IWM Blog

  • Five works of art hang under purple hued light, with woman standing in front.
    Faisa Omar with her artwork Xafalad (Celebration). Photo © Lee Karen Stow
    Blog: 14-18 NOW

    Reflections on Tomorrow

    In 2023, five women artists who survived war, conflict and persecution, came together as visual artists to present Tomorrow, a multi-media, studio exhibition. Developed as an IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund commission in partnership with the Freedom Festival, the exhibition is an individual and collective response to the concept of ‘tomorrow’ as an enduring reference to hope, belief and self-determination and a way of looking to the future, together.
  • Row of seven white headstones
    Photograph by Dr. Bruce A. Tocher
    Blog: Second World War

    Remembering Operation Freshman: Norway, 1942

    In July 1942, the British War Cabinet decided to try to destroy the heavy water production facilities at the Norsk Hydro factory at Vemork, Norway - this was code-named Operation Freshman. Guest author Dr. Bruce A. Tocher shares his research into this operation, and efforts to trace descendants of those involved.
  • Pilot standing in front of aircraft
    Australian War Memorial AWM2019.22.303
    Blog: Australia

    Aqaba, the Arab Revolt and Australia

    The Emir Feisal’s victory in taking Aqaba in July 1917 was of considerable strategic significance to the outcome of the First World War. The holding of Aqaba was, however, in the challenging days of 1917, not guaranteed. In this blog post, guest author James P. Brew shares his research into the role of Australian servicemen in this theatre of war.
  • Stitching into the printed map of Radom
    Laura Nathan
    Blog: Holocaust

    Engaging With Inherited Archives

    Laura Nathan is a contemporary textiles artist and through the support of an Arts Council England artist development grant (DYCP), she is currently exploring family archives surrounding her grandparents’ Holocaust narratives. In this blog post, Laura shares her reflections on the project.
  • a prisoner sitting at a desk, looking thoughtful
    © IWM Q102928
    Blog: Home Front

    Conscription and reform of the British penal system

    When the British government introduced conscription in 1916, no-one anticipated that this would lead to large numbers of conscientious objectors (COs) being held in civilian prisons, much less that it would have significant consequences for prison reform. In this post, Dr Frances Hurd shares her research into this topic.
  • Projection of a man lying on a floor
    Photo Bartosz Górka
    Blog: 14-18 NOW

    Finding an artist for the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund

    In summer 2023, Imperial War Museums (IWM) worked with Art School Plus and The Brickworks Museum to offer an exciting commissioning opportunity to an early-career artist as part of the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund. The programme supports more than 20 cultural organisations from across the UK to commission ambitious new artworks inspired by the heritage of conflict, created by world-leading and emerging contemporary artists.
  • People walking around art exhibition
    Blog: 14-18 NOW

    Behind the Bastion

    When the UK Armed Forces deploy overseas, they operate out of static locations known as operational bases. Historically and through to present day, troops on deployment personalise these spaces through a range of ‘placemaking’ activities, including displaying photos, creating murals, building furniture, and erecting signposts. Behind the Bastion engaged with veterans of the Iraq War and War in Afghanistan, currently based in the Lincolnshire area, to reflect on what ‘home’ means to them today and what it meant whilst deployed.
  • Projection of First World War soldiers, November 2022
    © University of Kent
    Blog: 14-18 NOW

    Reflections on Walking with Ghosts

    This month, Walking with Ghosts returned to Folkestone Harbour Arm Station. The immersive outdoor artwork had a powerful impact on audiences last year when it premiered at the historic station where so many crossed to and from the battlefields during the First World War. In this blog post, Professor Helen Brooks from University of Kent reflects on the impact of this powerful commission, part of the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund programme.
  • A wall of black and white images of Second World War pilots
    © American Library
    Blog: Memorials

    Celebrating 60 years of the American Library

    2023 marks 60 years since the first Memorial Library dedicated to the 2nd Air Division of the 8TH Air Force of the United States Army Forces (USAAF) was opened in Norwich, Norfolk. Today the library retains the identity first envisaged for it – that of a living memorial, a place where there is a shrine to the dead and a daily exchange of American thoughts and ideals. In this blog post, Orla Kennelly of the American Library shares details on this unique memorial and library.
  • Dancers performing on stage
    Courtesy of Inspire: Culture, Learning and Libraries
    Blog: 14-18 NOW

    The Mother of Tension: An IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund commission

    Inspired by collections at Nottinghamshire Archives and Imperial War Museum, The Mother of Tension featured a group of talented young dancers from across the Midlands in a ground-breaking new Hip Hop dance theatre performance exploring themes of conflict through lived experiences. In this guest post, Ruth Imeson from Inspire: Culture, Learning and Libraries shares details of the historical collections that shaped the performance.
  •  image: stylised depictions of two lions, one based on the coat of arms of Great Britain, the other based on the coat of arm of Ceylon. On the left, the British lion stand before a Union Flag; and on the right, the Ceylon lion wears a headdress, holds a knife in its paw, and stands before a Ceylon flag.
    © IWM Art.IWM PST 15957
    Blog: Second World War

    Framing Partnership by moving ‘Forward Together’: Ceylon in British Propaganda during the Second World War

    Britain’s entry into the Second World War in 1939 affected not only the island nation but also the many areas of the globe that formed its empire. In order to urge all her colonial subjects to contribute towards the war effort, colonial authorities used propaganda in the form of posters, films, and more. In this guest blog post, researchers Nihara De Alwis and Lara Wijesuriya share how posters were adapted and framed according to the colony and area in which they were to be used, to sell the ‘product’ of empire most successfully.
  • Survivors and their descendants at the Nowogrudek memorial, 1993
    Survivors and their descendants at the Nowogrudek memorial, 1993. Courtesy of the Kagan family
    Blog: Holocaust

    80 years on: the escape of Jack Kagan (BEM) during the Holocaust

    On 26 September 1943, 250 Jewish prisoners escaped from a tunnel that they had dug to escape the Novogrudok Ghetto and Labour Camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. 170 survivors of the escape went on to fight with Jewish partisans in the forests, made famous in the film Defiance. In this blog post, we share the story of one of the men who escaped that day - the late Jack Kagan BEM (born Idel Kagan in 1929).