World War I at Home.

A history expert from the University of Lincoln has been selected by the BBC to act as a consultant on a pioneering series of programmes that will mark the centenary of the First World War.

Professor Jane Chapman (1)

Jane Chapman, Professor of Communications at the University of Lincoln’s School of Journalism, will work with the BBC as part of its project, ‘World War One at Home’, to tell the untold stories of the war, 100 years after it began.

Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Professor Chapman is one of 19 consultants selected from around the UK who will undertake research to inform broadcast journalists from the BBC. Her findings will reveal the story of the First World War through the people whose lives were transformed – in their homes, schools, churches, theatres, streets and factories.

Professor Chapman said: “I have spent the last year researching the biggest archive collection of material from the Great War in the world, at the War Reserve Collection at Cambridge University Library. So I am looking forward to using my knowledge about the war to encourage media and community involvement in the centenary commemorations that will take place next year, and through to 2018. This project offers a fantastic opportunity to take our fascinating research findings to an even wider audience.”

The assembled team of expert researchers, chosen by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), will work with broadcast journalists in different BBC regions to source, select and showcase stories relating to the First World War, and Professor Chapman will examine the East of England, covering Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and South Lincolnshire.

Professor Chapman specialises in researching media, culture and literature from the war and she will explore its impact on the region and its people, as well as highlighting links with broader national and international events and themes.

She added: “We have already found some amazing examples of the strength of the human spirit – peoples’ bravery, ingenuity and sense of adventure, as well as sadness, suffering, and hardship. I believe these will strike a chord with audiences across the country.”

The stories Jane uncovers will next year form part of an interactive online map and ‘tour’ of the UK, as they are broadcast regionally and nationally throughout 2014.

Professor Chapman’s involvement in the new BBC project is supported by the AHRC’s Care for the Future initiative, which explores how the relationship between the past, present and future shapes our understanding of the world around us.

Her ground-breaking research into how long-forgotten comic strips from 1914-18 contributed to the origins of modern international popular culture – both military and civilian – was also the subject of a recent video by the AHRC. Professor Chapman and her team of researchers have uncovered comics from around the globe, and explored their unique depiction of epic First World War events, and resulting influence on the public consciousness and cultural heritage.

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