With Art Fund support, IWM is working with four partners to share art from our collections and explore different perspectives on the Second World War, to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Project Partners

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum in Bournemouth, Harris Museum & Art Gallery in Preston, The Collection in Lincoln and Touchstones Rochdale


Surreal image of a skeletal mammoth with military aircraft wings and ships' rigging
Art.IWM ART 17748


In 2020, IWM marked the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Together with partners, we aimed to display rarely-seen art from our collections at locations across the UK, to explore new and diverse stories of the Second World War and reach new audiences.

Originally taking place around the 80th anniversary in September 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically altered the project. Two partners have been able to show the works in person, and two have created digital experiences. All have created a fantastic and exciting range of digital content, which we are proud to showcase here.

See the works in person at the final exhibition, “We Can Do It. War’s Other Voices” at Touchstones Rochdale until 18th September.

Explore the exhibitions

  • a pastel sketch of a Second World War Fusilier, Fusilier Perrin, at rest, reading
    © courtesy of the family of the artist. Photo credit: Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

    Sea, Land, Air and Home: Art of the First World War The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth explores local Second World War stories through the work of the War Artist Advisory Committee. Discover the exhibition on Art UK.

  • A watercolour of two men walking through Marlag ‘0’, a Second World War German prisoner-of-war camp, in winter
    © Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library

    Art of the Second World War: Commemorating 80 years since the Battle of Britain at The Harris, Preston, brings together Preston war stories, a new sculpture by artist Anthony Padgett, and rarely seen art. Discover the exhibition on Art UK.

  • winter scene
    © The artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Bridgeman Images

    At The Collection, Lincoln a collaborative digital Exhibition Learning Project explores, interprets, and responds to a selection of artworks that reflect upon the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Discover the exhibition on their website

Join Curator Odile Masiá for a tour of the exhibition.

Download Resources

  • PDF Booklet

    Sea, Land, Air and Home: Art of the Second World War at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum.

Discover more online

Flying into Action

Between October 2020 and January 2021, eight young people met weekly to engage with each other, industry professionals and artists to explore the Battle of Britain and themes of war and conflict, supported by The Collection, Lincoln. Together but having never physically met, the Creative Collective worked remotely to explore common themes and different perspectives. Their responses span a variety of mediums and highlight the enduring relevance of this momentous event.

Preston’s Second World War Stories

Twelve people from the Preston area responded to a call out from The Harris for Second World War stories. Artist Anthony Padgett took a portrait photograph of each participant with objects that help to tell their story. The photographs were printed on panels and made into a large sculpture of a Spitfire, creating an important and powerful record of some of the many experiences of the conflict, at home and overseas.

Contemporary Connections in Rochdale

Through a dialogue with Mrs Greenwood, who is 101 and lived in Rochdale during the Second World War, Year 9 students from Oulder Hill Community School creatively responded to themes of war and conflict, and contemporary parallels with experiences of lockdown, supported by Touchstones Rochdale. Students created a painting, wrote labels for artworks and filmed interviews, all of which can be experienced in the exhibition and online.
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