My ICP work placement was with In Place Of War, an innovative research project and arts organisation based at the University of Manchester. I undertook the placement as a 15-credit module as part of my MA in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response.
I chose In Place Of War and the role of Digital and Events Assistant as it combined my interest in responses to conflict with an active interest in the arts that was otherwise not getting much exercise in my other MA studies. The role involved maintaining and curating content on the online digital platform www.inplaceofwar.net and engaging with Artists across the world, operating in places of war, conflict or revolution!
In Place Of War invites artists around the world to connect with each other, share their work and discover new art forms through the digital platform. It promotes the use of Creative Commons licensing as a way to facilitate collaboration and spread innovative practice through the cross-pollination of ideas and art forms. The Platform: www.inplaceofwar.net is host to a huge variety of art and artists, as well as community organisations and grassroots movements.
A particular favourite of mine was an official British Army War Artist: George Butler. George paints in watercolour and has captured images of soldiers and civilians from conflicts across the world. His depiction of the ‘Arab Spring’ is particularly effective and evocative. More of George’s work can be seen on the platform at: http://www.inplaceofwar.net/users/13
In Place Of War works with cultural organisations such as the Imperial War Museum North, who hosted an event with Emmanuel Jal, a South Sudanese musician, and former child soldier:http://www.inplaceofwar.net/emmanuel-jal-at-imperial-war-museum-north
In Place Of War will also marking the centenary of the First World War, and has applied to be a partner of www.1914.org, a network of local, regional, national and international cultural and educational organizations led by the Imperial War Museum.
There is a wealth of art to ‘Discover’ on the platform and it can be explored geographically through an interactive world map, or by Theme, Person or Organisation. Each artefact on the platform, be it picture, video, music or text can be tagged with ‘themes’ varying from ‘Abstract’ to ‘Zimbabwe’ via ‘Social Change’, ‘Citizen journalism’ and ‘Hip Hop’. There is also a facility to collect and curate your own virtual exhibition of the works you have liked and want to share with others.
The interactive element of the platform is in development, but the intention is that artists will connect and collaborate on projects, and it is hoped that there will be a space to advertise opportunities and commissions.
As well as the research element and online platform, In Place Of War helps to promote Artists at International music festivals. This summer, featured IPOW artists will be performing at Shambala www.shambalafestival.org and Green Man www.greenman.net festivals. Follow @inplaceofwar, @ShambalaFest & @GreenManFest for more details throughout the summer.