Dr James Wallis

This project offers reflective commentary on the legacy of the United Kingdom’s First World War centenary commemorations. Amidst a unique historical intersection of nation and empire, contemporary discussions around the role of the Commonwealth, and the complexities of its current political climate, its commemorative efforts to acknowledge and remember multifarious aspects of the conflict have largely been governed by debates around national identity, impact and reverence. Furthermore the value of attaining new insights into hidden histories (as enabled by dedicated funding streams targeting mass public engagement), alongside forms of creative commemoration, have been subsumed by exertions of validation and insular narratives around collective experience. As such, this commemorative participation inflects significant questions of belonging that range from the local to the global.

The project will incorporate interwoven ethnographic research (using my phone camera and field-notes), to be conducted on site at the 11 November Armistice ceremony at London’s Cenotaph. Furthermore analysis of TV coverage and commemorative programmes will provide supplementary data, particularly in terms of the anticipated emphasis on remembrance as emotional engagement.


Photo: Photo: Sgt Dan Harmer, RLC/MOD [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/)], via Wikimedia Commons.