Visualising Peace

The Visualising War project studies narratives of conflict and the impact which they have on how people understand, imagine and conduct war. Increasingly, our work has been looking at the ways in which people narrate ‘aftermath’ and conflict resolution. This VIP will help us expand that research by exploring habits of representing/narrating/visualising peace and how those habits might shape our mindsets and behaviours. 

Key research questions include:

  • What recurring stories do individuals and communities tell about war’s aftermath, conflict resolution, peace and peacebuilding in art, text, film, photography, news reports, museums, music etc?
  • What makes any given narrative (in art, text, music etc) identifiable as a ‘peace story’? And are narratives of peace inevitably constructed in relation to narratives of conflict?
  • Whose narratives/ideas of peace dominate in different parts of the world, and why?
  • What attention do different academic disciplines pay to narratives of peace/conflict resolution, and what could be gained from more interdisciplinary collaboration?
  • What role can narratives of peace play in peacebuilding? 

Conflict resolution and peacebuilding are studied in lots of different disciplines and real-world context, but there is little cross-disciplinary dialogue. VIP team members will spend some time comparing how different disciplines and organisations study discourses and narratives of peace, and what benefits might result from more interdisciplinary and cross-sector discussion. They will contribute to the ongoing development of an online bibliographic resource, designed to build more cross-disciplinary dialogue between everyone involved in peace studies and peacebuilding.

Team members will also help develop a virtual ‘Museum of Peace’, showcasing many different conceptions and representations of peace in order to encourage visitors to reflect on, question and challenge their own habits of visualising peace. Team members will be asked to identify and scope out a range of public engagement activities that could be run in connection with the virtual museum (e.g. a schools competition to elicit new items for display, a set of blogs or a podcast discussing objects in the museum, a VR experience based on items in the museum, a physical exhibition/public talk, a social media project designed to generate wide discussion of habits of visualising peace).

Team members will be encouraged to identify an individual or group project of their own which will advance our understanding of how specific groups/communities in different parts of the world visualise peace, and what impact storytelling in different media (art, film, journalism, video gaming, etc) can have on habits of visualising peace.