Gateways is assisting a Kent County Council-West Flanders Region project on the First World War to enable students in Kent and West Flanders to connect with each other and learn more about the history of the conflict in their areas.
The EASIER project aims to bring together students from Kent and West Flanders to look at common themes that affected their regions during the First World War, such as displacement of civilians, the militarisation of the landscape, the direct threat of enemy action and the engagement with diverse cultures as men and women from across the globe poured into the areas. The project will combine their research to create an online exhibition. To launch the project, students from Pent Valley visited the British cemetery at Tyne Cot near Passchendaele in December 2013 where they met Prime Minister, David Cameron. Using a worksheet devised by Mark Connelly, Mr Cameron questioned the students on their impressions of the cemetery and the research tasks they were carrying out.
The next phase is to take more Kent students to see the important sites in the Ieper/Ypres salient and for West Flanders students to visit the key Great War locations in Kent. The EASIER project is creating a model for further cross-region activity and there is much interest from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais, which will ensure that students understand the deep links created between South East England, West Flanders and North East France during the conflict.
For Gateways this is another example of its large presence in West Flanders, exemplified by the collaboration between the School of History, Kent, and the In Flanders Fields Museum, Ieper/Ypres.