We are delighted to be able to share with you the material from ‘Behind the Wire: Civilian Internment in the British Empire, 1914-1919’. Here is Prof Stefan Manz, Academic Lead, to introduce the exhibition:

“We are very pleased to put our exhibition ‘Behind the Wire’ online for everyone to enjoy. Our initial plan was to wait until all public venues had finished their showings – but then COVID-19 came along and led to the closure of museums, libraries and other public spaces. In this difficult time, it is all the more important that all of us have access to culture and heritage.

If anything, the current lockdown has shown how relevant it is to study First World War internment. Many people worldwide are experiencing issues that are strikingly similar to those shown in the exhibition: enforced social disconnection, worries about the future, boredom, anxiety, disruption of professional life. However, the exhibition also demonstrates that it is possible to avoid the depressive ‘Barbed Wire Disease’ through cultural and physical activity. This will throw a different light on everyone’s personal coping strategies in lockdown.

By browsing through the panels you will be in good company. Since November 2018 the exhibition has been seen by over 20,000 visitors in public venues across the UK, Ireland, Canada, the United States and South Africa. We hope you will now enjoy the online experience just as much as a visit to your local museum.”

Prof Stefan Manz
Aston University Birmingham
May 2020

Watch the introductory video below and then view the exhibition here.