Three young members of the group Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) sit in front of a formation of fighters preparing to march towards the capital Monrovia. June 2003.
© IWM DC 64034

Katy began her AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Project 'The influence of contemporary culture on young combatants in West Africa (1989–2003), explored through the archives of ‘trans-media’ journalist Tim Hetherington', a partnership between IWM and Kings College London, in October 2019. Utilising the archives of Tim Hetherington and other conflict photographers the project explores the hypothesis that the imagery of conflict offers a unique opportunity to gain a better understanding of how young combatants drew upon an array of visual cultures, both local and global, to create a performance. By reframing the subject of a photograph as a co-creator and by adopting the thesis that seeing and being seen are social processes, in which objects and acts are produced with the intention of communicating something to someone, this project asks what youth combatants may have been trying to communicate and to whom, and how this helps us to understand how they placed themselves in the world.