The On the Sideline project is based in Derby. The project enables local people in

Derby and the Midlands to come together to explore the British East and West

African Campaign and its Black Soldiers who fought during WW1, also known in

Africa as the Great War, through photographs.

The project offers workshops to participants and trains volunteers in archiving,

research and interpretation as well as providing visits to the Imperial War Museum

and other archives to inspect heir collection of photographs. These photographs

enable the volunteers to interpret the stories in a new way.

Although the Great War had a global impact on communities, families and individuals, there has been relatively minor coverage of the involvement of Black, Arab and Indian African soldiers under British command during the conflict. The East and West African Campaigns, although sometimes considered a sideshow for Britain, was very real for those in Africa where many indigenous Africans lost their lives in combat or through diseases.

Participants and volunteers will be helped to understand why Africa and other colonies were involved in something that was characterised as a European war.

We would like to share the information by creating a booklet with the information we find. To this end, we will be working in partnership with Nottingham University’s “The Centre for Hidden Histories” and supported by the Derby Community Trust, Derby Museum and historians Dr Anne Samson and Emeritus Professor David Killingray.

The project is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and supported by the following organisations:

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