Modern Masculinity and The First World War

Every year we host a remembrance event and as we approach the 100th anniversary of the end of The First World War we wanted to mark it in a way that is meaningful to people today.

From November 2016 we’re running a year-long project that will explore the emotional impact of the first world war. We’ll particularly focus on the long terms effects of ‘shell-shock’. Now defined as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it wasn’t fully recognised or treated at the time.

We’ll research the idea that the lack of support in addressing the traumatic impact of the war may have impacted families and future generations.  That unresolved trauma may be passed down and carried on. This issue seems pertinent particularly for men, who may have shut down emotionally, thus modelling a form of masculinity to their children which is distant and invulnerable.


What we’re doing:

Men’s Groups

Studies show that there are high rates of suicide and isolation amongst young men today, and that many men find it hard to talk about their feelings or open up in relationships. As part of this project we are running men’s groups in the Chapel, looking at the challenges men face in contemporary society.

Although the project has a focus on war, the group itself will be focused on the male experience today.


Project Development Worker, Jack Derbyshire, is undertaking research and collating it into an art installation / exhibition which will be displayed in Union Chapel in November 2017.

As well as talking to members of the Men’s Groups who feel they’d like to contribute Jack has also been gathering people’s memories and stories from their own family history. He has spoken to a wide range of people who have a connection to Union Chapel and Islington. Encouraging them to share stories about their relatives who fought in the First World War and the impact that it has had through the generations.

Remembrance Event

Sunday 12th November 2017

With a conference during the day to explore thoroughly the results of the research into the long term, cross-generational effects of shell shock. Followed by an evening performance inspired by the research done over the past year.