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The Curator's View – Afghanistan: Reflections on Helmand

The exhibition Afghanistan: Reflections on Helmand examines the British arrival in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in 2006. It also explores the decisions that shaped the conflict and the impact this period had on those who were there.

We talked to three of our curators to find out what goes into an exhibition like this and why it is so important.

Download audio transcript.


  • Introducing the exhibition

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    Curators Amanda Mason, John Kerr and Helen Mavin introduce Afghanistan: Reflections on Helmand.

    Image: British troops approach the town of Musa Qala, August 2006 (HTF 2006 047 289).

  • Preparing for the exhibition

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    Our curators describe how they prepared for the exhibition and some of the special issues of working with contemporary material.

    Image: The Blue Mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif, 2004.

  • Collecting for the exhibition

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    Our contemporary conflicts collection comes from many different sources. Our curators describe where some of the items in the exhibition have come from.

    Image: British troops take cover during Operation Panchai Palang (panther’s claw) in 2009 (HQUKTF-2009-063-0110).

  • What's different about contemporary exhibitions?

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    Our curators talk about some of the advantages of working on contemporary displays.

    Image: American troops at Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province, 2005.

  • Why contemporary conflict?

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    Our curators discuss why IWM puts on exhibitions about contemporary conflict. 

    Image: Derelict Soviet tank near Kabul, 2005 (4 Div 05 012 065).