Art and Reconciliation: Conflict, Culture and Community is an AHRC-funded, inter-disciplinary, collaborative project, led by Dr Rachel Kerr, a Senior Lecturer in War Studies, which brings together academics and artists from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, the London School of Economics, the London College of Communication and University of the Arts London.
Dr Milena Michalski is the third artist in residence in the Department of War Studies on a project that runs from December 2016 to November 2018. Her residency is associated with the Art and Reconciliation: Conflict, Culture and Community project and she is creating new work in relation to this theme, curating exhibitions, facilitating workshops and helping to integrate this interdisciplinary and collaborative project into the Department of War Studies.
For the Art and Reconciliation project, Milena and Rachel are joined by three other investigators, Professor James Gow (King’s College London), Dr Denisa Kostovicova (LSE) and Dr Paul Lowe (LCC, UAL). The research is funded through the Large Grant scheme of the AHRC under the Conflict Theme of the Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research (PaCCS) and through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).
This unique collaboration brings together academics, artists and NGOs to create and develop artistic practices and artefacts through a variety of media, including commissioning artists and researchers. The aim is to develop innovative methodologies to guide and evaluate the use of arts and artistic practices to generate conversations around reconciliation, particularly among young people.
It will create the first framework for evaluating such activity in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other policy actors. Although billions of pounds have been invested in post-conflict reconciliation projects involving the creative arts and also aspects of justice, little is known about the impact of this activity. Art and Reconciliation will address this major gap, opening up knowledge exchange between government, academia and the third sector, and impacting beyond the academic community.
For the project, Milena is building on her previous academic and artistic work at King’s on the AHRC funded Pictures of peace and justice project, which identified the salience of visual material in transitional justice and its potential for reconciliation and the issues of memorialisation. Her In/Visible War Crimes Sites series of artworks is ongoing. The project will also hold workshops in London, Sarajevo and Belgrade, a series of smaller events, a major conference and three exhibitions.
Regarding the project and Milena's residency, Dr Rachel Kerr commented: 'Art and Reconciliation is a truly exciting and unique project, bringing together artists and academics, practitioners and communities, to generate conversations around reconciliation. This is a major area, billions of pounds have been spent on ‘art and reconciliation’ but with no real sense of what that means. We will be seeking to bring better understanding, and Milena as Artist in Residence will be a lynchpin to integrate different strands of art and research, as well, of course, as creating new work herself, in response to the theme of reconciliation. As well as contributing to understandings of ‘reconciliation’ and the potential role of arts, the project will help foster innovative methodologies and interdisciplinary research involving the humanities, social sciences and the arts. We are extremely fortunate to have Milena in her capacity as Artist-in-Residence to facilitate this.'
Art on conflict exhibition
28 September – 26 October
Venue: The Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, Park Street, Woodstock, OX20 1SN
As part of World Futures installation in the Arcade at Bush House, BABEL NEWS is a sound-and-vision-scape created by Dr Milena Michalski, a King's artist in the Department of War Studies, which combines abstract moving images with audio material reflecting the BBC World Service, in particular the emergence of the public voice.
The free installation is part of a discrete project, Influencing the world, listening to the world: the emergence of the public voice, involving Prof James Gow, Dr Milena Michalski, Dr Peter Busch, Jayne E. Peake within the Department of War Studies at King's.
It is part of the work associated with the AHRC-funded Art and Reconciliation: Conflict, Culture and Community, a major collaborative project led by Dr Rachel Kerr in the Department of War Studies, with partners at the LSE and University of the Arts. More information of the project can be found here.
Dr Milena Michalski joined King’s as an academic researcher in 2007. While working on the AHRC Beyond Text project Pictures of peace and justice: documentation, evidence and impact of visual material in international war crimes prosecution in 2011–12, she created a visual arts output – a series of silkscreen prints exhibited at Kings Place, London – to complement the academic publications.
She has continued to interweave art and academia in subsequent projects with her art practice engaging particularly with place and perception, sight and site, using a range of media, including print-making, photography, analogue film, digital video and site-specific installation. A major ongoing project is In/Visible War Crimes Sites. As an artist, she has won national and international juried competitions and has been awarded bursaries.
She has worked on academic, arts and often conflict-related projects with the British Film Institute and LUX, and has held seminars and given presentations at Tate Britain and Tate Modern, and participated in many other national and international academic conferences.