Educational resources

Facial injury and disfigurement

These resources originate from the 1914FACES2014 INTERREG-funded research project (2013-15), a collaboration between the University of Exeter, the Institut Faire Faces and the Université de Picardie Jules Verne. The project is concerned with the legacy of the facially injured soldiers of the First World War and includes historians, surgeons, psychologists and scholars working across literary and visual culture and the medical humanities.

Facial injury and disfigurement since the First World War

Unprecedented numbers of servicemen received facial injuries during the First World War. Estimates put the numbers of facially injured at over 60,000 in the UK alone. Many required complex and difficult surgery, which led to the development of new techniques. At the same time, society had to think in new ways about how to react to people with a disfigurement.

This is an aspect of First World War history we think deserves to be better known. At the same time, addressing this subject gives us an opportunity to think about how we understand and respond to disfigurement today. These two aims underlie the questions highlighted in both resource packs.

There are two resource packs, which are available to download from this page:

1. First World War Facial Injury & Reconstructive Surgery

These resources look at the history of the facially injured soldiers of the First World War and the ways in which medicine and society responded to their needs. They are particularly suitable for GCSE syllabi concerned with Surgery in the Industrial Modern World and the impact of the First World War on surgery, or Middle School syllabi in the USA. Although we often think of Archibald McIndoe as the pioneer of facial reconstructive surgery, in fact crucial work was undertaken during the First World War by Sir Harold Gillies.

(i) WWI facial surgery – educational resources
(ii) WWI facial surgery – teacher's pack‌‌
(iii) WWI facial surgery- French version pdf(iii) WWI facial surgery- French version pdf
(iv) WWI facial surgery- French version ppt

2. Disfigurement and Representing the Face

These resources consider how disfigurement is viewed today and look back at First World War facial injury. They are particularly suitable for PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) at key stage 3 and 4 in the UK and for English and History GCSE in the UK, or Middle School in the USA.

(i) Disfigurement and representation – educational resources‌
(ii) Disfigurement and representation – teacher's pack‌

For each pack there are two files:

(i) Resources
(ii) Teacher’s pack

Please download any which may be useful to you.

We are always happy to have feedback on these resources, via email.

For more information and resources about appearance and disfigurement please visit Changing Faces website, caring campaigners who work to help people with a disfigurement.