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In Place of War (IPOW) is an international cultural organisation that aims to build a creative movement, a networked and powerful platform that allows voices to be heard and opportunities to be created in zones of violence and disruption. It was started by Professor James Thompson in 2004 as an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded research project on the relationship between performance and war. So far, IPOW has expanded its activities to production and education. Numerous projects have brought artists from Colombia, India, Nepal, Egypt, Brazil, Congo, Zimbabwe and Venezuela to collaborate and perform with UK artists.

I am always interested in intercultural communication and hope to focus on this area during my postgraduate study. When an opportunity arose to work with IPOW, I knew that it was the best choice. The title of my role was “production assistant” but I was able to support a wide range of tasks and duties. My work can be roughly divided into two categories, artist network development and production programming. In terms of artist network development, I set up the contact database that covers artists and other network of staff, uploaded new artists and partnership organisations to the IPOW digital platform archive, developed artist narratives and case studies from the production strand of our work, and administered the application process. As for production programming, I researched and collated relevant artist information and programming ideas, drew up the audience development plan, developed curation ideas for visual art elements, assisted project opportunity promotion, and provided general administrative support to wider production elements in both UK and international IPOW events.

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Before the placement, I could hardly imagine artists in the war zone where even basic need cannot be satisfied. Later on I get to know that many innovative grassroots artists never give up their ambitions even if they lack the equipment, facilities and support, which is incredible and extremely inspiring. They have different stories yet share the same passion for the arts. The arts truly belong to everyone and exist everywhere.

I feel lucky to work with the IPOW team. IPOW consists of a small team with eight staff members, and all of them are passionate about what they are doing. My supervisor Inés is really supportive and helpful. Whenever I felt confused, she would love to carefully explain the context and tell me what to do. I was able to experience work in different areas, which is extremely beneficial to my career choices in the future. I am very grateful to the IPOW team for the opportunity.