In Flanders Fields Museum, Gateways to the First World War and the University of Kent present a series of eight seminars, free and open to all.
Seminars will take place in Canterbury during the autumn term and in Ypres during the spring term.
The Canterbury seminars will take place in Keynes Seminar Room 13, University of Kent.
Thursday 13th October 2016, 6pm
Dr Wendy Morris
Drawing on the Past: An artist’s approach to remembering the First World War
Wendy Morris, a South African artist and animated filmmaker who lives and works in Belgium, has made three animated films on the First World War and is currently working on a fourth. Morris’ films are metaphorical and associational works that explore Belgian remembering of the War against a forgetting of its own colonial transgressions, compare the experiences of black and white South African participants in the War and, through the story of the sinking of the SS Mendi, consider whether we can or should remember events to which we were not witness.
In this lecture she will talk about her working method and the complexities of translating ideas and research into animated images. During the lecture she will be showing the short films Bully Beef (2006), Off the Record (2008), FYI (2013) and discussing the work in progress, This, of course, is a work of the imagination (2017).
More information on Morris can be found at https://morriswendy.wordpress.com.
Wendy Morris has been artist in residence at In Flanders Fields Museum and is senior researcher at the Lieven Gevaert Research Centre for Photography, Art and Visual Culture of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the Université Catholique de Louvain.
Thursday 27th October 2016, 6pm
Arborglyphs - The War Dead Memorialised in the Trees
Memorialisation of the war dead has taken many forms, but it is seldom that a soldier will immortalise himself before he dies. This talk will briefly examine the different forms that memorialisation of the war dead take in the 20th century, focusing on the use of trees and plants and in particular a recently recognized form of memorialisation - conflict arborglyphs. Arborglyphs – also known as tree graffiti, made by soldiers in the 20th century can be considered as memorials made by individuals which convey their thoughts and feelings as well as their location in war. The talk will explore how these carvings change depending on the battle scene that they are created in (facsimile battle landscapes, battle landscapes and after-battle landscapes) and how they can now be seen as memorials to the soldier, whether they were intended to be at the point of their creation or not.
Conflict arborglyphs differ from other forms of memorialisation because the creation of memorials are often a way for the living to project the way in which they would wish to be commemorated when they die and not necessarily carrying out the wishes of the individual who died. However, conflict arborglyphs largely reflect what the soldier deemed important at the time.
Chantel Summerfield is probably the world's only expert in military tree carvings. She is now finalizing a PhD in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol. At one stage an intern at In Flanders Fields Museum, she is also vice-chairman of the secretary of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire branch of the Western Front Association.
Thursday 10th November 2016, 6pm
Jan Van der Fraenen
The Trench of Death: a microhistorical window on the Belgian trench experience?
The Trench of Death is the only remaining Belgian trench from the Great War. Since 1919 the site has been accessible to the public and in 2014 the Royal Army Museum invested in a new scenography for its accompanying museum. It is based on new archive research, constructing a complete new history of this mythic trench. While deconstructing some tenacious myths, new questions arose. During this seminar Belgian historian Jan Van der Fraenen will talk about the history of this trench, identify some of the myths, and explain how he intends to use this historic site as a case-study for his doctoral research on death at the Belgian front during the First World War.
Jan Van der Fraenen is a researcher at the Belgian Royal Army Museum. While working for Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, he co-authored a book on Tyne Cot Cemetery and has published on Belgian spies from the First World War. He is now preparing a PhD at the University of Ghent on the subject of the Trench of Death.
Thursday 24th November 2016, 6pm
Dr Leo Van Bergen
Medical care during World War I
During World War I the enormous amount of wounded and sick called for drastic medical measures. Medicine had to adapt to the new circumstances. The numbers of physicians and nurses participating in military or humanitarian medicine grew enormously. Question is: did this only affect size and numbers, or character as well? Is wartime medical care in essence the same as peacetime medical care, or is it fundamentally different? In his lecture Dutch historian Dr. Leo van Bergen - author of numerous articles on medicine and war and two books relating World War I, the non-fictional Before my Helpless Sight and the fictional Among the Dying - will try to answer this question. He will first sketch the character of the war, the way medicine tried to deal with this, and then go into how this affected medics and medical care.
Dr. Leo Van Bergen’s research is focused on the history of war and peace and the relationship between war and medicine, with an interest in subjects such as the Dutch Red Cross. He is attached to the Dutch Institute for Military History and is on the editorial board of the peer-reviewed magazine Conflict, Medicine and Survival.
YPRES / IEPER SEMINARS
The seminars in Ypres will take place in the reading room of the In Flanders Fields Museum, Sint-Maartensplein 3, Ieper.
Thursday 19th January 2017, 7pm
Professor Alison Fell (University of Leeds)
Culture Clashes: Belgian Refugees in Yorkshire
This talk will explore the interactions between Belgian refugees and the residents of Yorkshire in the First World War, considering the way in which attitudes evolved on both sides, particularly from 1916 onwards. It focuses in particular on the case of a large house near Bradford in which several Belgian families were accommodated throughout the war, and which was run by a charitable committee of local residents, the minutes and correspondence of which have been preserved. It looks at the way in which these encounters involved ‘culture clashes’ not only between British hosts and Belgian refugees, but also between social classes, different faith groups, different generations, and between men and women from both nations.
Thursday 2nd February 2017, 7pm
Professor Mark Connelly and Dr Stefan Goebel (University of Kent)
Forgetting Ypres, 1944-2014
As the Great War began to re-emerge in Anglophone culture from the mid-1950s, the attention was often shifted towards the Somme providing an alternative prism through which to view the conflict. Many themes can be detected in this shift surrounding the changing status of Britain and its relationship with the Commonwealth, and wider cultural changes which could be grafted on to the history of the Somme. Of course, this did not mean that Ypres was utterly eclipsed; rather, the Somme emerged more strongly into the commemorative landscape and provided a much stronger alternative memory site than it had in the inter-war period.
Ypres was no longer. The town to which battlefield tourists returned from the 1960s had changed its name to Ieper. Langemarck, too, was a thing of the past, replaced by Langemark. The new spelling (in German) was not simply a matter of orthography. Langemarck had represented both an idea and a site; Langemark, by contrast, was a mere place name. After 1944 the Langemarck myth was never invoked again. This talk will explore collective memory and cultural amnesia in the second half of the 20th century.
Thursday 16th February 2017, 7pm
David Richardson (Director of Horticulture, Commonwealth War Graves Commission)
Gardening the World – looking forward to the next century
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has a reputation for its exceptionally high standards of horticulture and is the largest single amenity horticulture employer in the world with a global gardening workforce of over 850. Ensuring that these standards are maintained and developing strategy for the next century is in the remit of the CWGC’s Director of Horticulture, David Richardson, who will share his experience and insight of this great gardening organisation in an illustrated talk.
Thursday 2nd March 2017, 7pm
Professor Adrian Smith (University of Southampton)
Mannock, McCudden, and the new tacticians of the 1917-18 air war
By 1918 British factories were supplying the future RAF with over two thousand aircraft every month, including the deadly SE5a, flown by battle-hardened pilots who embraced the new technology and pioneered a more combative approach to aerial warfare. Most influential were the working class air aces James McCudden and ‘Mick’ Mannock. Air supremacy in the skies above the Western Front is seen as dependent on aeronautical innovation, industrial mobilisation, and front-line squadrons’ ruthless employment of fresh tactics rooted in harsh experience and unforgiving analysis.