Senior Lecturer in English Literature & Cultural History Dr Nadine Muller has been named one of this year’s Rising Star Engagement Award winners by the British Academy.
Nadine has been awarded £14,719 in recognition of her work to promote the role of Britain’s war widows, which will fund a series of five public in-conversation events about war widowhood in the UK in 2018.
The project, which was launched in 2016, is a collaboration with the War Widows Association of Great Britain and has already collected a series of recorded interviews, which have been published in print and online.
War Widows’ Stories aims to raise awareness of the everyday lives of war widows, past and present, by giving them the opportunity to tell their stories, and by creating resources that are freely available online and illustrate how war widows’ lives have changed over the centuries.
Nadine said: “I am thrilled that the public importance of War Widows’ Stories has been recognised by the British Academy with this award.
“It is crucial that the stories of war’s forgotten women are told and recorded and brought to the public’s attention, so that we can dispel the myths that continue to surround war widowhood today and gain a better understanding of the effects of conflicts past and present.”
She added: “The events we will organise as part of this award will be a great way of bringing War Widows’ Stories to the public and for us to begin talking to military history museums about how war widows’ voices can make engaging and revealing additions to their exhibitions.”
Every year, the nation commemorates the lives and sacrifices of those who have fought and fallen in service for their country, but little is known about the lives and experiences of the wives and families that service personnel and veterans leave behind.
The British public commonly imagine war widows to be elderly women who lost their husbands as a result of active combat in the Second World War, surrounded and supported by family, friends, the armed forces, and the state. While this applies to some women, it by no means describes the majority of Britain’s 18,950 war widows.
These new events will build on the project’s recorded interviews, research, and curated artefacts to help break the silence surrounding war widows past and present.
The discussions will explore the extraordinary circumstances war widows face and will shed light on the range of practical, psychological, economic, and social challenges they face encounter on a daily basis.
The events will bring together historians, war and service widows’ associations, and war widows to connect individual experiences with wider historical and political contexts in order to tell the stories of war’s forgotten women.
They will be held throughout 2018 in museums across England, Scotland, and Wales, including the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth, the Highlanders’ Museum in Fort George; and the Museum of the Queen’s Dragoon Guards and the Royal Welsh at Cardiff Castle.