This transdisciplinary project is uncovering the lives of Francophones in London during the war, more specifically in 1916. We are studying both the refugees and also permanently settled communities in the capital, and the interactions between these two separate groups and the British.
The project is run by Richard Grayson (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Charlotte Faucher (Queen Mary, University of London) in partnership with students (11 to 16 years old) and staff at the Lycée français Charles de Gaulle in South Kensington and NewVIc 6th Form College in Newham.
The project aims to broaden the historical perspective on the First World War initially among children of today’s Francophone community in London and lead them to act as historians. Students are conducting original research on an understudied topic, using sources (Francophone newspapers published in London) which historians have yet to explore. Non-francophone pupils are examining how the British press depicted Francophone communities and refuges.
Pupils from both schools will blog (in French and English) about their findings: some posts will be archival transcriptions, other will be analytical reflections on (part of ) the project.
By engaging in an exciting and innovative project to which they will be able to relate, they will describe, reflect and analyse the lives of Francophones in London during the war. In so doing the project takes a different perspective on the Home Front and the history of minorities in Britain during the war.
The project will lead to a bilingual exhibition which will be mobile and travel to a number of places over time.