Prof Chris Williams
Cartooning the First World War - J. M. Staniforth (chief cartoonist, News of the World and Western Mail) published approximately 1350 cartoons during the First World War. Of these, 1172 were published in the Cardiff daily the Western Mail and 175 were published on the front page of the British Sunday newspaper the News of the World. Staniforth’s cartoons constitute a remarkable, near-daily record of his responses to the events and challenges of the war. They are a rich, fascinating source easily accessible for a general audience interested in the war. They also suggest something as to the nature of Welsh (and – via the News of the World -- British) public opinion during the period. The Western Mail was the largest selling daily newspaper in Wales and reported on all matters of national and international importance. The News of the World was the largest selling Sunday paper in Britain with an estimated circulation of 3 million copies.
Project aims: This project aims to make all Staniforth’s wartime cartoons available to the general public via an interactive website, involving volunteers at all stages of the process. Participants (both the volunteers and members of the public viewing the cartoons on the website once it is launched) will have the opportunity to make observations as to the supposed intention of the cartoonist, and whether the cartoon contains any ambiguities of meaning (whereby readers may have drawn different conclusions from the cartoon than those originally intended by the artist).
Funder: Heritage Lottery Fund
Project value: £69,400
Methods: Copies of all cartoons will be taken from microfilmed newspapers and then digitised. Digitised images will be cleaned to remove extraneous scratches or dirt, and text data will be reentered. Each cartoon will then be supplemented with information regarding its context (the events, episodes or people to whom the cartoon makes reference or by which it has been prompted), content (any literary, classical, artistic or popular cultural references contained within the cartoon) and reaction (any evidence of public response to the cartoon).
Activities: The project will incorporate a series of public talks, held across Wales, aimed at a general audience. There will be a one day conference on the theme of cartoons and war, held in conjunction with Llafur, the Welsh People’s History Society.
Additional information: Resource packs linked to the WJEC curriculum will be developed and made available to all schools.