The projects listed below are managed by either members of the War and Media Network, or external parties. Please use to the links provided to obtain more information about each event.
To include a project please email Sarah Maltby with the relevant details.
Memory of Fire Brighton Photo Biennial 2008
Entitled Memory of Fire: the War of Images and Images of War, Brighton Photo Biennial 2008 will explore photographic images of war, their making, use and circulation, and their currency in contemporary society.
The provocative writer and critic Julian Stallabrass will curate ten exhibitions presenting photography, film and online material produced and circulated in time of war, and analyse how images have been shaped by the changing social and political conditions from the Vietnam era to the present. The exhibitions will include images produced by photojournalists, artists and non-professionals.
Through these images, Brighton Photo Biennial 2008 will look at the conditions of conflict, power and displacement and the radically different perspectives of the opposing sides of various conflicts. It will also explore the collective and individual memory of such images, their forgetting and revision, and their rebirth at times of crisis and war.
For its third edition, the Biennial stretches its geographical boundaries to include venues in Bexhill on Sea, Chichester, Portsmouth and Winchester, and increases its presence in Brighton with three exhibition venues, a series of participatory and publicly sited projects, the new Cultural and Information Hub shared with Brighton Photo Fringe, events, talks, workshops and portfolio reviews.
Finally, BPB 2008 reaches the vast online community through this new website that functions as a platform for ideas and discussion around the theme of photography and conflict. Julian Stallabrass and a series of scholars and artists will inform and provoke with original essays and online projects; users from around the globe are invited to participate actively to the Biennial by posting comments and uploading images.
In Place of War researches theatre and performance practice from sites of crisis and armed conflict. The first decade of the 21 st century has witnessed multiple wars and humanitarian crises - connected to the instabilities of economic globalization, historical political grievance, global structural inequity and new forms of ecological threat. While the events of our contemporary 'times of blood and crime' are not without historical precedent, they have never before had such evident global reach, impact and interconnectedness.
This context presents significant ongoing challenges for artists and cultural workers working in sites of crisis and armed conflict. In Place of War is concerned with their work: with theatre and performance practice that exists because of wars, crises and disasters - and in spite of them.
In Place of War was launched in July 2004, this phase of the In Place of War project researched and created performance in sites of armed conflict as well as supporting and documenting performance work by artists and communities displaced by war. The project aimed to generate information and resources about how performance is responding to war which was used to create dialogue with practitioners and researchers internationally.
The project had 4 overriding research questions:
How do performance practitioners respond to war?
How do war-affected communities use performance during and immediately after war?
What ethical dilemmas arise from these practices?
What theoretical models can be developed for performance in place of war?
The next phase of In Place of War (2009 - 2011) is to support an international network of parctitioners and academics. It connects practitioners that struggle to negotiate new territories, identities and configurations of power.
It supports projects that exist in sites where the tensions and paradoxes of humanitarianism, democracy, development and globalization are at their most acute.
It aims to debate the role of theatre and performance in places where issues of reconciliation, remembrance and human rights are both complex and contradictory.
It validates arts practices that exist in these environments - and aims to raise questions about the ethical, aesthetic and political impact of this work.
In 2009 In Place of War published Performance In Place of War - a book documenting performance projects in war zones around the world. The current stage of the project aims to support existing partners, document their work and make it available for others, as well as to create new practice and encourage dialogue between artists. The aim is to support the work - and the analysis of the work.
The AHRC funded Noise of the Past project engages with the resident narratives of consecrated sites of war and memory. Working with the international, critically acclaimed musician Nitin Sawhney, the research project - in the form of an installation - is a creative response to exclusionary narrations of the nation, from the perspective of postcoloniality. Representing a disruptive noise to the performative enactment of the nation in stone, sound and ritual, it is now widely recognised that some stories and bodies have been drummed out of war and remembrance. This project seeks, through co-production, to explore how the noise of the past can be put into play in a series of interactions that make it possible to remember and converse beyond nationalistic and militaristic consensus. Methodologically activating a multicultural encounter, 'Noise of the Past' will publicly converse through multi-sensory modalities – of poetry, historical documents, music and visual art. This collaboration will unleash tension and incommensurability to produce new configurations of open-ended belongings to the nation.
Noise of the Past grew out of the film "Remembrance" where the director slowly reveals a distinguished gentleman through memories, objects and extracts of his subjects poetry, as a thoroughly British Service of Remembrance plays on the television in the background. To watch the flim click here for the link from the BBC website.
Legitimising the Discourses of Radicalisation:
Political Violence in the New Media Ecology
In the post-9/11 environment of media and conflict, the spread of the ideas and practices of radicalisation and terrorism appear to have been enabled through advances in 'user-generated' online Internet content (so-called 'Web 2.0').Our research adopts an innovative 'new media ecology' approach to illuminate how such views and acts are 'legitimated' and contested through (1) content analysis of the images, sounds and words (in articles, discussions, and videos) used by those who claim to hold radical views and who wish to legitimise or promote terrorist acts; (2) how the acts themselves and explanations for them on the web are 'picked up' and represented in mainstream television news media, through journalistic and editorial uses of words, phrases, graphics, images, videos and so on; and (3) how understandings and misunderstandings of this term 'radicalisation' are shaped via news reporting and representations, tested through interviews and focus group analysis with news publics in the UK and through international comparisons.
Our research asks: What is 'new', if anything, about these 'radicalising' discourses, what forms of knowledge are used to legitimate jihadist 'political' acts of violence and terror, and what is the role of the medias 'new' and traditional in amplifying or containing these claims and acts?
New Cultures Before and Beyond the Iraq War 2003
Shifting Securities examines changing relationships between government, media and multicultural publics in the UK. The Iraq War 2003 and subsequent events raise important questions about the impact of security policy on civil liberties and human rights, democratic participation and citizenship, and racialisation and securitisation. Our findings address the extent to which there has been a breakdown in trust between politicians, journalists and audiences/publics; what kind of revitalisation of democratic processes or media practices might help restore trust and credibility; and how audiences use and interpret the diverse, multilingual news menu available to them at a time of media transformation.
Developing informed policy options requires being responsive to the changing dynamics of these relationships. The research will contribute directly to both security and cultural/media policy. It will examine, test and challenge certain standard assumptions about the Information Economy and Network Society, the making and shaping of news, the ideological content of news, the effects of news content on audiences, and the consequences of new media for democratic debate, informed citizenship, and decision-making regarding military conflicts, terrorism and security issues. It will map ‘old’ and ‘new’ media strategies of political communication and propaganda through the interplay of three mutually shaping methodological strands:
(A) an ethnography of news consumption in multi-lingual news publics
(B) an analysis of (TV and internet) news narratives and iconographies of war and conflict
(C) a qualitative study of policy makers, news producers and ‘experts’ attitudes, beliefs and value regarding the media-security nexus.
Crucially, this involves a reflexive use of the data under analysis. Each of the data sets will help direct and focus the other in a spiralling, iterative manner. This will enable a flexible but rigorous framework for addressing policy, propaganda and public diplomacy issues adequate to understanding our intensively and extensively networked information society. The project would provide rich and robust data and analyses, reliable and relevant knowledge that would contribute much to tackling the challenges and opportunities of social integration and cultural cohesion in multicultural states like the UK.