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Leading artists from around the world to create works marking the First World War centenary
Ernest Brooks: Men of the 8th Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment going up to the line near Frezenberg during the Third Battle of Ypres, 1917. Photo: © IWM (Q 2978).

LONDON.- A programme of special commissions by leading artists from Britain and around the world will mark the centenary of the First World War as part of the UK’s official centenary commemorations. The programme, under the title 14-18 NOW, will be launched in early 2014.

The programme will centre around three key moments: 4 August 2014 (Anniversary of the Declaration of War), July 2016 (start of the Battle of the Somme) and November 2018 (Centenary of the Armistice). The first events will take place from June to August next year, leading up to a large-scale event in which everyone can take part on 4 August 2014 to mark the actual centenary of the outbreak of war.

Perceptions of the First World War have been shaped to a great extent by the artists of the time: the poets, writers, painters, photographers, composers and film-makers, many of whom served, who reflected on the war and considered its effects on people and society. Now, one hundred years later, contemporary artists from the UK and around the world have been invited to look afresh at the First World War and the wider social, political, scientific and technological developments of the period, exploring the full range of their resonance today.

The aim is to engage communities all over the UK, with a particular focus on young people. For this, artists working across all art forms will be commissioned to create works that engage young people both as audiences and as participants.

To deliver the commissions, 14-18 NOW will work in partnership with cultural organisations across the UK including for example the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Opera House, Tate Liverpool and Liverpool Biennial, Welsh National Opera and National Theatre Scotland as well as many others. It will also seek to collaborate and work in partnership with many of the other countries that took part in the First World War.

The BBC is a key partner and will present a number of projects as part of the programme including events as part of the BBC Proms. Channel 4 is also involved.

The 14-18 NOW programme will be funded by £10 million granted from the National Lottery including The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Arts Council England (ACE) which will contribute £5million each. The Board will also undertake additional fundraising.

Jenny Waldman is the Director of 14-18 NOW.

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