Modern Masculinity and The First World War

Every year we host a remembrance event that is meaningful to people today.

From November 2016 we ran a year-long project that explored the emotional impact of the first world war. We particularly focused 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 researched 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 seemed pertinent particularly for men, who may have shut down emotionally, thus modelling a form of masculinity to their children which is distant and invulnerable.

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 ran 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 focused on the male experience today.


Project Development Worker, Jack Derbyshire, is undertook research and collated it into an art installation / exhibition displayed in Union Chapel in November 2017.

As well as talking to members of the Men’s Groups Jack gathered people’s memories and stories from their own family history. He has spoke to a wide range of people who have a connection to Union Chapel and Islington. He encouraged 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.