How do war stories work? And what do they do to us?

Join members of the Visualising War research group as we explore how war and battle get presented in art, text, film and music. With the help of expert guests, we unpick war stories from all sorts of different periods and places. And we ask how they the tales we tell and the pictures we paint of war influence us as individuals and shape the societies we live in.

Our interviewees include war reporters, artists, video-game designers, museum curators and theatre, film and documentary makers. We also talk to peace campaigners, NGOs and clinical psychologists, to find out how storytelling impacts their work with victims of conflict all around the world. And we interview serving soldiers, veterans, defence trainers and strategists, to find out what narratives of war flourish in their respective worlds and what influence they have.

In addition, we have a range of academics amongst our guests: experts in ancient war poetry, medieval religion, the ‘just war’ tradition, trends in memorialisation, militarism in popular culture, the history of grand strategy-making, human rights, international politics, the psychology of collective action, and processes of identify formation – among many other topics!

If you have ever wanted to think more about how war stories work and what they do to us, tune in here! And don’t forget to subscribe to the show so that you don’t miss an episode. Anyone requiring auto captions can access the podcast via YouTube. You can find a schedule of upcoming episodes here.

We are grateful to the University of St Andrews and the Institute of Classical Studies for their generous financial support of this podcast series.

Our podcast editor is Zofia Guertin; she is also the creative talent behind our logos and other art work.

War-to-Peace transitions with Jaremey McMullin Visualising War and Peace

In this episode, Alice interviews Dr Jaremey McMullin, a Senior Lecturer in the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews. Jaremey’s research spans a wide range of topics, from ex-combatant disarmament and veteran reintegration to youth peacebuilding and political participation in post-conflict contexts. His 2013 monograph Ex-Combatants and the Post-Conflict State: Challenges of Reintegration examines disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration policies and experiences via four case studies, in Namibia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Liberia. He is particularly interested in the impacts of reintegration and veterans’ assistance programmes on people’s post-conflict identities, and also in the consequences of incomplete reintegration for ongoing conflict transformation. As well as working in Africa, he has examined veterans’ assistance programmes in the US, producing (among other outputs) a short documentary called Silkies (2020) on the prevention of veteran suicide. He has written several reports for the Disarmament, Demoblisation and Reintegration section at the United Nations Department of Peace Operations, and he serves on the Research Working Group of the Integrated DDR Training Group.In the podcast, Jaremey helps us to visualise the war-to-peace transitions experienced by ex-combatants and veterans as life-long journeys, which can be injurious for many. He exposes the myth of 'return' (as if people can simply pick up the threads of their pre-war lives); discusses differences in perceptions and framings of ex-combatants and veterans; and reflects on the limitations of many DDR programmes. This leads to broader discussion of the hard work of peacebuilding. Among other work, Jaremey has produced a documentary film series on the everyday work of peacebuilding called Liberia: Legacies of Peace. As Jaremey  explains, the five films ‘profile people at every level of Liberian society engaged in the hard work of war-to-peace transition.’ He has developed a particular interest in youth peacebuilding processes and identities, and his current project, Motorcycling as Peacebuilding in Liberia, examines the experiences of groups of ex-combatant and conflict-affected youth in Liberia who have become motorcycle taxi drivers – overcoming insecurity and marginalisation, and emerging as active peacebuilders themselves. In exploring Jaremey's work in this space, we discuss the ethics and dynamics of Participatory Action Research (PAR) and Jaremey's efforts to involve young peacebuilders as knowledge-producers and research designers, rather than as objects of study. He sets out his approach in Hustling, Cycling, Peacebuilding and What is the benefit of this project?, among other publications.We hope you find the discussion interesting. For a version of our podcast with close captions, please use this link. For more information about individuals and their projects, please visit the University of St Andrews' Visualising War website. Music composed by Jonathan YoungSound mixing by Zofia Guertin
  1. War-to-Peace transitions with Jaremey McMullin
  2. Visualising the Thirty Years' War with Steve Murdoch
  3. Peace and post-trauma recovery in Northern Ireland
  4. Peace and Conflict in Jivana Yoga
  5. Taking love and care seriously in peace and conflict studies
  6. A short tour of our virtual Museum of Peace
  7. Images at war: conflict, peace and photography and Sri Lanka
  8. Migration, Mobility and Place with Elena Isayev
  9. Refugee Integration through Language and the Arts with Alison Phipps
  10. Mediation and Migration: from Odesa to Dundee with Hanna Dushkova

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