CFP Interpreting Telecommunications in the Great War

Interpreting Telecommunications in the Great War: A workshop for museum interpreters, archivists and historians

Supported by the AHRC-funded project:
Innovating in Combat: telecommunications and intellectual property in the First World War

Friday 28 June 2013 9am – 4pm

Centre for History & Philosophy of Science, University of Leeds
in partnership with the Museum of History of Science, University of Oxford

Call for contributions

Telecommunications and their interception have been major features of military – and civilian – life since the early twentieth century. But much more is known about these issues for the Second World War than the First World War. As the centenary approaches what can we say that appeals to a broad range of audiences?

Interpretive themes for discussion include:

  • Innovation: Who were the military and civilian innovators in telecommunications and in interception techniques in the Great War? What kinds of institutional support did they have?
  • Secrecy: How far did concerns for security and secrecy shape the development of telecommunications before, during and after the First World War? What other factors mattered?
  • Usage: What were the benefits and risks of using wireless, telephones and telegraphic Fullerphones in wartime? Of what comparative significance was effective usage of these to the war’s outcome?
  • Rewards: Why were telecommunication innovations patented even during wartime? How significant were other such reward structures as post-war compensation and promotion?

Themes for discussion relating to public engagement include:

  • Plans for WWI centenary exhibitions
  • Funding applications for WWI centenary projects
  • Collaborative projects between universities, museums, archives, military organisations etc

Confirmed speakers from the Innovating in Combat project include:

Liz Bruton and Graeme Gooday, Centre for History & Philosophy of Science, University of Leeds;
Charlotte Connelly, Content Developer (Making Modern Communications) at Science Museum;
Charlotte Dando, Collections Manager at Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, Cornwall;
David Hay, Head of Heritage & Corporate Memory at British Telecom;
Stephen Johnston, Acting Museum Director at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford;
Claire Jones, Director of Museum of History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Leeds;
Anne Locker, Head archivist at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) archives.

If you are interested in presenting please submit a 200 word summary by 31 May 2013 to Elizabeth Bruton at For all other enquiries, including registration, please use this same address.

About the project: Innovating in Combat is a one-year collaborative project between University of Leeds and the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.


Leave a Reply