1 August 2020 to 26 September 2021

IWM London & IWM North

Free

★★★★★
'These three exhibitions don’t pull their punches, and nor should they, when the global refugee crisis is likely to define this time in history.'
Londonist
'If this year has made you reassess what you realise you can’t do without (or actually can do without), the new ‘Refugees’ season at the Imperial War Museum will resonate on all kinds of levels, from the domestic to the global.'
Time Out

Taking place at IWM London and IWM North, Refugees explores refugee experiences throughout history and ongoing issues faced by those affected through two major exhibitions, a series of events and a new site-specific art commission at IWM London from world-renowned artist Ai Weiwei.  

Collectively, 17.5 million people have fled Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen alone, due to recent conflict. This, however, is not a new phenomenon and throughout history war has drastically altered the limits of what many call home. Through two major exhibitions, a new artistic commission and a series of immersive events, IWM’s Refugees season will unlock the personal stories of people forced to flee their homes and those who work to support them. With programming across IWM London and IWM North, Refugees will give visitors the space to consider their own responses to similar experiences and dilemmas.

Past exhibitions

A family and their overloaded car at a refugee centre on the Iraq-Kuwait border, during the First Gulf War, 1991.
A family and their overloaded car at a refugee centre on the Iraq-Kuwait border, during the First Gulf War, 1991. © John Keane (IWM GLF 174)
Exhibitions & Installations

Refugees: Forced to Flee

IWM London
Until 13 June 2021

A Face to Open Doors Hero Image
© ANAGRAM
Activities & Experiences

A Face to Open Doors IWM London

IWM London
Until 13 June 2021

A family cooking on a makeshift cooker in a refugee camp.
© CNN. A photo taken from Life in a Camp at IWM London, a partnership project with CNN.
Activities & Experiences, Exhibitions & Installations

Life in a Camp

IWM London
Until 13 June 2021

A Médecins Sans Frontières Land Cruiser in Aid Workers Exhibition
© IWM
Exhibitions & Installations

Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire

IWM North
Until 26 September 2021

Online

Refugees leaving their homes in Bosnia
First World War

Why do Refugees leave their homes?

Since the First World War, countless lives have been shattered by conflict. Refugees across the globe have had to leave their homes and make journeys to settle somewhere else. This is still happening today. But what drives this displacement? Why do people leave their homes?
© IWM MSF identity card issued to Dr Natalie Roberts in 2015, when she was the Emergency Coordinator for MSF’s response in Yemen.
© IWM MSF identity card issued to Dr Natalie Roberts in 2015, when she was the Emergency Coordinator for MSF’s response in Yemen.
Contemporary conflict

Aid Workers: Why we do it

Being an aid worker can mean facing hard choices and dangerous environments. Discover what keeps three aid workers going in difficult times. 
Colony of Belgian workers in Britain. The bond store at the National Projectile Factory, showing stacks of 8 inch shells. Birtley-Elisabethville, Co. Durham, 1918.
© IWM Q 27735
First World War

How Belgian Refugees Kept the British Army Going During the First World War

During the First World War, 250,000 Belgians came to Britain fleeing the conflict that had taken over their country. Some of those who came would end up playing an important role in the war effort.   
Shingai performing as part of Refugee Nights

Refugee Nights

Refugee Nights is a series of videos exploring refugees' stories in talks, music, history and food.