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27 June 2024

King's co-organises art exhibition on the transformative power of art in society

The exhibition at Redcar’s Kirkleatham Museum, which starts on the 28 June and runs throughout the summer, features artworks resulting from a unique competition organised by King’s College London's Department of War Studies, the Open University, and the Pitik Bulag cartoon collective from the Philippines.

PCD (l) and VH (r) BISA conference 2024

The initiative which was funded by King’s School of Social Science Impact Fund, highlights the significant influence of art on social and political discourse.

The first segment of the exhibition features six political cartoons from around the globe. They were created as part of the international competition that paired cartoonists with academics to translate complex scholarly findings into accessible and thought-provoking visual narratives. These works are grounded in social research and address themes such as disinformation, precarity and the agency of marginalised groups. 

The second part of the exhibition shifts focus to multimedia works tackling the contemporary issue of disinformation. Among these is a video installation and an interactive mirror-based piece from the Face In The Hole project, which uses the juxtaposition of text and imagery to challenge harmful political rhetoric.

A highlight of the opening day includes an interactive session led by artist Joanna Mamede of Face In The Hole, who will work with Year 10 students from Outwood Academy Bydales. These students will create artwork addressing social issues relevant to them, guided by Mamede. Their creations will be added to the exhibition, offering a new perspective on the topics.  

The visual appeal of images means they can spread virally on social media, while the apparent simplicity of the medium can draw the reader into a story more readily than a scholarly text. We wanted to experiment with offering academics an innovative way to bring their research to wider audiences and increase its general impact.

Dr Victoria Hudson, British Academy Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of War Studies, and co-organiser of the exhibition.

The exhibition is part of a broader research network under the OU’s Open Societal Challenges Programme, dedicated to addressing significant societal issues through research-driven, impactful initiatives that aim to drive societal change and improve lives.

This initiative has the capacity to change the way we think about the global challenges of the day, and how we can work together to address them. Academics can spend their entire careers working to solve big social problems but struggle to communicate their work to everyone else.

Dr Precious Chatterje-Doody, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Studies at the Open University and co-organiser of the exhibition.

For more details about the project, visit the official page and an online gallery showcasing the artwork can be found here.

In this story

Victoria Hudson

Research Fellow

Natasha Kuhrt

Senior Lecturer in International Peace & Security