Research is a major activity at IWM. As an Independent Research Organisation, our appetite for new approaches and our knowledge of our extensive collections provides an essential grounding to how we curate and present the history of conflict. It is our intention that IWM’s research should speak not just to the academic community but to all our visitors. 

"IWM’s collections provide our staff with a vast resource for their research, and one of the rewarding aspects of my work is to witness the special relationship they bring to that activity, through constant immersion in the material culture that conflict has produced.  Raw unedited film footage, hastily scribbled diary entries, objects exchanged as gifts between soldiers of different nationalities – these are just some of the materials that give research at IWM its endless possibilities".

Suzanne Bardgett, Head of Academic Research and Partnerships

IWM Institute

In association with IWM Institute, Imperial War Museums' innovation hub, creating new ways of deepening understanding of war and conflict.

Current Projects

Research is a major activity at IWM with projects spanning legacies of Empire, refugees and displacement and the role of social media in conflict. 

    Tim Hetherington at the Restrepo Outpost in the Korengal Valley, September 2007

    The Tim Hetherington Collection And Conflict Imagery Network

    The University of Leeds and IWM have received Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funding for a series of network events, 2020 - 2022, exploring the archive of the award-winning conflict photographer Tim Hetherington.

  • A screenshot from the titles of a United Nations Television programme
    Still from the closing titles that feature on many of the UNTV films © UN610A

    Filming For Peace In 1990s Croatia And Bosnia-Herzegovina

    In 2019, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) awarded funding for an international research network led by the University of Hull to bring together researchers, museum professionals, journalists, peace-building experts and survivors of displacement to examine the work of United Nations Television and its collection, produced during the Yugoslav War and deposited at IWM in 1996. The UNTV collection contains 200 reports and video letters, over 2000 rushes, and around 700 documents, providing unparalleled insights into UNTV’s operations during the Yugoslav Wars.


  • Provisional Semantics
    Punjabi volunteers crowding round the gates of an army recruiting office in northern India © IWM IND 1300

    Provisional Semantics

    In 2020, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) awarded funding for Provisional Semantics, one of eight Foundational Projects funded under the Towards a National Collection Programme. A collaboration between Tate, The National Trust, Imperial War Museums and the Decolonising Arts Institute at the University of the Arts London, this project will explore how museums and heritage organisations can engage in decolonising practices to produce search terms, catalogue entries and interpretations to support everyone to engage positively with a digitised national collection.

See more Research Projects and explore our latest Research Reports.

Collaborative Doctoral Research

IWM supervises several Collaborative Doctoral Award students who are researching their PhDs through the Arts and Humanities Research Council's Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships Scheme. 

Doctoral students standing outside IWM

Collaborative Doctoral Awards

Learn more about our Collaborative Doctoral Partnership programme, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Projects

Explore CDP research projects with topics ranging from 'Dreaming and the First World War' to 'Surviving Modern War: experiences British service personnel in the Falklands campaign, 1982'.
CDP students outside the museum, October 2016

Student Testimonies

Read testimonials from past and present CDP students.

Staff Researchers

IWM staff are active in the research community, with specialisms including conflict photography, material culture of war and sexual violence in conflict. 

  • Suzanne Bardgett

    Suzanne Bardgett

    Suzanne Bardgett oversees IWM’s engagement with the academic community and works to embed and develop research as a key function of IWM.  Former roles include editing the IWM Review and leading the team which created the Holocaust Exhibition opened in 2000. She has been Principal Investigator on two AHRC-funded projects – Whose Remembrance? (2012-13) which investigated the state of awareness of the history of colonial involvement in the two world wars, and on the network which investigated the archive of the BBC Monitoring Service (2015-16). She is currently Co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded network UNTV in Croatia and Bosnia –Herzegovina. Suzanne co-chaired the Independent Research Organisation's Consortium from 2016-2020; co-chaired the Royal Historical Society’s working group on equality and diversity (2019); is co-editor of Palgrave Macmillan’s series The Holocaust and its contexts; and a trustee of the Freud Museum. She has published widely, most recently Wartime London in Paintings (2020). 


    Chris Cooper

    Chris Cooper is Senior Curator in the Contemporary Conflict team. He is responsible for developing the museum’s collections relating to the Iraq War and counter-ISIS operations in Iraq and Syria. He is the IWM lead on the Social Media in Conflict Research Project, working in collaboration with Dr Charlie Winter of King’s College London. His current research themes include social media and its influence on the conflict environment and how ISIS used the social media sphere to disseminate propaganda.

  • Louise Skidmore

    Louise Skidmore

    Louise Skidmore is Head of Contemporary Conflict. Previously she led the innovative War Story project from 2010 to 2016, which introduced new collecting methodologies to IWM and established IWM’s contemporary conflict collection, which continues to grow under her leadership. As War Story project manager she oversaw the exhibition projects War Story: Serving in Afghanistan, Supplying Frontline Afghanistan, Afghanistan 2014 and Fighting Extremes: From ISIS to Ebola leading on proactive collecting for these projects, which involved ground-breaking visits to Helmand and to Kabul, Afghanistan. She has led exhibition projects as both project manager and curator, most recently as lead curator for Yemen: Story of a Crisis at IWM North.