Visualising War in Different Media: Interplay and Intervention

An immersive workshop organised by Alice König (arw6@st-andrews.ac.uk

Monday 8th April 2019

The aim: This immersive workshop will offer researchers an opportunity to reflect, in an interdisciplinary context, on two important issues at the heart of the Visualising War research project: the power of different media to generate varying responses to war for different viewers/audiences in different periods and places; and the ways in which interaction between different media can influence our reception of individual narratives and broader habits of visualising war. Following on from the project’s recent Ethics of Engagement workshop, there will be a particular focus on war stories as ‘interventions’, with input from researchers, artists and performers. In particular, we will consider the ways in which recent and historic representations of war (in various media) have intervened in public and private discourse, shifting attitudes, memories and experiences. We will also discuss the opportunities and responsibilities that today’s researchers/story-tellers have to generate further interventions, by unpicking or amplifying narratives that might productively shape future discourses of war/conflict.

The programme

1.15 registration at the Byre Theatre, level 2; 1.30: tour of Conflict Textiles exhibition, Byre Theatre;

2.30-5.00: workshop, Hebdomadar’s room; 5.30-6.30: concert, St Salvator’s Chapel

  • The event will begin with a guided tour of an exhibition of Conflict Textiles at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews, led by Dr Lydia Cole. Participants will explore the properties of this particular medium of expression, hear about its impact on various audiences, and share their own reactions to the materials.
  • A workshop will follow, featuring four papers by speakers who span multiple disciplines (Classics, English Literature, Music, History, Modern Languages and International Relations), talking about: ancient drama and modern film (Dr Jon Hesk); music, poetry and architecture of the First and Second World Wars (Dr Kate Kennedy); the experience of time and music in POW camps (Prof. Julian Wright); and maps and memories of conflict in Ukraine (Darya Tsymbalyuk, artist and co-author of the Donbas Odyssey project). The focus of discussion at the workshop will be the power of different media, individually and interactively, to shape our experiences of and responses to war, past, present and future.
  • The event will conclude with another immersive element: a concert – The Fateful Voyage – directed by Dr Kate Kennedy and featuring poetry by Rupert Brooke and music by two of his contemporaries, F.S. Kelly and William Denis Browne, who travelled to Gallipoli together in 1915. As with the Conflict Textiles tour, the aim is to extend discussion beyond theory and into practice, with the history of St Salvator’s Chapel and its Gallipoli memorials very much part of the experience. Listeners will be invited to reflect on the mingling of music, poetry and architecture in the concert’s war stories, as a stimulating conclusion to the wider reflections of the afternoon. (For more details about the concert, please see overleaf.)

To book:The concert is free to attend, and open to members of the public as well as the academic community. Numbers will be restricted for the Conflict Textiles tour and workshop, for reasons of space, with academic staff and PGs from any discipline welcome to attend. Please register for the Conflict Textiles tour and workshophere. Please direct any enquires to: viswar@st-andrews.ac.uk.

The Fateful Voyage

Devised by biographer Kate Kennedy, this recital for narrator, tenor and piano tells the story of an extraordinary friendship between two First World War composers and a poet: FS Kelly, William Denis Browne and Rupert Brooke.  All three enlisted in the Hood Battalion, and sailed together to take part in the Dardanelles campaign against the Turks in 1915; Brooke died during the voyage, and Kelly and Browne wrote the most famous accounts of his last days, and of his burial on the beautiful Greek Island of Skyros, accounts that played a significant part in the creation of Brooke’s near-mythological status.  Kelly and Browne travelled on, but both died in action soon after. 

Their friendship generated a wealth of poems and music, much of which has been scattered across archives in Australia and the UK, and so still remains unknown and unpublished. This programme uncovers their forgotten songs and piano music, and includes many unknown works. The Fateful Voyage weaves together song, poetry, letters and diaries to dramatise their story, to put these (in Kelly and Browne’s case) largely forgotten young men back on the musical map, and to discover the extent of the loss to British culture that the deaths of these prodigiously talented young men represented. In its mingling of music and readings, it invites reflection on the impact of different media in story-telling and commemoration. As an intervention in recent First World War commemorations (see below), it also prompts reflection on established habits of visualising war/campaigns and on the power of new stories, different angles and individual performances to shift perceptions amongst difference audiences. 

Performed by internationally renowned musicians, The Fateful Voyage was commissioned by the City of London Festival, and premiered on Radio 3 as part of the commemoration of the First World War in 2014. It has since toured the UK and Europe. 

Narrator: Kate Kennedy

Tenor: Robery Murray

Piano: Simon Over

Comments are closed.