Courage of Conscience Special Event

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Invitation to Courage of Conscience event…

CoC Poster

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Courage of Conscience Special Event

 Courage of Conscience Special Event 
Courage of Conscience is about the 1st World War Conscientious Objectors in Derbyshire and has involved young people in a creative interpretation of the research. It has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
There will an exhibition about the research and the local conscientious objectors, and performances by young people who have taken part in the project. Chris Fuller, from ‘York Against the War’ will  also give a brief talk about the anti-war movement during the 1st World War.
The event is at the Donut Studio , Spring Bank Rd, Chesterfield,  S401NL  at 6.00 p.m. on Thursday 23rd June. Light refreshments will be provided on arrival, but please let us know if you have any special dietary needs.
Entry is free, but as numbers are limited we would really appreciate it if you could let us know by 3rd June, if you are able to come, and how many places you would like to reserve, by emailing
or text Sue Owen on  07768 927669. 
The project is initiated by Chesterfield ProPeace and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund
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Are you ….    16 – 30? Interested in…   World War 1 & its untold stories? The arguments for & against war? Writing stories & drama? Seeing your work performed & in print?

Volunteers needed to take part in free creative workshops

Create your own stories, poetry or drama using original historical research on Derbyshire’s WW1 conscientious objectors. Your work may be published online & in print, & could be performed at the project’s final celebration event. No previous writing or research experience needed – all are welcome  Travel expenses are provided. NB Next workshop on Sat 6th Feb is at Derbyshire Record Office, Matlock 10.30- 12.30

Workshops led by the writer River Wolton, assisted by Katherine Robinson and Matt Knighton.

Interested in taking part? If so please email Ali Betteridge, Literature Development Officer, Derbyshire County Council at or ring her on 01773  831359

Workshop Dates:

Saturday 6th February 2016, 10.30 – 12.30 at Derbyshire Record Office, Matlock

Saturday 12th March 2016, 11am -1pm at Chesterfield Library

Saturday 16th April 2016, 11am – 1pm at Chesterfield Library

Saturday 14th May 2016, 11am – 1pm at Chesterfield Library

Thursday 23rd June 2016   celebration event and performance

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Artist to lead event featuring war resisters from around the globe

Disobedient soldiers, feisty feminists and a Maori princess will all be featured in a free workshop and talk, celebrating the people and movements opposed the First World War from 1.30pm on Saturday 13 June at Chesterfield Library.

The event, a visual celebration of the people and movements that opposed the First World war, will be led by artist Emily Johns and researcher Gabriel Carlyle, and is based around a series of ten posters created by Emily last year to mark the World War 1 centenary. Copies of the posters, and accompanying 100-page booklet, will be available to purchase at the event, which is being organised by PropeaceChesterfield as part of the Courage of Conscience project.

Emily Johns said: ‘The First World War centenary (2014-2018) is being accompanied by a tidal wave of events, exhibitions, TV series, books and commemorations. However, the histories and stories of the people and organisations from around the globe that opposed the slaughter are receiving little or no attention. Neither saints nor superhumans, these people nonetheless exhibited a form of heroism that can inspire and strengthen us all today: the moral courage to stand up for your principles – often at great personal risk – despite massive social pressures to do the opposite.’

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Chesterfield Library Lecture Theatre

from1pm – 3.30pm


Cyril Pearce, retired lecturer from Leeds University and leading authority on First World War Conscientious Objectors, will speak about his extensive research and how to explore local resources for more information. He is the author of “Comrades in Conscience”, has compiled a database of Conscientious Objectors, and will explain how to use it.  


Everyone is welcome.
Admission free

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Welcome to Courage of Conscience

Propeace Chesterfield has been awarded £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund through their First World War: then and now programme. The money will fund an exciting local project called Courage of Conscience which will discover and celebrate the stories of Derbyshire conscientious objectors, other resisters to the war, and their families.

Local and national research is the first phase of the project. So the group would be delighted to hear from local people about their stories of resistance to World War 1. 

The Courage of Conscience project kicks off with two public meetings about local stories of resistance to the war and how everyone can help to find out more to contribute to the archives. The first will be at Chesterfield Labour Club on Saturday 29 November 2014, at 7pm, when Ben Copsey, Project Officer at the Peace Pledge Union, will talk about George Benson and others imprisoned for their stand, whose stories are held in the records of the Peace Pledge Union. Everyone is welcome to attend. See listings and advert for more information.

And at 1.00 p.m. on Saturday 17 January 2015 at Chesterfield Library Cyril Pearce, retired lecturer from Leeds University and authority on First World War conscientious objectors, will speak about his extensive research and how to explore local resources for more information. He is the author of “Comrades in Conscience” and has compiled a database of Conscientious Objectors, which he will explain.

Using the research, River Wolton, a former Derbyshire poet laureate will work with young writers in Derbyshire to create their own responses.If you are between 16 and 30 and this interests you please email us at

Gertie Whitfield from Whitworks will also be creating history and drama materials based on the real experiences for use in classrooms in local schools. Finally the information will be available through a new Courage of Conscience website, the Propeace website, and the Derbyshire Record Office „ Derbyshire Lives in the First World War‟ website.
Sue Owen from PropeaceChesterfield said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund for our Courage of Conscience project. We hope to raise awareness about the brave men and women who went against the national tide of opinion and enormous government and public pressure, and remained true to their principles by opposing the war and refusing to take up arms. We are really keen to hear from anyone who has any information about the conscientious objectors in Derbyshire, or would like to do research or be involved in the project in any way, so please get in touch with us.”

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