Exeter City Football Club verses Brasileiros XI  21st of July 1914

Centenary celebrations of Brazil versus Exeter City FC

With the World Cup kicking off in Brazil, a special website and programme of events are being created to commemorate the historic match between the hosts and Exeter City Football Club 100 years ago. 

The Exeter City Football Club’s new Grecian Voices website has been produced utilising the expertise of the University of Exeter to further support the centenary celebrations in Exeter.

A digital archive of the club’s hundred year old history has been created, which has involved the archiving and digitisation of materials and advice on the design and content of the Grecian Voices website, which was designed by 1010 Media. This collaborative project involved the ECFC Supporters’ Trust, Gabriella Giannachi Professor of Performance and New Media, students, Digital Humanities and library staff at the University of Exeter.

The website marks the centenary of ECFC’s tour of South America, a trip which changed the history of football - with Exeter City becoming the first opponents of the Brazilian national football team. The digital archive project ensures a real commitment to the preservation of historical cultural collections,which, through the website, will enable wider access to them and the stories they can tell. 

Paul Farley, a trustee of the ECFC Supporters Trust, has been saving and collecting memorabilia associated with the club for the last ten years. A broad range of documents and memorabilia is in the collection, including historic photographs of the match in Rio de Janeiro, in which Exeter lost against Brazil 2 – 0.

Mr Farley said:“Working in partnership with the University to record, save and share our heritage has been a highlight of my first three years as a Trustee. As community director for the Trust and as part of our need to promote the Trust locally and nationally, the University has been at the core of all our recent activities. The project has allowed the club to save material in a safe and methodical way, alongside the digitalisation which will ensure that we are able to share our incredible history with a wider audience.”

Five students were trained by staff from the University’s library with a background in working with archive collections that were able to show the students how to list items properly and handle historic materials. The students were also assisted in developing their abilities in digitisation. A combination of all the skills learnt had the added bonus for the students’ general skills and employability.

Professor Giannachi led the project as part of a broader programme of activities about how best to engage audiences creatively in digital materials from collections and archives.

The collaboration with ECFC originates from ‘Time Trails’ which consists of a mobile web app prototype enabling the public to experience archival and collection materials whilst walking through the streets of Exeter. The mobile app was developed collaboratively between Professor Giannachi, research student Will Barrett, 1010 Media, ECFC and Royal Albert Memorial Museum(RAMM). It was tested with children who attend the Football in the Community group as part of the Kick Start scheme at ECFC, which offers children new skills and individualised learning programme. 

Professor Giannachi said:“The aim is to engage audiences in creating community archives and facilitate mobile learning, thus hopefully engaging and reaching communities that do not ordinarily visit museums.”

The mobile football App is the first football trail and heritage device that enables people to digitally explore Exeter’s football heritage. It facilitates the ability to both find out about the clubs history and gives access to places and bits of the city that no longer exist, such as the Red Lion Inn, where ECFC was formed on Sidwell St. 

Will Barrett, a lifelong Exeter City fan and University of Exeter researcher involved in the project explained:“The App provides a bite sized history of the football club and digestible pieces of information that not only traces the club at St James’s but across the city. It can provide a window into the past and make connections between the football club and the city which may not be apparent. The development plans for the tour to Brazil came via an unexpected link between McGahey tobacconists, a shop still exits on the High Street.”

He added:“When the eyes of the world are on Brazil during the World Cup, we know that their first international game was against Exeter. The clubs heritage is incredible, it’s evolving and this App enables contemporary memories to be added to the map.  Fans can add recent memories about what may have happened in the crowd, highlight the best local eateries to stop off at post or pre match celebration, which chant generated the loudest roar – so many things which add to the richness of the club can now be shared.”

The series of commemorative activities started with the exhibition Have you ever played Brazil? curated by Kiera Gould and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. It is available on line as part of the Grecian Voices website and will be touring venues around the city throughout 2014.

The exhibition will also be on display at the University of Exeter where it will coincide with performances of The Day we Played Brazil a play by Nick Stimson which opens on 17 July at the Northcott Theatre.

Date: 9 June 2014

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