One year ago, ‘We’re here because we’re here’ left a lasting impression on millions of people in the UK. A new book about the event is being released that records that remarkable day and details how it was produced by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller, the National Theatre’s Director, Rufus Norris and 14-18 NOW – the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary. It was an event that reached 30 million people and humanised the great loss of life at the Battle of the Somme.
‘We’re here because we’re here’ saw some 1500 voluntary participants dressed in First World War uniform appear unexpectedly in locations across the UK. The project broke new ground in terms of its scale, breadth, reach and the number of partners and participants involved.
The book includes over 100 colour photographs which show the soldiers in a number of everyday scenarios, and some more extraordinary – including waiting in train stations, engaging with drivers at a Salisbury roundabout and walking up Mount Snowdon. Many of the images show the public’s interaction with the soldiers and their subsequent reactions to the event which left many people overwhelmed.
The book includes sketches and notes from Jeremy Deller’s notebook and a map of locations. The book also features an interview between Jeremy Deller and Jon Snow of Channel 4 News and more details about how the event was created and implemented on such a huge scale.
‘We’re here because we’re here’ was one of the largest arts participation projects ever staged in the UK, with hundreds of additional volunteers working behind the scenes. Jeremy Deller’s new book acts as a superb record of this remarkable event.