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About Us

This project is an IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund commission in partnership with the University of St Andrews.

Developed by Dr Alice König, it makes an important contribution to the Visualising War and Peace project by exploring how we understand and narrate one of the many legacies of conflict: forced migration. At the heart of our work is an awareness that stories are world-building. The tales we tell and the pictures we paint of conflict and its aftermath reflect reality, up to a point; but they also help to shape it, by influencing how people think, feel and behave. By researching different ways of visualising forced migration, we can understand how attitudes to refugees, asylum seekers and other forced migrants have evolved over time; and we can also make positive interventions for the future, harnessing the power of storytelling to deepen understanding of the many challenges that forced migrants face on their long journeys to find somewhere to stay.

Artist Diana Forster completed a BA Degree in Contemporary Fine Art at Oxford Brookes University in 2017 after a career in educational publishing. Her practice has developed in three directions: art and conflict, art and science, and the opportunities offered by digital means of making art. Diana’s practice in art and conflict arose from her mother’s experiences in Poland in the Second World War. Her mother was forcibly removed from her home in eastern Poland when Stalin’s troops invaded, and was transported along with an estimated 1.7 million other Polish people to labour camps in Arkhangelsk and Siberia. Diana tries to communicate the unimaginably shocking rupture between a settled, normal life, and a terrifying future decided by strangers. Half way through her career in educational publishing, Diana moved from editing print on paper to developing digital learning materials and software. Now she creates images in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and draws on an iPad.

This project has benefited from the input of a wide range of people, and we are particularly grateful to the following contributors:

Postgraduate Research Assistants Martyna Majewska, Bridget Hardiman and Diana Vonnak

Podcast Guests Waheed Arian, Josef Butler, Hanna Dushkova, Mat Fahrenholz, Lina Fadel, Diana Forster, Elena Isayev, Dijana Muminovic, Dina Nayeri, Alison Phipps

Blog Contributors Hugh Kinsella Cunningham, Holly Axford, Marios Diakourtis, India Goodman, Maddie McCall, Anna Pilgrim, Harris Siderfin

Polish History Consultants Josef Butler and Katazyna Nowak

Experts on forced migration in the UK Pinar Asku and Alison Phipps

Staff at Imperial War Museums, OnFife’s Kirkcaldy Galleries, the Wardlaw Museum, and the University of St Andrews

Staff in the School of Classics, especially Mary Woodcock Kroble and Sam Dixon