7 September 2019

9.30am - 6.00pm

IWM London

£30 full price, £20 concessions

Including lunch and refreshments

Whether carved in stone, painted on canvas or built on hallowed ground, our culture is what defines us. As a result, culture often finds itself a prime target during times of war and conflict.

Organised by the IWM Institute in close partnership with Historic England with support from the UK Blue Shield, the Culture Under Attack Symposium will unpick the complexities behind the targeting and destruction of culture around the world, questioning how we rebuild societies once that which defines us has gone.

The Symposium will bring together panels of artists, academics, journalists and policy-makers, who will lend their unique perspectives and help reveal the motivations behind and wide-reaching effects of cultural devastation.

Elif Shafak, acclaimed novelist, political scientist and women's rights activist, will be opening the Symposium, sharing her thoughts on the damaging effects of war on culture. Other experts confirmed to speak across the day include poet and author Lemn Sissay MBE; Channel 4’s International Editor Lindsey Hilsum and Ariel Caine from Turner Prize nominated research agency Forensic Architecture with more to be confirmed.

Panels will be followed by a screening of the award-winning documentary The Destruction of Memory and an accompanying discussion featuring the Director, Tim Slade.

Temple of Bel
© Hassan Blal / Alamy Stock Photo

Baedeker Raids
Exeter, following bomb damage sustained during the ‘Baedeker Raids’. Photo by Margaret Tomlinson, National Buildings Record, 1942 ©Historic England Archive

The symposium is held alongside What Remains (5 July 2019 – 5 January 2020), a new exhibition that explores why cultural heritage is attacked during war and the ways in which people save, protect and restore what is targeted. Curated in partnership with Historic England, the exhibition includes a display of over 50 photographs, oral histories, documents, objects and artworks, presenting both IWM and Historic England’s extensive collections.

Historic England logo


IWM London building

IWM London
Lambeth Road

  • Lambeth North
  • Elephant & Castle