From 2014 to 2018 the First World War Centenary Partnership, led by IWM and with the generous support of Arts Council England and Culture 24, brought together thousands of organisations and millions of people across the world to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
By 2019 an incredible 4,159 organisations, from 62 countries, had joined. Our diverse, vibrant community included local history societies, international governments, galleries, schools - and more than one brass band.
The Partnership directly supported members to enhance, share and diversify their activity, with exclusive use of over 300 IWM Archive photographs, sound and film clips, online platforms, and access to networking events and one-to-one support from IWM teams.
Members participated in programmes which brought audiences together across the world to mark the centenary, creating truly international commemorations. In 2016, we collectively remembered the centenary of the Battle of the Somme with screenings of the 1916 film The Battle of the Somme at over 360 venues world-wide, while in 2018 Women’s Work 100 brought stories of the working lives of women in the First World War to new, global audiences.
The First World War Centenary Partnership enabled members to utilise resources that would otherwise have been inaccessible, to reach diverse global audiences, and to participate in moments of international commemoration. IWM drove a collaborative approach to commemorations across the cultural sector which developed a deeper public understanding of the First World War, ensuring a lasting legacy for the centenary.
“Being in the Partnership gave us the reason to do all the things we did. We needed some incentive. We moved on from small beginnings to a force to be reckoned with. We proved successful and now we want to do other things.”
Museum, Wales, First World War Centenary Partnership Evaluation Qualitative Research 2019, Sphere Insights
organisations, from 62 countries took part in the First World War Centenary Partnership
commemorative events held by members across the world
Almost 2.5 million
visits to the First World War Centenary Partnership website, 1914.org
At least 4.5 million
people reached globally in 2018
of members would join an IWM partnership programme in the future
“There was a ‘thank you’ for supporting the Partnership, it was a two way thing. It was nice that they acknowledged that the Partnership would not have been successful without the people.”
Community Organisation, England, West Midlands, First World War Centenary Partnership Evaluation Qualitative Research 2019, Sphere Insights
Aims and Impacts
The First World War Centenary Partnership was the catalyst for highly successful commemorative programmes across the UK and internationally. IWM successfully delivered against its aims to:
Develop and communicate a deeper public understanding of war and conflict, reconnecting audiences with the enduring legacy of the First World War and its relevance to today
The support and resources provided through a central and dedicated national museum team at IWM facilitated and enriched Centenary events, which attracted and engaged the public and deepened knowledge about the First World War.
“We joined the Partnership and we did not know how much help we would get. It made our project grow enormously. We were able to do so much more.”
Association, England, South East, First World War Centenary Partnership Evaluation Qualitative Research 2019, Sphere Insights
Use our national platform to support the cultural sector, widening access to IWM collections relating to the First World War
The Partnership proved to be a force for good, facilitating the delivery of Centenary programmes and in the process having an incremental impact at community level; enabling collaboration, stimulating activity, and positively impacting the profile of partner organisations and IWM.
“It was really important to have that logo and express the Partnership and the fact that we were working with a national museum, when as a Local Authority service we were going through immense difficulties in terms of the services we could provide.”
Local Government, Wales, First World War Centenary Partnership Evaluation Qualitative Research 2019, Sphere Insights
Build capacity and collaboration to increase and diversify audiences for the future, ensuring a lasting legacy for the centenary
The impact of the First World War Centenary Partnership is not only the knowledge acquired and the assets created, but also the partnerships formed and cemented, and the increased appetite for community engagement projects generated within organisations.
“They were really good at sharing and responsive, and worked in partnership with people and encouraged collaboration. It was a massive two-way process.”
Local Government, England, Yorkshire, First World War Centenary Partnership Evaluation Qualitative Research 2019, Sphere Insights
2016: The Battle of the Somme centenary
Legacy: sustaining and building on success
“I would certainly be interested in other events and working with them again.”
Museum, Northern Ireland, First World War Centenary Partnership Evaluation Qualitative Research 2019, Sphere Insights
The legacy of the First World War Centenary Partnership will be sustained by the War and Conflict Subject Specialist Network at IWM, funded by ACE and the Art Fund. The network will bring together organisations who look at conflict from the First World War to the present day, to build capacity, connections and confidence in the sector and improve the public understanding of war and conflict. It will build on and sustain the networks, good practice and lessons learnt throughout the centenary.
War and Conflict Subject Specialist Network
War and Conflict Subject Specialist Network
Launching in June 2020, the First World War Centenary digital portal will be a permanent space on the War and Conflict Subject Specialist Network webpages which will record how the First World War centenary was marked for future generations to explore. Future researchers will have access to an outline of the plethora of activity that happened during the centenary, and will signpost where users can find relevant content online and in archives. The War and Conflict Subject Specialist Network will share and develop sector knowledge of the digital preservation process, and establish and disseminate best practice guidelines. The digital portal is being funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).