Conflict of Interest - Series 1

A podcast series from the IWM Institute. Over seven episodes, we unpack some of the world’s most complicated recent conflicts, from the Northern Ireland "Troubles" to the Iraq War.  A celebrity guest asks the simple questions about the biggest conflicts of our time: What is a proxy war? Who are the key players in Yemen? Why is there conflict in Syria? Guests are taken on a tour of IWM London, coming across the people, objects and stories which bring a conflict to life.

S1 E1: The Yugoslav Wars, with Deborah Frances White

In the 1990s, countries like Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia saw some of the worst violence in Europe since the Second World War. So why did war break out in the former Yugoslavia, how did the conflict play out, and how far back does the story go? 

In this week's episode we were joined by Deborah Frances-White, host of The Guilty Feminist podcast. Please be aware this episode includes descriptions of sexual violence that some listeners may find distressing. If you are affected by any of the issues raised, please vist Women for Women International for more information and advice.

S1 E2: Afghanistan, with Jamali Maddix

9/11. Osama Bin Laden. The Taliban. Helmand. IEDs. These are some of the phrases associated with the War in Afghanistan. But why did Britain, America and others intervene there in 2001? Why did troops stay after the intervention? And what has happened in the region since, in what became America’s longest running conflict?

In this week's episode we were joined by comedian Jamali Maddix, presenter of Hate Thy Neighbour and guest on Taskmaster.

S1 E3: Iraq, with Rick Edwards

The Iraq War is one of the most controversial events in recent history. But who really was Saddam Hussein? What was the rationale behind the invasion? What went so badly wrong after 2003? And what are the consequences of the War today? 

In this episode we were joined by Rick Edwards, TV presenter and former host of T4 and Tool Academy.

S1 E4: Libya, with Inua Ellams

Who was Muammar Gaddafi? What happened in the Arab Spring? What were the reasons behind Britain, France and America intervening in Libya in 2011? And why is there still fighting going on today? In this episode we’ll explain the story behind one of the most consequential (and confusing) conflicts of recent times.

In this episode, we were joined by the renowned poet and playwright Inua Ellams, who has written plays including Barber Shop Chronicles and An Evening With An Immigrant.

S1 E5: Syria, with Carey Mulligan

The Syrian conflict is one of the most complex and catastrophic wars of recent memory. It has left more than 380,000 people dead and over 10 million people displaced, has destroyed entire cities and drawn interventions from multiple countries. But what are the roots of this conflict? Why has it been so chaotic? And is there any hope on the horizon for Syria’s devastated civilian population? 

In this episode we were joined by Carey Mulligan, award winning actor and star of Promising Young Woman and The Great Gatsby and Waad al-Kateab, Syrian filmmaker and creator of For Sama.

S1 E6: Yemen, with Munya Chawawa

Until recently, Yemen was seen as a remote part of the world that many Westerners knew very little about, perhaps beyond the book-turned-film 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen' and a Friends episode where Chandler moves to 15 Yemen Road. But in the last few years, the conflict there has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with millions facing starvation. So why did the violence start? Who are the Houthis? What has been the true impact on Yemen’s civilian population? And what is Britain’s role in all of this?

In this episode we were joined by comedian, rapper and satirist Munya Chawawa, as well as Yemen expert Iona Craig.

S1 E7: Northern Ireland, with James Graham

So far, Conflict of Interest has examined wars in far-flung parts of the world like Yemen and Afghanistan. But in our final episode, we'll explore one much closer to home. When did ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland begin, and what was it like to live through them? Who were the IRA, and what happened on Bloody Sunday? And with the Good Friday agreement bringing an end to the conflict, what does Brexit mean for the peace process today?

In this episode we were joined by James Graham, playwright and screenwriter behind This House, Quiz and Brexit: The Uncivil War.

S1 E8: 9/11, with Suruthi Bala and Hannah Maguire (RedHanded)

In this bonus episode of Conflict of Interest podcast, marking the twentieth anniversary of the attacks on September 11th, 2001, we examine this monumental moment in history which profoundly impacted the world of war and conflict, and the way we live our lives today.

Before The War

From a painter who inspired a nationwide street art movement in Yemen, to a singer who found his place in the death metal scene in Syria, and a young woman who forged a path as an artisan in Afghanistan, meet three people whose worlds were changed by conflict in Before The War, an audio and comic series with illustrator @thefakepan. Hear the artists' stories in three special bonus episodes of the IWM Institute's Conflict of Interest podcast.

Listen now >

What is Conflict of Interest?

Podcast Episodes


    Syria - Carey Mulligan

    Actress Carey Mulligan joins Syrian filmmaker and conflict eyewitness Waas Al-Kateab to unpack one of the world's most pressing conflicts with Middle East policy expert Dr Lina Khatib.


    Libya - Inua Ellams

    Poet & playwright Inua Ellams explores the Libyan conflict with IWM curator Iris Veysey and conflict expert Tim Eaton.


    Afghanistan - Jamali Maddix

    Comedian & documentary-maker Jamali Maddix joins IWM curator Amanda Mason and former Military Commander Ed Butler to examine the long-running conflict in Afghanistan.

  • Rick Edwards
    Rick Edwards

    Iraq - Rick Edwards

    Presenter & author Rick Edwards is guided through the history of the Iraq war by IWM curator James Taylor and former Foreign & Commonwealth Director Suzanne Raine.

  • Deborah Frances-White
    Deborah Frances-White © IWM

    Yugoslav Wars - Deborah Frances-White

    Comedian & author Deborah Frances-White joins IWM curator Carl Warner and politician Baroness Arminka Helic to unpick the complexities of the Yugoslav Wars.

  • James Graham - playwright and screenwriter
    James Graham © IWM

    Northern Ireland 'Troubles' - James Graham

    Playwright and screenwriter James Graham explores the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland with IWM curator Craig Murrayand conflict eyewitness Jo Taylor.

Conflict of Interest is kindly supported by The Adrian Swire Charitable Trust.

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