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Pictures speak a thousand words

28 October 2014

Images created during the First World War are to be on show and debated at a free event at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea.

The Visual Culture of the First World War conference is organised by the Cartooning the First World War project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and led by Professor Chris Williams, Head of Cardiff University's School of History, Archaeology and Religion.

Running over two days (13-14 November), the conference includes talks by leading historians and First World War experts, displays and presentations on a range of community projects, and the unveiling of an artwork created by the winner of the project's nationwide school competition.

Cartooning the First World War Project Officer, Dr Rhianydd Biebrach, says: "This is such an exciting way of marking the centenary of the war and it is fitting that it is happening so close to Remembrance Sunday. We are focussing on the ways in which the war has been interpreted visually through paintings, drawings, cartoons and the like, and I think that's something that everybody can respond to and have an opinion about. We warmly welcome young and old to join us at this free public event."

Speakers at the conference include leading academic experts from as far away as Germany and Australia: Professor Paul Gough (Melbourne Institute of Technology), Bettina Müller (University of Heidelberg), and Dr Nick Hiley (British Cartoon Archive, University of Kent at Canterbury), in addition to historians from Cardiff University; Dr Toby Thacker and Professor Chris Williams.

Representatives of First World War projects funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund from all over Wales will be on hand to showcase the ways in which their communities have been getting involved in the commemorations. Exhibitors will include Blaenau Gwent Libraries, Cardiff Castle, Heritage Lottery Fund, Prosiect Gwrol Ryfelwyr Caersalem Newydd, Firing Line Museum, Lewis School, Pengam, Tenby Museum and Yr Ysgwrn – The home of Hedd Wyn, Snowdonia.

For more information and to book a place at the Visual Culture of the First World War conference, visit the Eventbrite page or contact the project team via their website

Cartooning the First World War brings together all the wartime newspaper cartoons of Joseph Morewood Staniforth ('JMS'), which originally appeared in the British Sunday paper the News of the World and the Cardiff daily paper the Western Mail. Over 1300 cartoons document the war's changing fortunes and the ways in which the conflict was experienced and represented by one of the most popular visual artists of the time. Each cartoon is presented with explanatory notes and with an open invitation to users to comment on the image and its possible meanings. The cartoons are accompanied by a range of resources which help to contextualise the cartoonist, his work, and the newspapers which published him.

Follow the project on Twitter @CartoonWW1

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