Motherhood, Loss and the First World War

16 August 2018 | Bethany Reynard

Attend the Motherhood, Loss and the First World War conference and take part in the project.

A major collaborative conference is taking place on 5 and 6 September 2018 at Senate House in London, which is organised in partnership with the London Centre for Public History and the Institute of Historical Research.

The Motherhood, Loss and the First World War conference will bring together historians and community groups to explore maternal bereavement and the impact of the war on mothers. There will be a panel discussion will be held with community groups that have taken part in the project, discussing the impact of community commemoration projects, as well as evening events. Book tickets to the conference here.

The conference is part of the Motherhood, Loss and the First World War project which acknowledges the universality of bereavement as the defining experience of the First World War with a special focus on the impact on mothers — an overlooked aspect of grief from the period.

Motherhood, Loss and the First World War shares stories of women bereaved during the First World War, bringing to light their experiences and inviting communities across the country to remember them. The project has a special focus on women’s groups to respond to these stories in creative and meaningful ways, empowering isolated women by connecting them with their community, and developing citizenship, civil society and advocacy skills. Groups can take part in research, workshops and creative commemoration.

Free resources and an expenses scheme for small-scale funding are available for groups to get involved in the project. Discover more about Motherhood, Loss and the First World War at

Free conference events

During the conference there will be free evening events taking place. On 5 September, there will be a keynote speech by Susan R. Grayzel that will explore the varied voices of mourning British mothers during the First World War in order to uncover how they represented their national service and intensely personal sacrifice in their deepening engagement with public political debate. Book tickets to the keynote speech here.

On 6 September, there will be an evening of musical performance and readings exploring the experiences of mothers bereaved during the First World War. Book tickets to the evening performance here.

Community groups across the UK can apply for travel bursaries to attend the conference. Please email for further information and to apply. Funding is limited so it is recommended to apply early.

Motherhood, Loss and the First World War is led by Big Ideas and funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), with additional funding from a National Lottery grant from the Big Lottery Fund to work in the Home Nations.