Culture in a Time of Conflict (a)

Culture in a Time of Conflict (a)

Event Name: RSA Arts & Ecology Exchanges
Venue/Location: Royal Society of Arts, London
Date: 10th June 2008
Supporting Organisation(s):
RSA Arts & Ecology

Chair/Other Speakers:
Andrew O'Hagan and Dr Mark Nash (Chair)

Lecture and discussion followed up by article in RSA Arts and Ecology Magazine.

The fourth event in this series explored the environmental footprint of war from an arts perspective. The makers of the film Scarred Lands described the environment as the silent casualty of war. War carries many environmental implications and resource depletion is increasingly engendering conflict. Michael Klare painted a terrifying picture of 'the new landscape of global conflict' in his book Resource Wars. How are artists responding to these challenges and what is their perspective on war?

In November last year David Cotterrell spent three weeks with the Royal Army Medical Corps and Royal Marine Commandos for a residency supported by the Wellcome Trust at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province.

This military perspective was recently complimented by a second trip to Afghanistan, this time through civilian eyes, on an Arts & Ecology residency in Kabul, Afghanistan with Turquoise Mountain. During his time in Kabul he had the opportunity to engage and work with artists, craft makers and art students both at Kabul University and Turquoise Mountain's Centre for Afghan Art and Architecture in Kabul.

For his recent collection of essays, The Atlantic Ocean, writer Andrew O'Hagan researched the lives of two infantrymen, one British and one American, who died on the same night in Iraq. Many of O'Hagan's novels have voiced issues surrounding conflict and he has also written numerous articles exploring the ethics of war.

Be Near Me, his last novel, won the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize award for fiction. He joined the prestigious Robert Burns Humanitarian Award judging panel this year and has recently returned from Palestine where he participated in the Palestine Festival of Literature.

The lecture may be downloaded here as an MP3 audio file.

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