In Place of War

In Place of War (IPOW) is an international arts organisation emerging from research at The University of Manchester (UoM) that investigated arts practices in places of war and conflict.

Building from the model established in the original research project, IPOW trains artists, supports the infrastructures that sustain their work, and provides an international platform to showcase their art. From the provision of equipment, creative spaces and the means to maintain professional networks, to the training of young artists in Creative Entrepreneurial programmes, IPOW now pioneers responsive impact, bringing benefit to thousands of artists and other individuals.

Impact highlights include:

  • bringing together of an all women ‘super-group’;
  • providing £400,000 of music equipment to transform music venues across the West Bank;
  • training over 1,000 young artists, 40% of whom have set up businesses in Latin America and Africa.

Further information

In Place of War logo
The IPOW website has received 10,000 hits from 30 different countries, highlighting the role of the arts in troubled situations.

UK refugees and performance artists in war zones access a pioneering initiative to promote theatre in areas of armed conflict.

Our work has answered the call of theatre artists in war zones around the world to address their sense of disconnection. Through workshops, seminars and the widespread distribution of support materials, we have supported the work of performance artists living in and coming from war-torn regions around the world.

Key benefits:

  • Documentation, archiving and fostering new connections between more than 350 arts organisations internationally
  • Training of theatre workers from over 40 groups in participatory theatre techniques through seven events in the UK, Kosovo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
  • 10,000 hits from 30 different countries on the IPOW website highlighting the role of the arts in troubled situations
  • Production of a training manual on use of theatre, distributed to NGOs during the post-tsunami relief period
  • Support with the establishment of the Greater Manchester Refugee Arts Partnership resulting in five refugee arts festivals, two theatre festivals, an acclaimed drama group at the Medical Foundation for Care of Victims of Torture and a national conference of refugee artists, advocates and activists

Our research

We examined the relationship between performance and war through analysis of contemporary examples of conflict-zone theatre globally.

We also studied theatrical protests against wars, and performance in the UK by refugees and asylum seekers.

Key topics:

  • Relationships between the space / time of a conflict and related arts outputs
  • Differences between reconciliation and justice-based projects
  • The links between memorialisation and theatre making
  • Aesthetic challenges faced by artists
  • Critique of international donor practices, helping to make donor support more sensitive to local contexts
  • Affirmation of the importance of arts practices to communities in war zones, challenging assumptions about the priorities of people living in conflict

Lead academics

Professor James Thompson
Dr Jenny Hughes
Dr Alison Jeffers