Public Engagement

Our research has important real-world applications: in studying past and present war stories, we can raise awareness of the powerful ideologies which they generate over time; and we can also build capacity in individuals and groups to harness some of the narratives of war that circulate in society to help prevent or mitigate against the effects of future conflict. To this end, we are working to develop a range of knowledge exchange activities and collaborations with journalists, documentary and film makers, artists, storytellers, museum curators, gaming experts, NGOs, peace activists, politicians/policy-makers, military personnel, veterans, victims of conflict, and the wider community. You can hear us talk more about our plans here.

Alice is currently collaborating with a professional theatre company, NMT Automatics, to support their development of a new play which weaves ancient and modern war stories together. With their help, she is looking more widely at habits of dramatising war on stage and on screen, and she is also exploring the impact which the retelling of historic battle narratives (e.g. from Homer’s Iliad) continues to have on the ways in which people think and feel about war today. For a flavour of what we are doing, you can listen to us discussing the project at the Edinburgh Festival here. This project is being run in collaboration with the School of Classics’ Centre for the Public Understanding of Greek and Roman Drama.

In April 2021 we launched a Visualising War podcast series, in which we interview a wide range of academic and non-academic experts to raise awareness of how war stories work, what they do, and how they shape individuals’ and groups’ experiences of and conduct in war. We publish regular blogs in connection with the podcast series.

Alice has recently secured funding to work with artist Diana Forster on the development of two physical exhibitions (plus a virtual version) looking at how we visualise the rupture of forced displacement. A series of public talks and schools workshops will take place in 2022 and 2023 in connection with this.

Additionally, Alice recently launched a survey for school teachers to find out how war as a broad topic and individual wars are typically taught in schools. The results of this research will inform further research which Alice is developing in this space, on the forces that shape children’s habits of visualising both war and peace. Alice will be teaming up with NGO Never Such Innocence and conflict photographer Hugh Kinsella Cunningham (among others) as part of this.

We hope to secure funding in the near future to build an interactive database of hyperlinked battle narratives for our project website, with the aim of illuminating both the variety and interconnectedness of war stories across space and time. In addition, various members of the Visualising War Research Group are engaged in knowledge exchange and outreach activities of their own, for example: