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C+C EVENTS 2011-2014

C+C Exploratory discussion
19 April 2011
Tate Modern, London

An exploratory meeting to consider the issues, challenges and possibilities of a new initiative to explore and support the role of art in the context of conflict. The meeting was attended by artists, academics, curators, and members of NGOs including Rohan Jayasekera (Index on Censorship); Sheena Wagstaff (Tate Modern); Diane Lees (Imperial War Museum); Aaron Cezar (Delfina Foundation); Jonathan Heawood (English PEN); Maysoon Pachachi (Open Shutters); Tanya Hassan (International Alert); Fisnik Abrashi (Associated Press).

War Artist Roundtable
8 February 2011
Freeword Centre, London

C+C brought together artists who had worked as contemporary ‘war artists’. The seminar was an opportunity for artists to share and compare experiences with one another, to discuss the artist’s role as an observer and documenter, and the personal challenges, fears and anxieties of being placed in a war zone. Participating artists were Simon Norfolk and David Cotterrell.

Al Mutannabi Street – C+C launch event
10 March 2011
Freeword Centre, London
Public event

The launch event for Culture+Conflict was held at the Freeword Centre in London. Speakers included artist Jeremy Deller talking about his project ‘It Is What It Is’, a short oud performance by Ahmed Mukhtar, and readings from a new play by Iraqi playwright Hassan Abdulrazzaq. Artist Xavier Pick, a former war artist in Iraq, participated by making drawings of the event. The event was introduced by Shreela Ghosh, former Director, Freeword, and chaired by Peter Jenkinson, co-founder, C+C.

In conjunction with the launch event, we organised an exhibition of images from a photography project called ‘Open Shutters’. This project was a participatory photography project with nine Iraqi women. It was devised and organised by Eugenie Dolberg with Maysoon Pachachi.

Our Feelings Took the Pictures: Open Shutters Iraq
Monday 14 March
Freeword Centre, London
Public event

Eugenie Dolberg, initiator and manager of the Open Shutter Iraq project, in conversation with Jo Glanville, editor, Index on Censorship, together with a screening of the film made about the project by Iraqi British filmmaker Maysoon Pachachi.  This was followed by questions and discussion.

‘This film is one of the most remarkable works that I have seen about Iraq since the beginning of the war. It not only turns you inside out – if this were all, it would already be a lot. Visually stunning, wonderfully constructed and edited, it shows how strong and subtle, how capable of generosity, dynamism and psychological creativity and humanity Iraqi women can be. This is the first time since 2003 that I see a work about Iraq which doesn’t appeal to either a sense of pity or revolt, but which just looks at the women as they are – beings full of creative potential.’

Caecilia Pieri, author BAGHDAD ARTS DECO

‘Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World’
Exhibition Preview and Breakfast
24 May 2011
British Museum

A morning preview of the international touring exhibition from Afghanistan, with an introduction by the curator.

‘Post-Conflict’ Culture: Derry~Londonderry
22 June 2011
Imperial War Museum, London
Public event

This seminar was introduced by Peter Jenkinson, co-director, Culture+Conflict, and chaired by Professor Declan McGonagle, Director of the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, and included presentations by artists Roderick Buchanan, Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier, reflecting the role of art and culture in conflict and post-conflict contexts, with particular reference to the city of Derry~Londonderry, Northern Ireland, the inaugural UK City of Culture 2013.

The event was timed to coincide with the exhibition ‘Legacy’ by artist Roderick Buchanan at the Imperial War Museum, London.

The Art of Resistance in Palestine
Slideshow presentation and discussion
19 July 2011
Freeword Centre, London
Public event

William Parry, author of Against the Wall, gave a presentation about artwork and graffiti on the wall dividing Israel and Palestine. The event was part of the Shubbak Festival of Arab Culture 2011.

‘The Freedom Theatre’ at Freeword
Films and Discussion from Palestine
15 September 2011
Freeword Centre, London
Public event

An evening focusing on The Freedom Theatre, the courageous cultural initiative based at Jenin Refugee Camp on the West Bank. Film-maker Ahmad Alaraj from the Theatre was in conversation with Rose Fenton, co-founder and former co-director of LIFT, London International Festival of Theatre.

’If the Light Goes Out’
An event marking the 10 year anniversary of Guantanamo Bay
Exhibition of photography by Edmund Clark and panel discussion
19 March 2012
House of Lords, London

Chaired by Baroness Vivien Stern, this event marked the 10 year anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Bay prison. Photographer Edmund Clark gave a presentation on his body of work ‘If the Light Goes Out’ taken in and around the prison, followed by a presentation about Guantanamo and his involvement in Clark’s project by human rights lawyer and founder of Reprieve, Clive Stafford-Smith. A short discussion was chaired by Jemima Montagu, co-director, C+C. – 1

Polly Braden Group photo 1

Afghan Cultural Roundtable and In Focus Afghanistan events
3 July 2012
Southbank Centre, London

‘A truly mind-broadening afternoon. I have nothing but admiration for them all [Afghan delegates] – for being so clear-sighted and straightforwardly pragmatic through what is obviously often a crisis situation. It’s a model for the world!’
– Sian Ede, Deputy Director, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, London

Two events in the course of a day that brought eleven Afghan delegates to the UK and introduced these leading Afghan cultural directors of film and the visual arts to UK cultural leaders. In the morning ‘roundtable’, delegates and guests discussed the cultural context of Afghanistan, the issues, challenges – and possibilities.

The second event brought together a larger audience to hear presentations by some of the Afghan cultural leaders:  Jawed Taiman, filmmaker; Sharbanoo Sadat, film-maker; Jamshid Habib, Aga Khan Trust for Culture; Rahraw Omarzad, Center for Contemporary Art, Afghanistan; and Dr Ahmad Sarmast, Afghan National Institute of Music. This was followed by a discussion and questions from the audience, chaired by Jemima Montagu, co-director, C+C.

Funded by British Council, Gulbenkian Foundation and IFA.

Roundtable 1 & 2: Academics working on culture and conflict
6 and 10 July 2012
Royal College of Art, London

We identified fifteen key academics addressing the relationship between the arts and conflict in their work across eleven Higher Education Institutions. We then convened two meetings at the Royal College of Art in July 2012, chaired by Michaela Crimmin, co-director, C+C, to exchange information, identify specific interests, and begin to locate the potential for shared activities.

Funded by IFA

Roundtable 3: NGOs working on culture and conflict
20 November 2012
Freeword Centre, London

This event, chaired by Michaela Crimmin, co-director, C+C, brought together representatives from NGOs whose work intersects with arts and culture: Sara Whyatt (PEN International), Julia Farrington (Index on Censorship), Lucy Hannah (Commonwealth Foundation), Jennifer McDerra (Commonwealth Foundation), David Gunn (Incidental), Angela Seay (International Crisis Group), Olivia Warham (Waging Peace), Karen Lobo-Morrell (Christian Aid), Rohan Jayasekera (Index on censorship), This meeting served as an opportunity to exchange experiences, consider the issues involved, and consider future possibilities.

Is art’s position of independence being subsumed by politics?
Egyptian visual culture in the context of conflict and unrest
5 December 2012
Delfina Foundation, London

A panel discussion chaired by Omar Kholeif, writer, curator and senior editor, Ibraaz magazine. The panel was Ahmad Hosni, artist, photographer, writer,
living in Barcelona and Cairo; Mahmoud Khaled, artist, based in Beirut and Alexandria, and then artist-in-residence at the Delfina Foundation; Daniella Rose King, writer and curator, formerly Programme Curator at MASS Alexandria; and Dr Dalia Said Mostafa, Lecturer in Arabic and Comparative Literature, University of Manchester, focusing on the role of women as digital activists in contemporary Egypt.

Funded by IFA

Memory and Conflict Workshop (AHRC programme)
25 June 2013
Royal College of Art, London

Chaired by:     Michaela Crimmin
Speakers:     Hrair Sarkissian (artist, Syria/UK); Adela Juši? (artist, Bosnia & Herzegovina);
Dr. Alan Ingram (Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, UCL);
Prof. Charles Tripp (Professor of Politics with reference to the Middle East
at SOAS), University of London; Dr. Dalia Mostafa (Lecturer in Arabic and Comparative Literature, University of Manchester); Sarah Whyatt (Freelance Consultant, Former Deputy Director of the Writers in Prison Committee at PEN International, UK); Julia Farrington (former Head of Arts, Index on Censorship).

Held at the Royal College of Art, this one-day workshop introduced the objectives of the Art and Conflict programme and the network members involved, including artists, curators, academics and activists. The initial Workshop focused on art and conflict in relation to memory, with two international guest speakers invited to London to speak about their recent projects – artists Adela Juši? from Sarajevo and Hrair Sarkissian from Syria. The day also included presentations by five London-based network members and discussion with the group.

Memory of Fire: In Conversation and Book Launch
In association with Photoworks
25 June 2013
Amnesty International, London

Speakers:     Julian Stallabrass and Oliver Chanarin

Edited by Julian Stallabrass, the publication Memory of Fire: Images of War and The War of Images is a visual, theoretical and historical resource about the photography of war, and how images are used as instruments of war. It draws on content gathered for the 2008 Brighton Photo Biennial, curated by Stallabrass, and contains recent essays and interviews by prominent theorists, artists and photographers. This event brought Stallabrass together with artist Oliver Chanarin, to discuss Broomberg & Chanarin’s contribution to the Biennial and book, which included their unique series of photographs, The Day Nobody Died (2008), created during an embed with the British military in Afghanistan. The event also featured the screening of their new film as part of the series, War Primer 2 (2013).

‘Making Global Connections in International Contemporary Art’
3-day Workshop
22, 23 & 24 October 2013
Center for Contemporary Art Afghanistan, Kabul

A 3-day workshop led by two visiting UK curators, Jemima Montagu (C+C co-director) and Alessio Antoniolli (Director, Gasworks and Triangle Arts Trust), and Iranian artist Tooraj Khamanezadeh. The workshop was attended by 30-40 artists and curators from Kabul who participated in discussions and presentations. The aim of the workshop was to present and discuss practical information and ideas about international arts networks and programmes that might offer opportunities for Afghan artists.

The Djinns of Eidgah
Open forum and theatre performance
30 October 2013
Royal Court Theatre, London

A British Council ‘open forum’ event in collaboration with Culture+Conflict and the Royal Court Theatre, exploring the issues relating to art and conflict in the context of Kashmir raised in Abhishek Majumdar’s play The Djinns of Eidgah. The Open Forum was an invitation-only with speakers Prof. Sunil Khilnani, Director of King’s India Institute, King’s College; Elyse Dodgson, International Director, Royal Court Theatre; Abhishek Majumdar, writer, The Djinns of Eidgah; Prof. Sumantra Bose, Professor of International and Comparative Politics, LSE; Prof. James Thompson, Professor of Applied and Social Theatre, University of Manchester; Pauline Ross, Founder and Artistic Director, The Playhouse, Derry/Londonderry; and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, journalist.

Art and Resistance Workshop (AHRC programme)
29 November 2013
Goldsmiths, University of London

Chaired by:    Dr. Bernadette Buckley
Speakers:     Professor Howard Caygill (Kingston University London, author of On
Resistance, a philosophy of defiance); Natalia Koliada, (Co-Artistic Director, Belarus Free Theatre); and, Ronnie Close (documentary photographer and filmmaker based in Cairo)

Goldsmiths, University of London, hosted our second AHRC-funded workshop on the subject of art and resistance in the context of conflict. The workshop was chaired by Dr. Bernadette Buckley, Lecturer in International Politics, Department of Politics, Goldsmiths. Philosopher Howard Caygill provided considered insight into resistance as both an idea and lived experience, referencing historical perspectives (including Kant, Benjamin and Clausewitz) of the ‘capacity to resist’ (Clausewitz) put forward in his book On Resistance, a philosophy of defiance (2013). Natalia Koliada spoke about her experience as a human rights activist, her arrest in Minsk and her forced exile. She described the support the company has received internationally for their work and the continuing dissident performances of Belarus Free Theatre in Belarus. Ronnie Close presented his work-in-progress film exploring the mass-gatherings of football supporters, Ultras, in Cairo. Their presentations were followed by a discussion session.

‘The role of culture and education in Afghanistan post-2014’
Panel discussion and drinks reception
2 December 2013
House of Lords, London

An event in partnership with the British Council and BAAG (British and Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group) to create discussion about the role of culture and education in the context of the UK withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. The panel was chaired by Lyse Doucet, Chief International Correspondent, BBC, and consisted of Saad Mouseni, CEO Moby Group; Helay Ershad MP, Afghanistan National Assembly; and Daud Rasool, British Council Afghanistan.

Art and Conflict in the Context of Satire
23 January 2014
Institute of Contemporary Art, London

Chaired by:    Dr. Julian Stallabrass
Speakers:     Coco Fusco and Larissa Sansour

A panel discussion chaired by Julian Stallabrass (Courtauld Institute of Art), with presentations from visiting artists Coco Fusco and Larissa Sansour about their practice in film and performance. Both artists use satire as one of their means of expression as they comment on violence, repression and the war on terror. Fusco focused on her work relating to the interrogation of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and the role of female interrogators, including the video Operation Atropos (2006) and performance Bare Life Study #1(2005). Following the screening of Sansour’s films, Nation Estate (2012) and A Space Exodus (2009), she discussed issues relating to the censoring of her work and her poignant use of humour to address the occupation of Palestine.

Art and Satire Workshop (AHRC programme)
24 January 2014
The University of Manchester

Chaired by:    Prof. James Thompson
Speakers:     Coco Fusco (artist, New York); Larissa Sansour (artist UK/Copenhagen); writer and curator Malu Halasa

This was the third workshop in our AHRC-funded programme of research into the arts and conflict, exploring art and conflict in relation to satire. The day began with a viewing of the exhibition Contemporary Art and War at Imperial War Museum North with an introduction by curator Sara Bevan. This was followed by presentations by Coco Fusco, Larissa Sansour and Malu Halasa at The University of Manchester, chaired by Prof. James Thompson.

Artists’ Responses to Art and Conflict Workshop (AHRC programme)
8 April 2014
Royal College of Art

Convened by:        Michaela Crimmin (co-director, C+C)
Speakers:     Artist Jananne Al-Ani; theatre director Jonathan Chadwick; artist Edmund Clark; artist David Cotterrell; artists Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps; theatre directors Hossam Al Madhoun and Jamal Al Rozzi (on Skype from Gaza); Rotterdam based curator and writer Nat Muller; and curator and writer Sarah Rifky, co-director of Beirut, Cairo.

The day-long workshop and final event in our AHRC-funded Arts and Conflict programme saw artists, curators and theatre practitioners present their insights on conflict and their work in contexts including Afghanistan, Cuba, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt to an audience of Art and Conflict network members and the general public. The event was held at the Royal College of Art and promoted widely to a network of students, artists, curators, academics, arts organisations, NGOs and activists built by Culture+Conflict. There was an overwhelming response to the invitation with a waiting list for attendees.

For further information about any of the above events, please email