Taught to remember? British youth and First World War centenary battlefield tours
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Reason for embargo
Under embargo until 26 September 2019 in compliance with publisher policy
Understanding the centenary of the First World War as a ‘future making process’ helps to explain the substantial focus of state-sponsored commemorative activity in Britain on young people. For it is they, according to many official outlets – as the ‘next generation’ – who have to bear the responsibility of carrying memory forward. The cornerstone of this activity is the UCL/Institute of Education (IoE) and Equity Travel First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours Programme (FWWCBTP), a national education initiative funded by the Department for Education (DfE) and Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Between 2014 and 2019, the FWWCBTP will provide the opportunity for approximately 8- 12,000 young people and teachers from every state funded secondary school in England to visit battlefields on the Western Front. Based on research data gathered predominantly from participants in the spring 2015 tours, this article seeks to explore the perspective of the programme participants, rather than the programme creators or accompanying teachers, to understand how they responded to the UK government’s unprecedented attempt to engage young people in the history of the First World War via the vehicle of battlefield tourism. It explores possible tensions within the blending of education and remembrance, arguing that despite laudable intentions to encourage critical thinking about the First World War, for pupil participants the tour experience predominately emphasizes particular narratives of ‘British’ remembrance shaped around sacrifice, duty, and loyalty.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Taylor & Francis via the DOI in this record
Published online 26 March 2018