Until 31 May 2021

IWM North

Free event with general admission

Visitors at Aid Workers Exhibition
© IWM

Around the world aid organisations are working to support, care for and protect vulnerable people, forced to flee their homes because of conflict.

Faced with practical, emotional and ethical challenges on a daily basis, how do aid workers choose who to help and decide which risks to take, and can their presence do more harm than good?

Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire brings together powerful stories from conflict zones to explore these challenges from an insider perspective.

An Ikea Better Shelter at Aid Workers Exhibition
© IWM

Understand the global story from interviews of individual experiences in the field, displayed alongside photographs and unique objects – recorded and sourced specially for this exhibition. On your visit you’ll encounter a Médecins Sans Frontières Land Cruiser, an iconic vehicle associated with aid work, and the IKEA Better Shelter, an innovative shelter designed for refugees. See aid workers’ personal belongings and equipment which give an insight into the conditions they face, and the mental and physical trials of working in the field.

Visitors listening to audio at Aid Workers Exhibition
© IWM

The exhibition reveals the dilemmas encountered while operating in areas including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, from which over 17.5 million people have collectively fled due to recent conflict*.

Through combining personal ‘in the field’ testimonies and scenario-based interactives, you can put yourself in the shoes of an aid worker and consider how you might respond to complicated decisions about the reach of aid, funding, responsibility and risk.

How would you respond to the tough decisions facing aid workers? Click below to explore one of the scenarios featured in the exhibition.

Whose money should you accept?

Start >>

You are working on an education project with displaced children forced to leave their homes during a civil war.

Your funding is running out and you need more money to continue your project.

What are your options?

Next >>

To continue your project you must choose one of the following options...

...but each of them comes with risks involves some sort of compromise.

  • Take a donation from an oil company
  • Accept money from a wealthy individual
  • Ask a UK charity for help

You are working on an education project with displaced children forced to leave their homes during a civil war.

Your funding is running out and you need more money to continue your project.

What are your options?

  • Take a donation from an oil company
  • Accept money from a wealthy individual
  • Ask a UK charity for help

An oil and gas company offers all the money...

...and no conditions on how you spend it.

Your project can continue. Lack of restrictions on this funding allows you to employ more staff.

But the company has a poor environmental record. Negative publicity about the donation could harm your organisation’s reputation.

What do you do?

  • Take the money
  • View other options

Each of the options contained some kind of risk or compromise, in the real world aid workers can only make one choice...

‘As an organisation we have very set frameworks for what money we accept, what money we don’t accept. Things that fit into that framework are accepted, things don’t that are not accepted.’

Ashish Damle, War Child

Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire is at IWM North from 2 October 2020 to 31 May 2021

  • View other options

A wealthy individual offers you all the money you need...

...But they have close ties to the host country’s government

...and have asked for detailed information about the children.

Your project can continue. You give the funder details of the children in your project.

But if they pass this information to the host government, it could put some groups at risk if the conflict escalates.

What do you do?

  • Accept the donation
  • View other options

Each of the options contained some kind of risk or compromise, in the real world Aid Workers can only make one choice...

‘Donors like to have all the information of what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, who you’re monitoring, how many people you are reaching, beneficiaries, you know what religion they are, what area they are coming from. All of this. It’s not something that we would give readily to donors, we would keep that information confidential.’

Wendy McCance, British Red Cross

Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire is at IWM North from 2 October 2020 to 31 May 2021

  • View other options

A small UK charity has supported similar projects.

But they want to give you books and equipment rather than cash.

The project can continue in a limited form.

But without cash, you can't pay the salaries of local teachers, limiting the project's long term sustainability and having an impact on the local economy

What do you do?

  • Apply to the charity
  • View other options

Each of the options contained some kind of risk or compromise, in the real world Aid Workers can only make one choice...

‘Very often, private philanthropists who give us a lot of support, or indeed members of the public, can say, “I want it spent in this way, in that setting”. So, the majority two thirds of our resources is restricted in that way, which makes the other third very important because that’s how we maintain flexibility.’

Gareth Owen, Save the Children UK

Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire is at IWM North from 2 October 2020 to 31 May 2021

  • View other options

Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire is part of Refugees, a free season of exhibitions, new artistic commissions and immersive events taking place across IWM London and IWM North in 2020. Unlocking the personal stories of people who have been forced to flee their homes and those who work to support and care for them, Refugees gives us the space to consider our own responses to similar experiences and dilemmas.

 

* Statistic sourced from UNHRC’s Global Trends, Forced Displacement in 2018 report and UNHRC’s Global Appeal 2018 - 2019.

 

 

Large print exhibition guide

A large print guide is available for this exhibition. Click here to read or download the large print guide >