Great War Dundee project wins CASS Public Engagement Award

The leading role played by two University of Dundee historians in commemorating World War I locally has seen them named as winners of the College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) Public Engagement Award for 2013-14.

Dr Billy Kenefick and Dr Derek Patrick founded the Great War Dundee (GWD) Commemorative Project and are influential in coordinating the city-wide approach to commemorate the conflict.

An Imperial War Museum First World War Centenary Partner, the GWD Project aims to bring together the community by involving the city's museums, archives, libraries, schools, businesses, societies and voluntary organisations. The goal is to encourage the broadest possible public participation through a series of collective reminiscence events.

The CASS Public Engagement Award recognises the work of outstanding communicators and their efforts in enhancing understanding of the research taking place at the College and University.

Professor Chris Whatley, Head of CASS and Vice-Principal of the University, said, 'The enthusiasm that Billy and Derek have for this project is palpable and they have helped ensure that the city and University play prominent roles in a national commemoration of a war that was harrowing for millions of people but which also induced acts of great heroism.

'It is to be hoped that our two winners will be inspired by this award to galvanise research on World War I at Dundee and attract funding for new projects, thereby enhancing further the reputation of History and the Humanities at Dundee.'

Since the beginning of the project, Dr Kenefick and Dr Patrick have contributed to a number of public engagement activities. These have included a World War I information sharing event at AK Bell Library in Perth, a Great War Dundee Open Day in the Central Library and a community outreach event in the McManus Collections Unit, as well as an Engage Dundee lecture at the University.

Plans are in place for a series of future engagement events as part of the rolling commemoration of the centenary, with both academics set to participate in the Scottish International Poetry Festival St Anza and the Edinburgh International Festival. Dr Kenefick will also appear at the Scottish History Festival in Edinburgh in August.

The pair will visit the Harris Academy in March to talk about the Great War and Scottish emigration and empire. In partnership with Dr Murray Frame, they are also organising a conference on 'War and Revolution' for Higher History pupils in October.

Dr Kenefick said, 'We are absolutely delighted to receive this award. For us it marks a watershed in the work promoting the Great War Dundee (GWD) as a public engagement project.'

Dr Patrick added, 'We wold like to stress that this could not have been achieved without the contribution of the GWD partner organisations and particularly Amina Shah (Dundee Central Library), Matthew Jarron (Dundee University Museum Services) and Rhona Rodger (McManus Galleries). We hope to build on this success and in doing encourage others within the wider community to work with and alongside us and develop their own World War I research projects.'

Dr Kenefick and Dr Patrick will receive their awards at a ceremony later this year.

Further details about the public engagement activity taking place across CASS can be found at


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