Curating Peace: the Role of Museums in Post-Conflict and Conflict Society (War Studies, KCL) – NOW FILLED

Contact: Rachel Kerr


Department: Department of War Studies

Institution: King’s College London

Project timeline: April-June 2022

Project duration:13 weeks

Closing date: 14th March 2022

Expertise required: The intern will need: 1) Experience of qualitative research (interviews). 2) Experience of conducting literature reviews. 3) Experience of organising workshops. 4) Excellent communication skills. 5) An interest or expertise in history and memory, transitional justice and/or art and reconciliation.

Project description: This project seeks to develop a new research agenda and construct an international research network exploring the role of museums in conflict and post-conflict society. It builds on previous AHRC-funded research on Art and Reconciliation, which explored the potential of arts-based innovations to support reconciliation activity, working with partner organisations including the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Hercegovina and the Post-Conflict Research Centre (PCRC) in Sarajevo. This project seeks to develop the strand of research investigating the role that museums can play in curating peace by offering alternative narratives and modes of engagement with the present and past and opening dialogue. The aim of the research is to underpin and contribute to PCRC’s development of a new (online) Western Balkans Peace Museum. The objectives of the research are: 1. To bring interdisciplinary understanding to support new ways of thinking about the role of museums in the conflict and post-conflict societies; 2. To investigate archival material and explore the potential of innovative approaches to its curation; 3. To evaluate the potential benefits and challenges of online peace museums as a digital peacebuilding and peace education strategy; 4. To establish a global community of researchers and practitioners engaged in peace museums and peace education.

Description of work involved:

The student will provide research assistance to support the development of a new research agenda, potential research funding bid, publication(s), and the creation of an international network. This will involve reviewing academic literatures on peace education and war/peace museums, mapping peace museums according to criteria established through the literature review to create a database, conducting interviews with curators and directors of a selection of the museums identified, organising a series of online workshops, and mapping and exploring potential archival sources and resources, including the archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the UNTV archive, held at the Imperial War Museum in London, as well as the archives and multi-media resources of PCRC and other peacebuilding organisations in the region.

Student benefits:1) The research assistant will be involved in international research network building, through helping to organise an online workshop/ seminar. The student will thereby gain experience of academic event organisation and administration, as well as having the opportunity to build individual relationships and contacts with international academics. 2) In providing research assistance to support the development of a potential funding bid, the student will gain experience of the application process, and may potentially be a candidate for any subsequently offered research positions. 3) Through supporting the conduct of primary interview research, and reviewing relevant academic literatures, the student will be mentored with respect to a key process in academic professional life (the development of a research article). The intention is that the research assistant will be a co-author on the research article, setting out the project research agenda. This will benefit the career development of the student, and support their transition into professional academic life after they complete their doctorate.