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Curating Contemporary Art Tutor Wins Funding to Set Up Art and Armed Conflict Research Network

27 March 2013 – RCA tutor Michaela Crimmin has won funding from the Arts & Humanities Research Council to set up a dedicated research network to explore the relationship between art and international armed conflict.

The network will bring together activists, cultural theorists, artists and leading academics to explore personal and collective aspects of armed conflict including memory, resistance, satire and resilience through a series of workshops. Four one-day workshops for up to 30 people beginning in June will form the basis of working papers, with ambition for wider publication. All activity will be supported by a microsite.

Network members will include Professor Charles Tripp, SOAS; Dr Bernadette Buckley, Goldsmiths, University of London; Professor James Thompson, Manchester University; and Professor Julian Stallabrass, Courtauld Institute of Art, reflecting insights and perspectives on conflicts from Northern Ireland and the Balkans to Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and Syria.

Crimmin’s long-term aim is for the research enquiry to lead to a major international conference, exhibition and publication at the RCA in 2015. This is an important undertaking for the College, according to Crimmin, because so many of the RCA’s students are international, have first hand experience of conflict and an intense interest in artists' responses. Moreover, communicating artistic views and voices alongside those from politics, media and armed services is vital. It will bring inquiry and knowledge of another kind, entirely, she added.

‘In running an international institution, it's important to accommodate and extend cultural perspectives on the challenges and issues that war presents, both in the build up to, during and post-conflict,’ she said.

Crimmin previously founded and directed the Royal Society of Arts’ Art & Ecology programme, and was subsequently a key figure in the research project Culture & Conflict. She chaired two meetings last summer at the RCA on the topic, identifying a need for greater sharing of knowledge and practice across higher education institutes and beyond. The network will start work in May.