Saturday 18 November 2023

2pm - 6pm

IWM London

Sold out

"The international consensus on hybrid warfare is clear: no one understands it, but everyone agrees it is a problem” - The UK Ministry of Defence 

Acts of so-called 'hybrid war' have been waged from Mosul to Mariupol, and from the South China Sea to Salisbury. In a day of debate and discussion at IWM London, an acclaimed line-up of speakers will unpack this new concept in our understanding of war and conflict. From social media disinformation to guerrilla tactics to the use of Artificial Intelligence, expert speakers will explore how we should all respond to this new global challenge.

Part of the IWM Institute

The Institute is IWM's research and knowledge exchange hub. We provide access to IWM's rich collections for research and innovation to increase the public's understanding of war and conflict.

Event Timetable



Acts of so-called 'hybrid war' have been waged around the world, but many experts and policymakers still struggle to define what the phenomenon actually is. In this discussion, a panel of leading thinkers will seek to explain what has changed in the last 15 years of global conflict, and why it matters to all of us.

Starting from the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea and subsequent invasion of the Donbas, Ukraine has become one of the world’s most prominent theaters of hybrid warfare, with cyber operations, social media propaganda and ‘little green men’ featuring alongside major conventional operations. So what can Ukraine teach us about hybrid warfare?


Experts have long warned of the risks of an Artificial Intelligence ‘arms race’, in which global superpowers compete to develop ever more sophisticated AI-powered autonomous weapons. How will AI be used in the battlefields of the future? And how is it already being deployed as part of hybrid warfare in conflicts like Ukraine? Here our speakers will dive deep into this highly controversial and consequential topic for the future of humanity.

Hybrid warfare poses significant challenges to our societies, from disinformation campaigns undermining civic trust in institutions to sophisticated cyber operations to messy irregular conflicts around the world. So how should governments, businesses, civil society and individuals respond?

6:00pm - END

This event is sponsored by the Centre for Drones and Culture and funded by a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship (MR/W010429/1).

From Sniper to Smartphone: Hybrid Warfare and the New Face of Conflict

(Mark Galeotti) Hybrid war is war because all wars have been hybrid throughout history. Again we are all connected and that makes us all potentially weaponizable. 

(Olga Tokariuk) People feel very directly the effects of the Hybrid Warfare, of the Warfare which is being waged not just with conventional means, not just kinetic Warfare but also the Warfare in the information space. 

(Elke Schwarz) The more networked and internet of things connected everything is the more vulnerable populations become. Your

smartphone operates with AI, it starts there. 

(Audience Member) It's definitely very interesting it's kind of interesting to like listen different perspective from people from like very different backgrounds kind of looking forward for the next panels we be more engaged into the conversations and learn something


(Audience Member) What I've learnt from here is the extremely incredibly complex hybrid nature of warfare. I think it's just really

interesting to listen to experts in their fields and it's particularly interesting to have the aspect of a female who is from the Ukraine.

(Audience Member) Puts it in great perspective so to have someone talk about it in in practice what actually happens on the ground it makes you understand it a lot more when someone's actually experiencing it.



Speaker lineup

Hear from experts and academics exploring the evolving world of hybrid warfare. 

  • Gordon Corera

    Gordon Corera

    Gordon Corera has been a Security Correspondent for BBC News since 2004. In this role he covers national security issues including cyber-security for TV, Radio and Online. He has made radio and podcast series on technology and intelligence issues, most recently “Shock and War” on Iraq. He is also the author of a number of books including Intercept on the secret history of computers and spies and most recently Russians Among Us.

  • Mark Galeotti

    Mark Galeotti

    Mark Galeotti is one of the world’s leading experts on Russian crime and security. After a stint with the Foreign Office, he has been a scholar and think-tanker in London, New York, Moscow, Prague and Florence, and now heads the consultancy Mayak Intelligence and is an honorary professor at University College London and a senior fellow with RUSI and the Council on Geostrategy. 

  • Elke Schwarz

    Elke Schwarz

    Elke Schwarz is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Political Theory at Queen Mary University London. Her research focuses on the intersection of ethics of war and ethics of technology with an emphasis on unmanned and autonomous / intelligent military technologies and their impact on the politics of contemporary warfare.

  • Matthew Ford

    Matthew Ford

    Matthew Ford is an Associate Professor in War Studies at the Swedish Defence University in Stockholm. Matthew is a former strategic analyst at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, an agency of the UK Ministry of Defence. 

  • Photo of speaker Samir Puri

    Samir Puri

    Dr Samir Puri is an author and academic. He is currently an Associate Fellow at Chatham House and Visiting Lecturer in the Department of War Studies at King's College London. His previously worked at the International Institute for Strategic Studies based in Singapore (2020-22). From 2009-15, Samir worked for the Foreign Office, where his assignments covered counter terrorism and policy support to peace processes, and was seconded for a year to monitor the war in east Ukraine with the OSCE. He is the author of The Great Imperial Hangover and Russia's Road to War with Ukraine.

  • Photo of Jessikka Aro
    © Nelli Kivinen

    Jessikka Aro

    Jessikka Aro is an awarded investigative reporter and author of the best-selling book Putin's Trolls. Aro specializes in Russia, extremism and information warfare. In 2014 she started to investigate the pro-Kremlin social media trolls' techniques and influence on public debates outside Russia's borders. Due to her investigations, she became the target of an ongoing international propaganda and hate speech campaign. She trains reporters and the general public to recognise and counter online disinformation, and is also lobbying for better legislation to counter hybrid threats and protect citizens from state-sponsored online security threats.


  • Photo of Chiara Libiseller

    Chiara Libiseller

    Chiara Libiseller is a Lecturer at Leiden University and a Deputy Editor of the Journal of Strategic Studies. Her research focuses on knowledge production on war and beliefs about the utility of force. She earned her PhD from the Department of War Studies, King's College London, having written her thesis on fashionable concepts in Strategic Studies. In February 2023 she published the article 'Hybrid Warfare as an academic fashion', which describes Hybrid Warfare as a fashionable academic buzzword.

  • Chris Cole

    Chris Cole

    Chris Cole is the founder and Director of Drone Wars UK, a small British NGO which undertakes research, education and advocacy on the spreading use of armed drones and other emerging military technology. His work focuses on the need for greater transparency around the harms of armed drones. 

  • Olga Tokariuk

    Olga Tokariuk

    Olga Tokariuk is a Chatham House OSUN Academy Fellow, Ukraine Forum. Her main professional interests are international affairs and research on disinformation, especially in the context of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

    She is a former fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University and CEPA non-resident fellow.

  • Kerry McInerney

    Kerry McInerney

    Kerry McInerney is a Research Associate at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, where she co-chairs the Global Politics of AI project. Her research focuses on how AI development and deployment is reshaping international relations, with a focus on the rhetoric of the US-China AI arms race. 

  • Carl Miller

    Carl Miller

    Carl Miller is a researcher of the often hidden influences of digital technology on society. In 2018 he published The Death of the Gods: The New Global Power Grab, about the changing nature of power in the digital age. He presents programmes for the BBC’s flagship technology show, Click, and is the founding Research Director for the The Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) at Demos. He’s a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London and a member of the Society Board of the British Computing Society.

Speakers do not represent the views of IWM. 

What to expect

  • IWM London roof terrace lit for an event

    About your venue

    The Roof Terrace is a spectacular event space, dramatically suspended from the barrel-vaulted glass roof of IWM London and as if hanging in mid-air. Designed by Foster + Partners, the Roof Terrace with its dramatic bridge and views of the galleries below also provides a spectacular view of the Dome, once the chapel belonging to Bedlam, designed by Sidney Smirke. 

    Plan your journey: Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ (view map)

  • Modern battlefield image
    © IWM (Photographer: Rupert Frere)

    About the IWM Institute

    The IWM Institute is IWM’s research and knowledge exchange hub. We provide access to IWM’s rich collections for research and innovation to increase the public’s understanding of war and conflict.

  • Previous IWM Institute event

    On the day

    Complimentary tea and coffee, as well as a range of popups and stalls, will be available to all event attendees.

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