New Focus at House of Commons

We’re thrilled that New Focus, our young people’s collective for 16 to 25 year olds, has been invited attend a special parliamentary reception at the House of Commons on 31 October 2018. The event is being held by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to celebrate the contribution of communities in marking the centenary of the First World War. New Focus is one of twelve groups, selected from over 2,200 projects from the UK, that has been invited to showcase their contribution.

The National Lottery has helped millions of people across the UK explore the First World War during the centenary. New Focus were awarded £34,400 from HLF to run a year-long project, No Man’s Land: Young People Uncover Women’s Viewpoints on the First World War. Working in partnership with Impressions Gallery, The Peace Museum in Bradford, the University of Leeds and IWM (Imperial War Museums), the young people investigated photographs made by women who worked as nurses, ambulance drivers, and official photographers, as well as peace campaigners. New Focus created an innovative educational publication for other young people, bringing to life the First World War through the eyes of women.

The special reception is being hosted by Dr Andrew Murrison MP, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for the Centenary of the Great War, on behalf of the Heritage Lottery Fund. Chief Executive of HLF, Ros Kerslake, will make a speech about difference the funding has made and reflect upon the First World War and how the UK has marked it. All Members of Parliament and Peers have been invited.

Anne McNeill, Director of Impressions Gallery, said “It’s a huge honour for New Focus be selected to showcase No Man’s Land at this prestigious event, and reflects the positive impact the project has had on young people, schools and communities in Bradford and beyond”. Asiya Hussain, New Focus member, said “We’re really excited about being invited to go to the House of Commons and talk to MPs about No Man’s Land. We are very grateful for the support from National Lottery Players and the Heritage Lottery Fund, who make the project possible. It’s been an amazing journey, and we feel really lucky that we were able to find out about some of the inspiring women who experienced the First World War, and share their stories with other young people.”

Explaining the importance of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) support, the Head of the HLF in Yorkshire and the Humber, David Renwick, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. It’s great to see National Lottery funding has enabled young people at Impressions Gallery to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict, in particular the contribution of women.”

No Man’s Land: Young People Uncover Women’s Viewpoints on the First World War is led by New Focus at Impressions Gallery with heritage partners The Peace Museum Bradford; University of Leeds; and The First World War Centenary Partnership, led by IWM. The project is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund: Young Roots. The curatorial research for the accompanying exhibition No Man’s Land is supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the Peter E. Palmquist Memorial Fund for Historical Photographic Research.