museum, Cognitive Media, Hampshire County Council, Kent County Council, Maidstone Museum, Marlowe Theatre (Canterbury), National Maritime Museum, Portsmouth City Museums, Royal Engineers Museum, Library and Archive (hereafter REMLA), Screen South, War Memorials Trust.
3) Network members: drawing in other academics from a wide range of disciplines with expertise relevant to the objectives of Gateways. For a list of key network members see pp6-7.

Gateways is geographically based in a region that has a unique historical status:
SE England was the Gateway to the Western Front and was the hinge on which the British war effort hung. Its ports of Southampton, Newhaven, Folkestone, Dover and the naval bases of Chatham and Portsmouth were the nodal points.
The region was a militarised zone covered with defence lines and fortifications including the British army's main base at Aldershot. It was a liminal space between fighting and home fronts; a cultural and racial melting pot containing imperial contingents (Africans, Canadians, Indians and West Indians), Chinese Labour Corps camps and large numbers of Belgian refugees.
The region became the home of vast hospital encampments which further ensured that the presence of the war and its effects remained constant.
Effective start/end date1/01/1431/12/16


  • Arts & Humanities Research Council: £13,530.00


  • History
  • Cultural History
  • Economic & Social History
  • History of Sci./Med./Technol
  • Imperial/Colonial History
  • War Studies


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