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University of Leeds

WW1 Heroism: Through Art and Film

University of Leeds via FutureLearn


The centenary of the First World War is a time for reflection and exploration. In this short course you will discover just some of the ways that heroism is portrayed through art and film.

You will explore recruitment posters and the messages they portrayed for both those going to war and those staying at home, as well as researching WW1 art and reflecting upon a painting you have chosen. You will then move on to explore contemporary German film, consolidating your learning by reviewing a recent book, film, or TV programme about the First World War.

This course is part of the Going to University collection which has been specifically designed for students at schools and colleges. They provide a taster of undergraduate study at the University of Leeds and help students to decide which subject to study at university.

Completion of the courses will also enhance students’ university applications.

The courses can also be used as a teachers’ classroom enrichment resource.

Courses in this collection are also great for people that want an introduction in the specific subjects discussed in each course.


  • WW1 heroism: portrayed through art
    • Welcome
    • British recruitment posters
    • WW1 paintings
    • Summary
  • Heroism and film
    • About Week 2
    • Contemporary German films.
    • Film reviews
    • What next?

Taught by

Alison Fell


4.6 rating, based on 61 Class Central reviews

4.4 rating at FutureLearn based on 75 ratings

Start your review of WW1 Heroism: Through Art and Film

  • Anonymous

    I absolutely loved WW1 Heroism: Through Art and Film! It was an incredibly informative and engaging course that provided a unique perspective on WW1. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the war and its impact on art and film.
  • Anonymous
    I talk about art, but whatever your background this course really helps you to understand so much about the literature of the period and both British and German perspectives.
    Great introduction, that totally absorbs you in to the course.
    Really thought provoking and introduced me to so many previously unseen posters and the intense propoganda that forced men into war and pressurised women to tell them to 'GO'.

    Thank you for putting the course together.
  • Anonymous
    I highly recommend this course it was informative and educational. The course is well layout and and easy to follow. Lots of audio and videos relating to the subject.
  • Anonymous
    A very thorough and detailed introduction to all the areas of study and excellent resources to enlarge knowledge and understanding. I think the encouragement to share ideas with others on the course was particularly useful and involving. Commenting and writing a review were well introduced and supported - I found it difficult because I realised I had chosen a topic that I couldn't readily explore within the word limit, my fault for not taking a careful look at the excellent listed suggestions. Nevertheless I really enjoyed the experience and learnt a lot from doing it. Many thanks for the splendid tutors and presenters.
  • Anonymous
    The course is split into two weeks, one covering art and posters, the other covering film. What the course does not do is to answer the question of what is a hero? It suggests that all were heroes in their own way. Men fighting on the front, women n…
  • Anonymous
    The content and structuring of this course are excellent, impressing me with how much additional work it must be for school teachers during the Covid 19 pandemic to re-format their lessons from live classroom events to online.The variety of material…
  • Anonymous
    A very insightful, informative and enjoyable course. The video content, discussion forums and book/film recommendations were all food for thought.
  • Anonymous
    Amazing and interesting course. Learnt a lot of this period of History. I definitely recommend it.
    The topics, the videos, the articles are very useful and interesting. You can take the course whether you have studied History or not. If you like History, this is a good way to enhance your knowledge.
  • James Stella
    I very much enjoyed learning from this course. I was able to take some different perspectives into account as I went through each of the steps. In particular the videos from the university staff were quite informative and enjoyable.
  • Anonymous
    I liked this course quite much, especially the first week. It gave an insight into some aspects often left aside, such as the way soldiers were called to arms. I wish more would have been said, especially from the point of view of the characteristics of the hero and how the perspective changed (a great deal of work was left to the personal research and interpretation). The second week was based on films - modern interpretations of heroes, mainly. This aspect was less interesting, because it is from a comtemporary point of view. Nevertheless, I would take the course again, as it gave me something to work on as a teacher and an opportunity to consider different aspects of the Great War with my students
  • Anonymous
    I am am a retired American history prof, but have never taught this particular era of history. And we do not have memorials to those lost in the Great War as is present in the English churches and communities I have had the chance to visit. I chose…
  • Anonymous
    I took this course since I was watching by my self many WWI films. This course helped me somehow to put this in perspective. However, I expected more tutorials and guidance by the teachers. The comments of the other pupils were not very helpful in general, there was not a sense of group in the making of the course. I think he reason was to have at the same time people following arts, literature and cinema and we did not watch/read the same works. Interesting though.
  • Anonymous
    The course is very consice and easy to follow, I felt that I was able to use my imagination in completing the tasks and enjoyed hearing from other people taking part. In upgrading I was able to do an interesting quiz, I'm getting a certificate and have been able to keep checking on the things I wrote and other people's comments. Also, I think since its free, that upgrading was a worthwhile investment and acknowledgement of the courses good quality content. I am currently doing another course from 'Future Learn' about work/life compatiblity, which is also good.
  • Anonymous
    A well taught varied course covering posters, art and films of the First World War in a thought provoking and stimulating way. In each of the areas of learning after introductory clear lectures one was asked to focus on a poster, a painting and a film of one's own choice. This was a very useful exercise ensuring that you looked at a wide range of each genre before making one's final choice and then it enabled you to apply what you had learnt earlier in the course. An excellent course only wished it could have been longer. Thank you.
  • Therese Reynolds
    Absolutely wonderful! Very enlightening as to the methods used to enlist interest & support for a war that was only to last months. This was the war to end all wars, yet here it is, nearly the eve of 2019, and war is ever present. Please consider taking this class as an introduction into how easily war can be enacted & how desperately a nation is willing to contend for victory against an aggressor.
  • Anonymous
    I found this to be really interesting and reflective course. It was a good pace and very clearly explained along the way. I learnt a lot of new things about Heroism and how this was portrayed in WW1 and am inspired to read more and watch more about it.
    I did spend longer than the recommended 2 hours per week on the course, I guess its a very individual thing, but I probably spent 3-3.5 hours per week on it, so 6-7 hours in total.
    Highly recommend this course!
  • Anonymous
    A great course- i found it very self-explanatory to follow and learnt a lot. there were some really interesting ideas and facts in it- i feel i have really developed my pre-existing knowledge. although you have an opportunity to buy a certificate this isn't necessary and you don't miss out on anything. i think this a great two week course to learn something new and keep yourself occupied during quarantine!
  • Anonymous
    I found it on future learn. I feel it had a lot less 'meat' than other FL offerings. This is not to say that what was there was not interesting but it just seemed a bit threadbare. I suppose the underexplored ideas and 'bold' statements with little support were what got to me.
    Strikes me it is more of an ad. to get people to sign up for a FT course at the host Uni. Not sure if it would work for that purpose to be honest.
  • Anonymous
    I liked this course, It makes us reflect on the First War in an art context, we are even invited to reflect on how the same war is portrayed in series, films, among other forms of contemporary art. Very good.
  • Anonymous
    I like art and history so I thought this course would be good for me now that I have time.
    This course was more than I expected, I enjoyed all the material they shared on their platform, and the links they shared in the "downloads section" are now in my "reading list" or "favorites". I highly recommend this course to whoever likes art and history.

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