Postgraduate students from the University will help guide visitors to the historic Belgian city of Ypres during its commemoration of the WW1 battle fought there.
The project, known as Unlocking Ypres, is aimed at postgraduate students who have an interest in the memory and memorialisation of the Great War. The students have undergone specialist training at the University and are to be located in Ypres as stewards at St George’s Memorial Church.
The students, who are working with the Friends of St George’s, will act as guides within the church to support the visitor experience as well as leading themed walks around the city.
These themed walks will highlight aspects of modern-day Ypres that capture something of the interwar visiting experience. The walking tours will run on a daily basis, with timetables and schedules for the different walks available from the church and on the church website.
Initially, Unlocking Ypres will run from 8 April 2017 to 23 April 2017. Should this be a success it is hoped it will continue to run through the summer and beyond.
Professor Mark Connelly, of the University’s School of History, said: ‘Visiting the battlefields of the old Western Front has shaped and continues to shape our understanding of the war. As we approach the centenary of the third battle of Ypres and, beyond that the end of the Great War, another centenary draws near – that of the first pilgrims to interwar Ypres.’
Professor Connelly is also Director of the Gateways to the First World War project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The Gateways to the First World War public engagement centre was launched in May 2014 with the aim of encouraging and supporting public interest in the centenary of the First World War through a range of events, activities, advice and expertise.