Join Sheffield workshop on ‘how war shaped education’

Dr Rebecca Gill
Dr Rebecca Gill

Historians at the Adult Education and the Great War in Yorkshire project are seeking family stories of people involved in further and higher education during the conflict and beyond.

Workshops in Sheffield during May will explore the topics of social and educational changes on the Home Front that resonated in to peacetime, and the personal histories of individuals and institutions swept up in the conflict.

Dr Rebecca Gill is a senior lecturer in history whose own research has included various aspects of WWI. Now she is heading a public engagement project from the University of Huddersfield, in partnership with the Yorkshire and Humber region of the Workers’ Educational Association and Professor Alison Fell of the Legacies of War project at the University of Leeds.

Dr Gill said that workshops will provide help and training for researchers. Conscientious objectors are also an important part of the story.

She said: “We are also interested in how the Great War shaped curricula in further education. For example, we have looked at prospectuses that show an increased interest in international affairs. This was an attempt to equip people with an understanding of the forces that led to the conflict and prevent war in future.”

The war also led to an increased number of women being enrolled to study technical subjects such as chemistry, so that they could work in the dyeing industry.

“Before the war there was an emphasis on technical education. That is still there, especially in chemistry and textiles, but in addition you get a humanities curriculum with an emphasis on international relations,” added Dr Gill.

There were concerns that war forced large numbers of children to work in factories, robbing them of the schooling they should have had. Dr Gill can be contacted at r.gill@hud.ac.uk.