IWM Research Active Staff
Chris Cooper is Head of the Second World War and Mid-Twentieth Century Conflict team. With the University of Southampton’s Dr Chris Fuller, he is currently supervising Hirah Azhar’s collaborative PhD on the consequences of digital and social media influence operations by state and non-state actors. He was previously responsible for developing the museum’s collections relating to the Iraq War and counter-ISIS operations in Iraq and Syria and was the IWM lead on the Social Media in Conflict Research Project, working in collaboration with Dr Charlie Winter of King’s College London. At IWM he has curated exhibitions Yemen: Inside a Crisis at IWM North and War Games: Real Conflicts | Virtual Worlds | Extreme Entertainment at IWM London.
Amanda Mason is a Senior Curator in the Contemporary Conflict team, specialising in interpretation and currently focussing on developing and documenting IWM’s collections relating to the conflict in Afghanistan from 2001 onwards. She has extensive experience of developing exhibition narratives, text writing and specifically in communicating complex and difficult subjects to a range of audiences. Recent exhibitions curated at IWM include War Correspondents, Fashion on the Ration, Reflections on Helmand and Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire.
Helen Mavin is Head of Photographs. She is responsible for the care and strategic development of the collection which comprises of approximately 11 million items across negative, print, and digital formats. Helen is currently Co-Investigator on the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project: ‘Provisional Semantics: Addressing the challenges of representing multiple perspectives within an evolving digitised national collection’ and is co-supervising an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with Cardiff University ‘Diversifying and decolonising conflict photography: an exploration of how accompanying textual information can influence the reading and understanding of photographs’.
Rebecca Newell has worked at IWM since 2017 and is the museum’s lead specialist for art history and artist engagement. She works on all aspects related to the care, display and interpretation of IWM's preeminent art collection, identifying new opportunities for collecting, artist commissioning and working with cultural partners. She was lead curator for the IWM Blavatnik Art, Film and Photography Galleries, and also co-leads the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, the IWM’s national artist commissioning partnership programme. She is part of the research-active staff community at IWM engaging with experts and academics on a range of topics. With Birkbeck’s Matt Cook, she supervised Lee Arnott’s collaborative PhD on the experiences of LGBTQ service personnel 1980-present. Her current research themes also include sexual and gender violence in conflict and early post-conflict spaces, marginalised and forgotten histories, issues of representation and the role of the artist in recording and memorialising conflict.
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.
Alan Wakefield is Head of First World War & Early 20th Century Conflict, where he leads the curatorial team charged with interpreting and developing the hugely varied collection of material covering the period 1900 – 1929. He has co-supervised one Collaborative Doctoral Partnership PhD student, Jane McArthur, with the University of Edinburgh. Alan is a recognised authority on British involvement in the Salonika Campaign (1915-1918) and has lectured and contributed to publications in the UK, Greece, Russia and Serbia on aspects of the campaign and other First World War related subjects. His most recent publications and papers include ‘The First World War In Focus – Rare and Unseen Photographs’ (2018); ‘A long way from France and Flanders – Experiences of British Military Personnel in South Russia 1916 – 1920 as reflected in the collections of the Imperial War Museums’ (Volgograd, November 2019); ‘The British Way in Warfare – Salonika 1915-1918’ (Belgrade, November 2018); ‘Cameras with the British Salonika Force’ (Thessaloniki, May 2018) and 'An Education in Itself' – The British Military Mission to South Russia 1918-1920 given at the joint British Commission for Military History / Western Front Association online conference, hosted by the National Army Museum in January 2021.
Claire Brenard is an art curator in the First World War team. She is currently researching the history of IWM’s art collection from its origins in 1917 to the present day for a book, due to be published by IWM in 2023. Her work considers the role of the art collection within the war museum, with an eye on the wider colonial context, and illuminates British war art’s changing remit, from subtle form of propaganda to the investigative practice of more recent artists. Since she started at IWM in 2012, Claire has researched the museum’s “unofficial” Second World War art collection, and curated art exhibitions including Architecture of War, Visions of War Above and Below, co-curated Age of Terror: Art Since 9/11 and lately, Wartime London: Art of the Blitz, the first art exhibition of its kind at the Churchill War Rooms.
Greg Brockett is a photography curator with the Contemporary Conflict team. He is Co-Investigator for an Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project in partnership with the University of Leeds. The project is to set up knowledge exchange workshops with public audiences about key themes within the Tim Hetherington Archive in parallel with research events for academics and photojournalists. Greg will be presenting on the outcomes of this research at a conference later this year and is an editor for a special edition of the Journal of War and Culture Studies based on Hetherington’s work. . Greg is also co-supervising a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) in collaboration with King’s College London. The studentship is titled: ‘The influence of contemporary culture on young combatants during and after the civil conflicts in West Africa (1991–2005).