War Child, conceived by Dr Teresa Murjas of the department of Film, Theatre and Television, is a digital project about the Evacuee Archive held by the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL).

The archive consists of written memoirs, oral history interviews and research material relating to former evacuees and war-children gathered by the university’s Research Centre for Evacuee and War Child Studies. The largest resource of its kind outside London’s Imperial War Museum, the archive grew out of the research of Martin Parsons, a now retired academic colleague. Dr Murjas engaged with Professor Parsons’ complex experience as the originator of the archive, and, in War Child, co-created an innovative web-based resource – a mixed-media ‘book’ dramatising Professor Parsons’ story and incorporating audio material, video footage and photography, bound together with text and written stories.

At a time when many children around the world continue to be displaced because of conflict, War Child not only captures aspects of the history of the University and its archives, but also provides an international resource for the public, academics and researchers, museum and heritage professionals and mixed-media creative practitioners. Dr Murjas explores Jacques Derrida’s belief that “the archive is never closed. It opens out of the future.”

Shortlisted for the University Research Engagement and Impact Awards 2017

First published: June 2017