Imperial War Museum announces Centenary Partnership Programme

Posted on on 04 November 2013
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The Imperial War Museum has announced its First World War Centenary Partnership’s Programme, which will present over 500 new exhibitions, 1,500 events across the UK and 700 new digital resources to commemorate the Centenary of the First World War.

Established in 2010, the IWM's Centenary Partnership consists of over 1,800 cultural and educational not-for-profit organisations from 37 countries, who are producing "a collective programme of events, activities and resources from 2014 – 2018 to mark the centenary".

Of the 500 new exhibitions and galleries opening around the world, 200 of these will launch in 2014 in 14 countries, and they will include over 50 new art commissions.

In 2014, over 150 members of the Partnership from 10 countries will be launching their events as part of the global commemorations.

These events include film screenings, performances and festivals, lectures, tours and hands-on workshops encouraging the public to interact with the objects, stories and issues presented by the conflict.

700 digital resources about the First World War will be created for the Centenary including digitised collections, virtual exhibitions, games, podcasts, films and videos and online courses as well as nearly 100 mobile apps relating to the First World War.

The Director-General of IWM, Diane Lees, praised the "outstanding level of activity" by members of the First World War Centenary Partnership.

The Director-General continued that the events, exhibitions and resources being produced "will allow people to mark the centenary in their communities, in a way that is meaningful to them". 

"This shows that discussions about marking the centenary are not only taking place at Governmental, academic and institutional levels but also in homes and communities in the UK and beyond. The First World War centenary really matters to a huge amount of people".


Centenary Partnership exhibitions include:

IWM First World War Galleries

The IWM First World War Galleries in London will open in July 2014, drawing on the IWM's First World War collections.

Truth and Memory: British Art of the First World War will feature the largest and first major retrospective of British First World War art for almost 100 years featuring over 110 paintings, sculptures and drawings from IWM’s collections. It will "assess the immediate impact and enduring legacy of Britain’s First World War art". 

Tate Modern

100 Years Later: Conflict, Time, Photography - An exhibition opening on the 19th November 2014 where "the relationship between photography and different sites of conflict is explored over time".

The exhibition will highlight the fundamental aspect of time in photography and will include different perspectives which artists using cameras have brought to the sites they have depicted over different passages of time: from works made a few moments or one day after an event, to those 
made one year later or 10, 20, 30 and 100 years later.

IWM North

The Imperial War Museum North will hold the "largest ever" exhibition exploring the North West of England during the First World War: From Street to Trench: A War that Shaped a Region will open on the 5th April 2014.

Royal National Lifeboat Institute

Hope in the Great War is RNLI’s four year touring exhibition highlighting the achievements of ordinary people who volunteered for the RNLI throughout the First World War. 

The exhibition will start at the RNLI’s Henry Blogg Museum in Norfolk (from the 4th February 2014).

Thackray Medical Museum

The Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds, West Yorkshire, are focusing on the medical advances 
that came out of the First World War with their Unknown Heroes exhibition, opening in July 2014.

Drawing on modern day parallels with contemporary theatres of war, the exhibition will examine the relationship between war and medicine. 

National Museum Cardiff

National Museum Cardiff will host The Great War: Britain’s Efforts and Ideals (from 2nd August 2014) – a series of lithograph prints from the Museum’s collection, which was commissioned by the Ministry of Information in 1917 with the aim of encouraging a war weary public and to raise support for the war effort.

The exhibition will explore the varying attitudes such as the changing role of women as a result of the war.

Peace Museum UK

Choices Then and Now is both a multi-media exhibition (in 2016) and education project (from January 
2014) produced by the Peace Museum UK in Bradford.

Drawing on stories linked to artefacts and documents from the Peace Museum's UK collection, the project focuses on the choices available and made by young people then and now and reflecting on the consequences of the choices made. 

Ryde Social Heritage Group

Ryde Social Heritage Group in the Isle of White is planning The Changing Face of Ryde - a range of events to mark the Centenary.

This will include two open days with displays and trails in Ryde Cemetery (24th and 25th May 2014), with an opportunity to visit the graves of the fallen and find out what happened to their families and businesses and how the social life of Ryde changed with the onset of war. 

Music and Performance

English National Ballet

Award-winning British choreographers Akram Khan, Russell Maliphant and Liam Scarlett are creating 
new works for The English National Ballet's Centenary inspired programme Lest We Forget.

National Portrait Gallery

As part of the National Portrait Gallery's efforts to mark the Centenary, the display Keep the Home Fires Burning will feature stars of Music Halls of the First World War period and First World War-inspired performances by the Portrait Choir.

Australia House

A specially commissioned production of poetry, prose and music of the First World War, Never Such Innocence will be taking place at Australia House, London (14 – 15 May 2014).

Organised by Lady Lucy French in conjunction with the Australian High Commission, the piece will also include the letters and diaries of Lady French’s great grandfather, Field Marshal Sir John French.

National Theatre Productions

For Armistice Day this year (10th November 2013), National Theatre Productions are putting on Anthems for 
, a special night of readings, art and music.

Olivier Award-winning designer Rae Smith will speak at the event, describing how her designs for War Horse were created and Michael Morpurgo will read extracts from the book before he is joined by BAFTA award-winning actress 
Virginia McKenna.

Sir Edward German Music Festival

In Whitchurch, Shropshire, a "community led classical music extravaganza", The Sir Edward German 
Music Festival
(28th April – 2nd May 2014) will include performances of works by Sir Edward German 
and his contemporaries, including composers who did not return from the war.

The Festival is "both a celebration of the life and times of this quintessentially English composer of note and a commemoration of the sacrifices made during the Great War".

Birmigham Bach Choir

The Birmingham Bach Choir will premiere a new specially commissioned choral symphony at 
Symphony Hall (13th September 2014).

The symphony by the choir’s conductor Paul Spicer "reflects on suffering, sacrifice and bravery and is dedicated to heroes in all generations", and takes its text from Unfinished Remembering, a poem by Euan Tait.

Education and Digital Resources

Lives of the First World War

The Imperial War Museum will launch Lives of the First World War, a "permanent digital memorial to more than 8 million men and women from across Britain and the Commonwealth who served in uniform and worked on the home front".


Quakers across the UK will focus on their opposition to the First World War during the Centenary and the role they playedin the creation of legislation to allow conscientious objection.

A real-time social media storytelling project will introduce five Quakers who blog about their daily lives and dilemmas: faced with conscription, should they go to prison, go to war or seek alternative service?

The White Feather Diaries will run over three years leading up to the anniversary of the Act of Parliament which brought in conscription. 

Weetwood Hall

Weetwood Hall in Leeds will host a conference entitled The First World War in Retropsect on the 28th July - 1st August 2014.

It will be held in partnership with organisations such as York Army Museum, the Royal Armouries, Leeds University Library and The Liddle Collection and will showcase screenings from the Yorkshire Film Archive.

Subjects range from ‘War Readiness in Britain’ through to ‘The Public Response to the National Crisis’ with keynote speakers from the University of Wolverhampton and the Western Front Association.

Source: Imperial War Museum press release

Date of press release publication: 04/11/2013

Images courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News