Imperial War Museum Build The Truce

Announcement: Build the Truce Wrap-Up

Image of International Peace Day advert

This blog archives some of the key events from IWM’s Build The Truce project (2009-2012). You can’t add comments and queries but you may still contact IWM staff to find out about new projects and related activity. IWM’s website is a good place to start – especially sections on learning and interpretation and national and international projects.

Build The Truce looked at contemporary conflict from a new perspective, and covered a host of activities across IWM sites. It gave IWM staff and audiences a chance to look at moments of truce, how they happen and what can be achieved while a truce holds. Over three years of managing the project, it was my privilege and pleasure to work with dozens of schools, universities, NGOs and charities, and their support and efforts in helping IWM develop new programmes and resources were outstanding. Because of their help, we were able to:

Collect interviews with people who had lived and worked in conflict zones, including medics and peacemakers from Iraq, Northern Ireland, El Salvador and Kosovo. They were used online and in exhibitions and have been added to IWM’s collections for the future.

Host open days for International Day of Peace, where IWM galleries offered a space for visitors to meet staff and volunteers from aid agencies, finding out more about their work in the aftermath of war. In addition, visitors took part in film screenings, talks and other activities looking at truce and conflict from different perspectives.

Deliver seminars for teachers, museum staff and others who wanted to find out more about conflict resolution, and how to carry on the discussion in their own workplaces with students and visitors.

Create new learning sessions for schools at IWM Duxford, IWM London and IWM North, helped by teachers and students who took part in early stages and told us how they wanted to learn about modern conflict and its aftermath.  These sessions cover the cause and consequences of conflict, examine and practise conflict resolution skills, and encourage discussion and debate. Resources include an android app, looking at conflict cycles and the events or factors which might reduce or heighten conflict, currently used in IWM North sessions and handling objects for IWM Duxford’s booked sessions.

Work with Makewaves, a web-based schools community, to create an online forum. Here we were able to listen to students’ views and give them access to material from conferences, interviews and museum collections. Schools marked Refugee Week, Remembrance and Peace Day – students created their own work for these anniversaries and began their own online discussions about these themes. The Makewaves site still holds this material and you can find out more in the IWM areas.

Create films using sound clips from eyewitness interviews, video footage and photos for displays in IWM North and IWM London. These were part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, which gave us an Inspire mark as part of its Olympic Truce programme. At IWM North the Truce Big Picture Show is now part of their permanent programme of daily, 360-degree audio-visual projects in the Main Exhibition Space. Additional interview material can be found in the Your History workstations at IWM North.

Develop new visitor programmes at IWM North and IWM London, taking inspiration from the idea of truce. Free events included new storytelling sessions for families, film screenings, drama performances and gallery tours, plus talks and panel discussions involving key NGOS and conflict resolution agencies. Many of these activities are now part of ongoing, exciting visitor programmes at museum branches.

Find new partners for future projects, through great relationships with organisations that have expert knowledge, first-hand experience, unique resources and amazing ideas about conflict and conflict resolution. These will help IWM continue to develop its programmes and collections, making sure they reflect 21st century audiences, their interests and concerns.

I want to thank everyone who took part in any of Build The Truce’s programmes, discussions, events, interviews or exhibitions. Whether you are one of the hundreds of visitors who came to see Build The Truce displays, students who came to one of our learning sessions, families who came to Build The Truce storytelling; if you shared your experiences for our archive, asked questions at a panel discussion, or represented your organisation at our open days; if you shared photos, film, ideas and expertise, or took part in any of the many fascinating conversations I have had over the last three years – thank you. Build The Truce was made up of all these contributions, which will carry on influencing IWM’s programmes for the future.

Special thanks to:

  • Conciliation Resources
  • International Alert
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Mines Advisory Group
  • MSF
  • Red Cross UK
  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, University of Manchester
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