The In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, a cultural and transnational museum about WWI (Piet Chielens)
The Ypres Salient, the infamous bulge in the front line around the Belgian city of Ypres was one of the major battlefields on the Western Front. Over 220,000 British and Commonwealth lives were lost there between 1914 and 1918. Cemeteries, monuments and the Menin Gate, the very first Missing Memorial ever built, are the main reasons why British people have visited and still continue to visit Ypres and the former West Flemish front zone. At the Menin Gate a daily Last Post is sounded in honour of the fallen. In this landscape of traditional and mostly national commemoration, the In Flanders Fields Museum stands out as a place of a more inclusive, transnational and also cultural commemoration. Piet Chielens, co-founder of the museum that opened its doors in 1998, depicts the need of such an agonistic perspective to secure the commemoration and the historic relevance of WWI for future generations.
Politics, Piers Morgan and the colour of Poppies (Symon Hill)
In the autumn of 2018 Symon Hill co-ordinator of the Peace Pledge Union appeared on Good Morning Britain with Piers Morgan discussing remembrance. Symon will talk about this experience, remembrance, commemoration and peace.
‘Remembrance on the Rocks’: Scenes from Canada’s Great War Centenary (Lee-Anne Broadhead & Simon Howard)
Was Canada’s Great War a glorious struggle leading to ‘the birth of a nation,’ or a calamitous, divisive plunge into ‘the vortex of European militarism’? For the former Conservative Government of Stephen Harper, the Centenary was a golden chance to celebrate an indomitable ‘warrior nation,’ forged by ‘Johnny Canuck’ in the fires of France and Flanders – a myth it hoped to see embodied in a towering ‘Mother Canada’ statue on the rocks of Green Cove in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Closely involved in the successful struggle to stop the statue, Cape Breton University’s Lee-Anne Broadhead and Sean Howard present ‘Mother Canada’ as an example of ‘repressive remembrance,’ contrasting it with a landmark exhibition in Ottawa juxtaposing the work of two Great War painters – one Canadian, one German – illustrating the power of art to generate a ‘critical remembrance’ of conflict.