Oxford University launches crowdfunding project to digitise First World War memories

By Rosemary Collins, 8 June 2017 - 9:27am

The Lest We Forget project will preserve the stories of the war for future generations


Lest We Forget is seeking support from members of the public for the project

Oxford University has announced a crowdfunding campaign for Lest We Forget, a project to help communities preserve memorabilia and personal accounts of the First World War digitally.

Lest We Forget has set a target of raising £40,000 by 5 July. If it is successful, it will roll out its digital champions training programme and digitisation events in the autumn.

The aim of the project is to help local communities digitise First World War photographs, diaries, letters, mementos, and family memories and oral histories, to commemorate the war before it slips from living memory.

The stories will then be accessible to the public on an online database, which will launch to mark the centenary of the end of the war in November next year.

Dr Stuart Lee, deputy chief information officer for IT services at Oxford University and project lead for Lest We Forget, said that safeguarding the memory of the First World War was “of critical importance to both honouring the sacrifice made by those who upended their lives or laid them down during the conflict and to the preservation of our national identity”.

The more money is raised from members of the public, the more resources Lest We Forget will be able to provide. For example, £40,000 will ensure Lest We Forget can launch a website, create 100 training packs, and run two training events at Oxford to train digital champions to run a collection day in their community.

£80,000 will pay to train around 70 digital champions and organise 15 outreach activities, as well as five in schools and five inter-generational workshops in care homes for the elderly.

The maximum target, £20,000, will pay for up to 20 regional collection days and for developing educational materials for use in the school curriculum, based on teachers’ submissions. At the time of writing, the project has already raised £1,052 from 23 donors since it launched on Monday.

Lest We Forget will be the third crowdfunding project on OxReach, the university’s crowdfunding platform for projects with a social reach.

Through OxReach, the university has already successfully raised £68,000 to fund the LIFE project, which uses mobile and virtual reality technologies to instruct on life-saving techniques for people in remote and developing communities, and £80,000 to treat African children born with clubfoot.

To help sponsor the campaign, please click here.

 

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