Photograph of an operating theatre
© IWM Art.IWM ART 16803 14 Operating Theatre, Lazarett, JÜTERBOG, by Angus Boulton

IWM is harnessing the legacy of 14-18 NOW, making £2 million available to artists and cultural organisations for new art commissions in 2021. These works can explore any theme from the First World War up to active, present day conflicts.

Known as the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, the programme has been funded by a share of the royalties from Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old, which was co-commissioned by IWM and 14-18 NOW to mark the end of the First World War Centenary in 2018.

The IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund will reinvest the financial legacy of Peter Jackson’s film to support a series of new artworks – inspired by the heritage of conflict – during a critical time for the UK’s culture sector. This builds on over 100 years of commissioning by IWM, who since the First World War has worked with artists to record the experiences of war for its collections.

Over 20 commissions from artists will be funded as part of this programme, bringing art to audiences in new and relevant ways. 

Find out more about the first commissions below. The expression of interest form for those interested in the final seven opportunities is now open and will close at 5pm on Thursday 1 September 2022.

New commissions

The exterior of the BATLIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, depicting bridge leading towards the building.
BATLIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, England.

New commissions

Five major partners have been appointed by IWM as co-commissioners, each to receive £250,000.

They are The Hunterian in Glasgow; Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead; Ulster University in Derry-Londonderry; and Leicester Museums and Galleries.

Working with five world-leading artists, these joint commissions will be displayed between 2023 and 2024 and explore themes ranging from care work in conflict to the current refugee crisis.

Two additional commissions at IWM sites will each receive £250,000 and extend IWM’s rich art offer. Details of the commissions will be announced later this year.

  • BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

    Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz will develop a new commission that considers anti-war activism as the foundation for a monument that can serve as a catalyst for healing, cultural exchange and kinship. Presented in BALTIC’s largest gallery space from summer 2023, Rakowitz’s project will invite Gateshead’s local communities to participate in the making of a public space that considers how personal and collective histories interweave through the aspects of cultural heritage that sustain life – from objects to food, stories and rituals – and how they can be used as a form of resistance.

  • The Hunterian

    A new body of work created with Glasgow-based artist Cathy Wilkes. The project will allow Wilkes an extended period of reflection on questions of war, conflict and violence. Wilkes’ work encompasses both abstraction and intense social realism to convey themes of universal relevance: attachment, care, loss, separation, exposure, and revelation.

  • Glynn Vivian Art Gallery

    Turner Prize 2022 nominee Heather Phillipson will propose a vision from the skies inspired by the US government’s 2021 report into UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) for her commission at Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. Her work, often involving collisions of wildly different imagery, materials, and media, will consider various sites of conflict, from the microcosmic to the global.

  • Leicester Museums and Galleries

    Leicester Museums and Galleries, whose commissioned artist is to be revealed later this year, will reflect on Leicester’s role as a City of Sanctuary with a significant public artwork inspired by the stories of local individuals affected by the upheaval and displacement caused by conflict.

  • Ulster University

    The commission will respond to the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in 2023, working in Derry-Londonderry with French acrobatic and circus arts collective Compagnie XY and in partnership with Northern Ireland’s contemporary circus companies – In Your Space and Circusful – world leaders in using circus to bring communities together, championing citizens' physical and spiritual resilience in overcoming obstacles and sustaining a collaborative peace.

Alongside the five major partner and two IWM commissions, 15 member organisations from IWM’s War and Conflict Subject Specialist Network will receive smaller grants of £20,000.

Comprising universities, galleries, local authorities and social enterprises, eight have now been selected, including: Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln; Gateways to the First World War at the University of Kent; arts and heritage social enterprise Our Big Picture; Nottinghamshire-based charitable community benefit society Inspire: Culture, Learning and Libraries; Believe in Me CIC, a social enterprise specialising in South Asian histories and education; PARC (Photography and the Archive Research Centre) at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London; Visualising War at the University of St Andrews; and Swansea University.

Working alongside both established and emerging artists, their commissions will explore conflict from the First World War to the present day. 

Get Involved

Find out more about the 14-18 Now Legacy Fund and how to apply below. The expression of interest form for those interested in the final seven opportunities is now open and will close at 5pm on Thursday 1 September 2022.

  • Guidelines

    Find out more about the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund and how to submit an expression of interest.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Explore answers to common questions about the programme. 

  • Selection Criteria

    Read the selection criteria we are looking for in expression of interest submissions.

  • Expression of Interest

    The expression of interest form is now open and will close at 5 pm on Thursday 1 September 2022.