From Total War to Total Trivialization? FREE One-Day Conference 30 May 2014

Media CityFrom Total War to Total Trivialization? The Media, Museums and the First World War Anniversaries

One-Day Conference: Media City UK, Salford Quays, 30 May 2014

Although the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War has not yet occurred, already museums, radio, television and newspapers have begun their efforts to commemorate, remember and reconsider the momentous events during the ‘war to end all wars’.

Academic specialists have viewed the impending barrage of commemorative events with a mixture of enthusiasm and resignation – not least of all due to the central role which the media are already playing in the recalibration of popular memory.

Many conferences, commemorative events and new documentaries have already been mapped out in an effort to reinvigorate well-known material. The first exhibitions have already opened; the first documentaries have been broadcast. Yet, amid all the planning meetings, there has been no attempt to bring historians and other academics together with media specialists to take a step back and consider the broader role of the media and museums in shaping memory and perceptions.

This one-day conference, supported by the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, University of Salford, aims to fulfil a need and bring together those working in the media and museums with the academics who conduct research on the First World War and the development of the collective memory of the conflict in Britain and abroad.

The intention is two-fold: on the one hand, the aim is to create a useful networking event for those who work in the media, to bring them together with academics whose expertise may be of interest; on the other, the aim is to allow both groups to come together and reflect critically on how each profession views the role of the coming four years of media explanation of highly complex events, which were global in their significance, and which still resonate today in our perceptions and understanding of major international events.


Attendance at the conference is free, but places are limited, so it is advisable to book early.

You can secure your place by sending an e-mail to the conference secretary, Mr Adam Dighton,, stating your name, title/role and organisational affiliation.


 10.00-10.10:                Welcome – Prof. Martin Hall, Vice-Chancellor, University of Salford

10.10-10.20:                 Introduction – Dr Alaric Searle, University of Salford


10.20-10.40:                Commemorate or Celebrate? The Politics of the World War One Centenaries – Dr Andy Mycock, University of Huddersfield

10.40-11.00:                Northern Ireland and the Great War: One Historian’s Experience of Working with the BBC – Dr Tim Bowman, University of Kent

11.00-11.20:                Discussion

11.20-11.40:                Coffee Break


11.40-12.00:                Germany and the Anniversaries – Matthias Strohn, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

12.00-12.20:                Russia and the Anniversaries – Dr Steven J Main, Research Fellow, Centre for European Security, University of Salford

12.20-12.40:                Discussion

12.40-14.00:                Lunch and Networking Opportunity


14.00-14.30:                Keynote Lecture: A Bad Start: The Failure (so far) of Television –  Prof. Stephen Badsey, University of Wolverhampton

14.30-14.50:                The Role of Radio: Commemorating the First World War on the Airwaves – Dr Brian Hall, University of Salford)

14.50-15.20:                Discussion

15.20-15.40:                Coffee Break


15.40-16.10:                A Remit to Remember: IWM and the First World War Anniversaries – Graham Boxer, Director of the Imperial War Museum North

16.10-16.40:                Experiencing the IWM North: Display, Affect and a WWI Field Gun – Dr Gaynor Bagnall, University of Salford

16.40-17.00:                Final Discussion

Conference Organisers

Dr Alaric Searle, – Reader in Military History, Politics & Contemporary History Directorate, University of Salford

Dr Carole O’Reilly, – Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies, School of Arts and Media, University of Salford

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