Monday, 23 February 2009

Dad's Army - note from Andy Brockman

Andy writes as follows:

I wanted to let you know about a new research project I am involved with which might be of interest to GIHS members. I have set it up along with Dr Neil Faulkner of Bristol University [and Current Archaeology] and Dr Nicholas Saunders, also of Bristol University. I am attaching the launch document but here is some background...

Digging Dad's Army- The East and South East London Peoples War Project. Digging Dads Army is designed to look at the surviving archaeology of conflict in East and South East London and tie it into intergenerational and cultural work looking at collection, commemoration and remembrance. It has grown out of work by the Great War Archaeology Group and my own work at Shooters Hill as well as other projects such as Gabe Moshenska's PhD work on Air Raid Shelters and children at UCL.
We plan to do both field and archival work and to use the research programme as a vehicle to train field workers, including training in archive work, and as a basis for events presented to the wider public through work with schools [i.e. Key Stage 2 WW2] and on public events such as living history programmes and exhibitions. The project is based on the principle that you cannot do the research without presenting it to as wide a range of audiences as possible from the academic to the public and particularly to young people. We intend to fund it along the model of Neil Faulkner's long running Sedgeford Project where the research programme is funded through training courses with additional project funding where appropriate. In this respect it also ticks lots of boxes for community involvement, intergenerational work and so on. At the moment accounting and PLI etc comes through the Great War Archaeology Group and we see the project as being accomplished by a consortium of individuals and organisations each bringing different skills and resources. Because it is intended to be a multidisciplinary project, growing out of the community experience, we very much want to have locally based organisations, such as GIHS, with its interest in the Arsenal amongst other things, on board as partners. Particularly so we hope the project will generate access to participation in archaeology which is often lacking in the more orthodox research programmes as well as offering educational and training opportunities and avenues for publishing research. We intend that everything we do is published as soon as possible either down the traditional academic route, but also on line. We believe that with the various wartime anniversaries in the next few years, running up to the WW1 100 in 2014, such a project could generate quite a high profile, including with the media. As you may know Neil's work on the First Blitz and Zeppelin L33 made a Time Watch and for all its faults as a programme, we got a Time Team out of the work at Shooters Hill. It also helps that Neil is issue editor for Current Archaeology Magazine. The next issue will carry a piece on Shooters Hill and this project.

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