26th Oct, 2020

Warwick University research informs new 'Refugees: Forced to Flee' exhibition at London's Imperial War Museum

RESEARCH by a Warwick University professor and her team is featured in ‘Refugees: Forced to Flee’, an acclaimed new exhibition at London’s Imperial War Museum (IWM).

The exhibition, which runs until May 24 2021 explores a century of refugee experiences, from Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews to the Calais Jungle. Combining new research and real-life experiences with photographs, oral histories, documents and objects – many new – it questions why conflict forces people to leave home.

It includes an animated audio installation based on research from the ‘Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat’ project led by Professor Vicki Squire from the university’s PAIS (Politics & International Studies) department at Warwick, ELIAMEP Athens and University of Malta. The research also informed a newly commissioned neon blue artwork by artist Indrė Šerpytytė, pictured in the gallery above.

Professor Squire and her team collected the stories of people from the Middle East and Africa making the dangerous journey to safety in Europe through in-depth interviews. They wanted to give those arriving to Europe the opportunity to tell their own stories highlighting the effects of EU migration policies on the journeys, experiences, understandings, expectations, concerns and demands of people on the move.

Vicki, a Professor of International Politics, research on borders and migration, said: “It is really exciting to see our research standing alongside some of the best AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) and ESRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) research on forced migration in this important new exhibition. “As a research team, we owe it to those who so courageously spoke to us to share as widely as we can their experiences of precarious journeys and experiences of arrival to the EU. Thanks to IWM London for supporting us with this.”

Challenging perceptions by putting people’s experiences at the centre of the ‘Refugees: Forced to Flee’ exhibition, is rooted in cutting-edge research, that explores those whose worlds have been turned upside down by war over the past 100 years. The museum is also showing ‘Life in a Camp’, immersive film footage from the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, home to around 18,000 Syrian refugees.

Simon Offord, Curator of Second World War and Mid 20th Century at the Imperial War Museum, said: “The world is witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record, but with media attention less prevalent than it was in 2015, now more than ever it’s important for IWM to bring 100 years of refugee voices and experiences back to the forefront.”

‘Refugees: Forced to Flee’ and ‘Life in a Camp’ at IWM London are free to enter until May 24 2021, as part of Refugees, a free season of exhibitions, artistic commissions and immersive events taking place across IWM London and IWM North in 2020 and 2021. It also features a new site-specific art commission at IWM London from world-renowned artist Ai Weiwei.

View the Crossing the Mediterranean interactive map: https://crossing-the-med-map.warwick.ac.uk #IWMRefugees

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