In September 2001, IWM (Imperial War Museums) and University College London initiated a series of conferences focusing on the interdisciplinary study of twentieth and twenty-first century conflict - a focal point of which is the study of material culture and memory through a hybrid approach which embraces archaeology, anthropology, cultural history, military history, art history, cultural geography, and museum and heritage studies. The aim of the conferences is to offer an intellectual centre of gravity for a wide variety of scholars who specialize in different aspects of twentieth and twenty-first Century conflict, but whose work centres on some aspect of materiality.

Curating the Great War, 13-14 September 2018

Professor Jay Winter speaking at Curating the Grat War
Professor Jay Winter at the Curating the Great War Conference, 2018 © IWM

Curating the Great War, 13-14 September 2018

Curating the Great War formed part of IWM London’s 2018 Making a New World season.

The conference looked at how the First World War was and is represented and interpreted in museums across the world. 

View the programme

Dr James Wallis speaking at Curating the Great War
IWM Institute Associate and former CDP student Dr James Wallis speaking at the Curating the Great War Conference, 2018, about the IWM's First World War galleries opened in 2014. © IWM

The establishment of First World War museums was an unpredictable and unsystematic process, materially, politically and temporally. Their inception and subsequent development, and the animating spirit which lay behind them, offer a rich field of research for scholars interested in public and governmental responses to the experience of war – both personal and national. Above all, it is in these museums that we one sees the most complete fusion of the material culture of conflict with its historical, political and experiential context.

This conference was organised by the University of Bristol and the IWM Institute

Past conferences and publications

  • Materialities of Conflict, 8 September 2001

    Publication: Matters of Conflict Routledge 2004, Ed N J Saunders.

  • Conflict Memory and Material Culture of the Great War, 11 September 2004

    Publication: Contested Objects Routledge 2009, Eds N J Saunders & P Cornish.

  • Bodies In Conflict, 16 September 2006

    Publication: Bodies in Conflict Routledge 2013, Eds P Cornish & N J Saunders.

  • Conflict Landscapes, 26 May 2007

    Publication in preparation.

  • Conflict and the Senses, 6-7 September 2013

    Publication: Modern Conflict and the Senses Routledge 2017, Eds N J Saunders & P Cornish.