One of the key aims of the institutions engagement and knowledge exchange strategy is to ensure productive long-term relationships and collaborations with partners and customers on a regional basis.
This project allows a mutually beneficial matching of complementary expertise: the Research Associate will contribute knowledge of historical research to identify and uncover key aspects of local history, while the partner will contribute knowledge of how such research can be used to enhance and promote local understanding of the past through public engagement and outreach. It aims to be an example of best practice for researchers at the university looking to work with local council organisations. More specifically the project will serve as a pilot for a wider collaborative investigation of the civilian experience of World War Two in Kent.
The project will act as a key site of intergenerational dialogue around themes of civilian resilience and survival in times of difficulty and crisis. In that sense, it provides a framework for the mobilising of a wealth of social experience and capital that can be placed at the disposal of the wider community. It will enable older members of the community in possession of that capital to meet with younger audiences in inspiring and engaging ways. It will offer those younger audiences the opportunity to experience at first hand the value of research into one’s past, the excitement and intrigue inherent in developing one’s historical knowledge and awareness, and understand the role that university-based researchers can play in opening up this dimension of human experience.