Leading Home Front Expert Delivers Inaugural Professorial Lecture

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Professor Maggie Andrews, recognised as one of the region’s leading cultural history academics, delivered her Inaugural Professorial Lecture at the University of Worcester last week.

Professor Andrews has recently been named by the BBC as one of their regional experts for next year’s groundbreaking First World War centenary commemorations.

Her lecture – ‘Home Fronts: Domesticity, War, Commemoration and Remembrance’ – looked at the representation and the experience of the ‘Home Front’, which, thanks to popular culture, now has a central place in the public understanding of war and conflict.

Professor Andrews explains: “The lecture outlined some of the ways in which war was increasingly experienced not just on the battlefield, but in the home in the last 100 years.

“I suggested that broadcast media and dramas such as Downton Abbey have contributed to the home, domestic life and the family becoming increasingly important in our cultural engagement with war and remembrance.”

She adds: “As we look towards the beginning of the Centenary of the First World War, we need to think critically about the part the Home Front plays in the five years of the commemorations.

As part of these commemorations - marking 100 years since the start of  First World War, Professor Andrews will be helping the BBC to source and develop 100 local stories relating to the conflict, delivering unknown facts, exploring local contributions and conveying how the West Midlands changed between 1914 and 1918.

She is also in the process of compiling a book – ‘The Home Front: Images, Myths and Forgotten Experiences’ – due to be published at the end of next year, and will play a key role as the University of Worcester hosts the Women’s History National Conference in September 2014, on the theme of the Home Fronts: Gender War and Conflict.