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Monthly Members' Newsletter

As we honour the memory of Captain Tom, this month's newsletter reflects on the practices and politics of memory and memorialisation.

For new friends, welcome! We are an interdisciplinary network of Masters, PhD and Early Career Researchers focused on defence, security and military topics in relation to policy, strategy, history, culture and society. We hope you find our network interesting, exciting, informative and supportive.

For old friends, thanks for your continued involvement. We would be nothing without you! This February, we are reflecting on our memories and memorialising of war, we are virtually meeting up as a community, and we have a whole host of new opportunities to get involved in the defence and security space.

Scroll down to get up to date with the news, opinions, and events from our members...


This week saw the sad news of the death of Captain Sir Tom Moore, the British Army Veteran who raised almost £33 million pounds for the NHS in the run-up to his 100th birthday. Captain Tom became a symbol of hope and patriotism for much of the UK as we navigated the early stages of the pandemic, and remained integral to the British narrative throughout 2020 thanks to his message of hope and positivity: "tomorrow will be a good day." 

As well as receiving a Knighthood, he topped the charts and broke worlds records with his recording of 'You'll Never Walk Alone', was given the Pride of Britain award, earned at least two honorary doctorates from Cranfield and Bradford, and became the captain of the FA's Lionhearts squad, among many other accolades.

The nation has mourned his death with the same spirit in which they celebrated his life. A moment of silence in Parliament was observed and claps erupted from doorsteps across the country to show their appreciation for the 'dignity and determination' with which he supported the nation through the last year. After the news of his death on the 2nd February, a p
etition to give him a state funeral has already received over 200,000 signatures. Prime Minister Boris Johnson seemingly signalled his support for a statue of the centenarian, while Health Secretary Matt Hancock said of the news:

"We should find a way to make sure we mark the memory of Captain Tom and thank him for the contribution he made to the NHS. [...] I will ensure that we mark his contribution properly and appropriately at the right moment. [...] I think everybody would welcome that... he touched the hearts of the nation and we should remember that.

With memory and memorialisation January's theme of the month, Captain Tom's passing reminds us that remembrance wears many faces. Questions of public versus private memory have been debated in reference to almost every war in history, and the COVID-19 struggle is no different. The political work that memorialisation can do was a major theme of our Twitter discussions this month, and the death of Captain Tom is an important contextualization of this. This was captured in the controversial (now deleted) comments by Reverend Jarel Robinson-Brown that the memorial 'National Clap' for was a display of the 'cult of White British Nationalism'.

There is no doubt that the memory of Captain Tom will live on in British history; the joy he brought to so many over the past year is a wonderful reflection of his generous and cheerful spirit. Nonetheless, at this time, we must ensure that our collective memory and resulting memorialisation is driven by the wishes of his family and loved ones. We at the DRN send our condolences to them. Rest In Peace Captain Tom.

As always, we wish you a happy and healthy month!

The DRN Team 
We thought we would share with you all the amazing progress we have made over the last year - we couldn't do it without you! Get in touch if you would like to be involved with our committee!
Join Us at our Virtual Meet Up!
To kick off the year in style, we are excited to invite you to our first virtual meet up of 2021! We hope that this can be a space for new and old DRN members to get to know each other, share ideas, and make connections. 

Everyone will have the opportunity to give a 1 minute introduction to their research, or talk about something they are working on, raise awareness about a relevant event or issue or ask for help with a research problem. No pressure to do this but we'd love to hear from you and it might just help you make a new connections with someone else on the call.

We will then split into breakout rooms which will be assigned based on your answers to the sign up questions. The first breakout session will be based on research fields and the second on methodologies but it will be an informal chance to chat with others. Make sure you have a cup of tea ready and settle in on your sofa to have a chat!

The event will be held on Zoom on Wednesday 17th February at 8pm. We will share the Zoom link with you ahead of time. 

For more information and to sign up, go to the Eventbrite page. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible! 

In the News... 
Holocaust Memorial Day 2021
The 27th January 2021 saw not only the UK but many around the world remember the victims of Nazi persecution and the genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. This year memorialisation took place online with a commemorative ceremony featuring the theme: Be the light in the Darkness. The service featured readings from religious leaders, testimony from Holocaust survivors Rachel Levy BEM and Renee Bornstein, and survivors of the genocides in Darfur, Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia.
The ceremony ended with a national moment to ‘light the darkness’ where genocide survivors and people across the UK lit candles to remember victims and to stand against prejudice and hatred. Holocaust Memorial Day demonstrates just a few ways we can remember, commemorate and memorialise important events in our global and national histories. Scroll down to read a couple of our committee members' reflections on this.
How should a nation remember and celebrate its past?
The Washingtonian published a thought provoking interview with poet Elizabeth Alexander, who has been commissioned to help reimagine how the US remembers its past. The interview explores the importance and place of monuments, discussing how important Washington DC is as a site of remembrance not only for US political leaders, but also for conflict memorialisation such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Black history.
Elizabeth goes on to discuss how memorials in the US are being re-contextualised with multi-media: Images of George Floyd and the BLM movement being projected onto Confederate monuments. Read the
full article to find out more about how the Mellon Foundation and Elizabeth Alexander are reimagining memory and memorialisation in the USA.  
What we've been up to... 
Memory and Memorialisation: Holocaust Remembrance Day

On Wednesday 27th January we paid tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. It is important that we remember the innocent lives that were lost, and that we prevent another such horrible tragedy from happening again, especially in light of rising antisemitism and far-right extremism. We thus must continue our education on the subject. As the Covid-19 pandemic is still raging on, it is not advised to travel and visit different Holocaust memorials at the moment. However, we can share some advice on what places you can visit in the future (based on our own experience) and we can advise what online resources you can access in the meantime. To mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, committee members Megghi and Veronika have shared their experiences of Holocaust memorials Terezin and Yad Vashem.
Terezín- the "embellishment" project
by Megghi Pengili
“Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.” – Yehuda Bauer
Most people are familiar with the names of concentration camps such as Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen. But few realise about Terezín, the "embellishment" project. I visited Terezín on 19 December 2019 to fulfil a promise  made to my grandfather  when I was only ten years old. At that time I was studying violin and for my final saggio  I had to prepare the Mi Minor concert of Mendelsohn, when my grandfather, for the first time,  shared his experience from and thoughts about the WWII.  To keep the memory alive and pay tribute to him, I decided to never forget by embarking on a long trip that started in 2007 with the visit to Dachau.
Theresienstadt (Terezin), an 18th century fortress near Prague, was converted by the Nazis into a transit point. "It is great here, so many interesting people. One could live here quite decently, if not for the constant fear of being sent to the East" -- Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, artist, designer, art teacher, and Holocaust martyr, wrote in a postcard sent from Ghetto Theresienstadt, in 1943.
Despite miserable conditions and numerous deaths from starvation and diseases, the prisoners never gave in. In this surrealistic world on the edge of life and death, exhausted by severe conditions, they stuck to their cultural values - books, art, music, intellectual debate, humour. Books, drawings, camp magazines and poems have been published about the culture in Theresienstadt. The children in the camp were educated by excellent teachers. They regained their will to live and hope for the future, but, with few exceptions, were ruthlessly exterminated. In addition to that, hundreds of professionals and academics gave thousands of lectures on all imaginable cultural and scientific subjects. In the documents that survived the war, many of them explain the main motivation for this work:  to prepare and educate the youth for the post-war life!
  • KZ Musik. Music composed in concentration camps (1933–1945). Dir. by Francesco Lotoro. Rome: Musikstrasse, starting 2006 with 4 CDs ( – This cd-collection tries to record all compositions and songs created in the different Nazi camps.
  • The Music of Terezín, Simon Broughton, BBC, 1993.
  • The virtual film premiere of Terezin: Children of the Holocaust, director Anna Smulowitz

Yad Vashem
by Veronika Poniscjakova

Yad Vashem is the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, located in Jerusalem, Israel. I visited Yad Vashem in 2017, first entering the Holocaust History Museum. 
The museum outlines the history of the Holocaust; including the rise of anti-Semitism prior to the Second World War. The contains various artefacts, photographs or testimonies. I was particularly moved by the survivors’ testimonies, played as short movies. It was painful to listen to the survivors describing how they lost their entire families, how they were shot at, experimented on.
At the end of the museum, there’s Hall of Names - a memorial for every Jew who died in the Holocaust. I recall a young woman crying heartbreakingly while looking at one of the files stored in the room.
After leaving the museum, I walked up Avenue of the Righteous Among the Nations, this tree-lined avenue honours non-Jews who risked their lives and saved Jews during the Holocaust.
Lastly, I went to Children’s Memorial. This memorial is very simple: a small circular room in a cavern and yet, it is perhaps the most horrifying and chilling place in Yad Vashem. It was very dark inside, with only small candles illuminating the room; and visitors can hear the names of murdered children, their ages and their countries of origin being read out in the background.
It is expected that Yad Vashem will be re-opened in June 2021. In the meantime, there are many resources provided by Yad Vashem that you can access, including 
The Holocaust Resource Center, and education and e-learning. Yad Vashem has created several online (and free) courses, including an excellent online course on antisemitism that can be accessed through the FutureLearn website.
Never Again.

UN Activities for 2021 Holocaust Remembrance 

Civil Society Briefing “Childhood after Atrocity Crimes: Hope for Peace, Dignity and Equality
4th February, 11am – 12:30pm.
Register here.
The briefing will examine the approaches taken to support children who survived the Holocaust and will consider how these approaches contributed to models adopted for contemporary practice for working with young people who have survived atrocity crimes.
Film screening discussion “The Windermere Children”
11th February, 11am - 12:15pm.
Register here.

 “The Windermere Children” is a biographical drama about the recovery and rehabilitation of 300 young orphaned Jewish children who survived the Holocaust and were sent to the United Kingdom after the end of the Second World War. Join the film discussion with Michael Samuels, film director, Nancy Bornat, film producer, Joanna Miller, Holocaust survivor, and Trevor Avery, historian and director of Lake District Holocaust Project. The film was commissioned by the BBC and ZDF Germany, and it was co-production between Wall to Wall Media and Warner Bros International Germany (WBITVP Germany). The film also premiered in the UK last week, catch it on BBC iPlayer now.
Defence Garden Scheme Website Launch 
The Defence Garden Scheme, run by the lovely DRN Committee member Sally, has launched their website this week! 

The Defence Garden Scheme is a developing network of gardens providing nature-based therapy for Armed Forces Service Leavers and Veterans and their families. They offer a 10-week bespoke programme and currently have 3 Hub gardens in Northern Ireland. Gardens are underway in the Southwest and Northwest of England as well as Scotland. 
DRN member Dr Andrea Ellner and Associate Prof Matt Fossey Director Veterans and Families Research Hub are members of the DGS Development Board. As a Community Interest Company, the DGS aims to develop a research base for the benefits of nature-based therapy for the military as well as a network of gardens that will increase access to nature-based therapy across the UK.

For more information see their website, find them on Instagram: @Defencegardens and LinkedIn: Defence Gardens CIC, or email
Working from home for the near future? Get started with the British Library 

As we all adapt to our new working realities, many of us have had to considerably reimagine the ways that we research. Although its doors may be closed for now, the British Library is offering a series of online webinars to introduce PhD researchers to working with its collection. 

Pick up the basics with their 
introductory webinar and then choose from a range of modules, which each cover an area of the collection so you can focus on what will be relevant to you. All the sessions take place on Wednesday afternoons between the 13th January and 3rd March. They’re all free and you can join as many as you like. It looks like the modules which have already taken place will be available as a recording. 

Here's a taster of what to expect from now until March, and you can see previous modules, find out more, and register on their website. Make sure to book in advance, as places are limited.

Module 5: Not Just Books…
10th February
Web archives, metadata, media and more. Discover more about collection areas you might not have considered for your research. Join breakout sessions to find out more about handling conservation items, the Endangered Archive Programme and the many digital research methods and collections.

Module 6: Music Collections
17th February
Several million items of printed music, original manuscripts, private papers and sound recordings in the collection span all genres from Purcell to Panufnik, from Punk and Pop. Learn more about how this collection can aid your research not just in music, but anthropology, history and culture.

Module 7:  Contemporary Society & Culture Collections
24th February
Learn how to navigate the manuscript, archival, digital and print sources for the study of 20th- and 21st- century Britain and Ireland, including resources that are unavailable elsewhere.

Module 8: Still Not Just Books…
3rd March
Whatever your research, maps, sounds, science and visual arts could play a part. This session introduces you to collections you might not be aware of, with breakout sessions also covering the India Office and everything you could find in our Sound & Vision archives.

(Virtual) Events...
Exiting conflict on a two-way street: Understanding the relationship between individuals exiting armed groups and their communities.
8th February, 2pm - 3:30pm
Visit the Kings College London
Events page to sign up.

Join Kings College London for this Conflict, Security & Development  Speaker Series event organised by the United Nations University – Centre for Policy Research and the Conflict, Security and Development Research Group, King’s College London (Department of War Studies).

Despite decades of international support to assist individuals and groups exiting armed conflict, significant questions remain as to whether such interventions work effectively and if so, under which conditions. One key aspect of the transition to civilian life is the level of acceptance of ex-combatants into their communities, and their formation of new ties. In some contexts, ex-combatants and formerly associated individuals report feeling stigmatised and discriminated against after their involvement in conflict.

This discussion will examine early findings from the MEAC project’s work in Nigeria and Colombia, and research findings from other projects in which efforts have been made to understand community member perceptions and living conditions in the context of reintegration interventions. 

What Prospects for US-Iran Ties Under the Biden Administration? The View from Iran 
17th February, 2pm 
Visit the
RUSI events page to sign up.
Iranian experts offer their perspectives on what Tehran’s potential reactions could be to President Biden’s steps on the nuclear and regional front.

After more than two years of “maximum pressure” under the Trump presidency, what are the options for re-engagement with Iran under a Biden presidency? With a prospective return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA,) high on the new US President’s agenda, what is Iran’s potential reaction and what are the likely implications for the region? This event will provide a view from Iran on the prospects for a resolution of the nuclear crisis and a reduction of tensions in the region.

Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian - Middle East security and nuclear policy specialist, Princeton University
Dr Keyhan Barzegar - Chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the Science and Research Branch of the Islamic Azad University.

This event will be moderated by Dr Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi, lead of the Unpacking the MENA programme and Senior Research Fellow, International Security Studies, RUSI.
International Feminist Journal of Politics' first fully virtual conference: Feminist Connections in Global Politics
17th - 20th February
Visit the IFJP website for more details and how to sign up.
The thematic focus of this conference is feminist connections in global politics, exploring both the connections that feminists IR scholars make or the connections between feminists themselves across organizations, sites, and crises.

There will be interesting presentation that seek not only to theorize such connections but also to explore how connections break down. The conference will highlight connections and collaborations among scholars as well as between scholars and the students they teach, practitioners, and activists, noting how feminist methodologies and pedagogies highlight the importance of connection between individuals, communities, and species.
Sea Power Virtual Conference 2021: Transforming Maritime Forces For an Age of Persistent Competition
25th February, 12:15pm 
Visit the RUSI website to see the agenda and sign up.

This virtual conference seeks to examine the ways in which naval force structures, postures and concepts of operations will need to adjust to a strategic context in which the husbanding forces for high-intensity clashes will no longer suffice.
Welcoming experts from across the military and other uniformed services, industry, and academia, they will be discussing the priorities for maritime forces as they adapt to this shifting strategic and operational environment. Through four sessions as well as an interesting keynote, they will shed light on how maritime forces can simultaneously deliver persistent effects in the context of limited competition, whilst still retaining the capacity to engage in limited warfighting at higher levels of intensity.
King’s Centre for Military Health Research: Online Seminar Series
From 4th March 
Visit their website for more information and to register.
Organised with support from the Forces in Mind Trust, King’s Centre for Military Health Research will be holding 4 free online seminars this March. In lieu of their Veterans' Mental Health Conference, the seminars will bring together leading academics, researchers, medical professionals and charities to discuss the key issues in military mental health. Here's a little overview of the programme: 

Policy and Care - 4th March, 10am - 12pm.
Speakers: Johnny Mercer MP, David Richmond, Kate Davies, and Charles Winstanley.

Science and Function - 11th March, 10am - 12pm.
Speakers: Dr Kirstie Anderson, Professor Nicola Fear, Daniel Dyball, Professor Ron Behrens, Dr Howard Burdett.

Veterans, Families & COVID-19 - 18th March, 10am - 12pm.
Speakers: Dr Marie Louise Sharp, Dr Dominic Murphy, Helen Helliwell, Professor Jan Walker.

Substance misuse and gambling - 25th March, 10am - 12pm.
Speakers: Dr Laura Goodwin, Dr Dan Leightley, Professor Simon Dymond, Professor Jonathan Ling, Simon Bradley, Anne Fox, Professor Charlie Lloyd.
Veteran Politics and Memory: A Global Perspective
16th - 17th April
Visit the
Warwick website to learn more.
This one is a bit far off, but it fits perfectly with our theme for this month of memory and memorialisation. The Department of History at the University of Warwick invite you to join them in exploring the experience of veterans, and particularly the politics of veteran memory and commemoration, from a global, comparative perspective. They hope to publish the resulting papers in an edited collection that will approach veteran memory from a range of different disciplinary, temporal, and geographic perspective.

This conference will blend physical and virtual presentations, both to accommodate scholars from around the world who are unable to attend in person and to provide a safe conference environment with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The call for papers deadline has passed now, but keep your eyes out for their general registration.
As always, keep an eye on our Twitter for new events and opportunities posted/retweeted every day!

Planning a future event?
If you are planning a defence-related event and you would like to reach an audience of like-minded researchers, we'd love to come along! Drop us an email and we can include it in our next newsletter.
If you are interested in any of our events but don't want to go alone, or simply want to expand your network, please reach out on Twitter or drop us an email and we can connect you with fellow DRN members who may be planning to attend.

If you would like to advertise any upcoming opportunities, please let us know via email.
SAFERWORLD Job Opportunity 
SAFERWORLD are looking for a Publications and Editorial Coordinator to provide maternity cover. 
Based in London, this position will involve: 
  • Coordinating the planning, editing and production of Saferworld publications and resources. 
  • Ensuring high-quality editorial standards across Saferworld’s communications and publications.
  • Supporting the communications team in producing material. 
  • Coordinating the dissemination of publications.
The deadline is 7th February, so be quick! Click here to see the full job description and apply.
Defence-In-Depth: Contributors Welcome
The Defence-In-Depth blog is run by Kings College London and has recently featured a number of blogs from DRN members. Their content is well suited to the breadth of our network and they are keen to hear from you with contributions from a wide range of subject areas. To submit a piece or discuss your ideas, contact the editor at
Call for Articles: Chronic pain in military members, Veterans and their families
The Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health is seeking articles that explore chronic pain in military members, Veterans, and their families, for publication in a November 2021 special edition. The purpose of the special edition is to highlight emerging research, trends, and future directions regarding the nature, extent, impacts, prevention and management of chronic pain through military, Veteran and family health research. 
They are looking for articles that explore:
  • Epidemiology of chronic pain
  • Challenges and opportunities related to policy, program design and service delivery
  • Physical or mental health in relation to chronic pain
  • Social determinants and impacts of chronic pain
  • Impacts of chronic pain on various aspects of well-being, including employment, financial, psychological, economic, housing, and social well-being.
  • Chronic pain care models
  • Occupational and operational issues
  • Chronic pain recognition, diagnosis and management
  • Chronic pain education
To contribute, submit a statement of intent to by the 12th February. Manuscripts will be due on the 15th March. Find out more here.
ESRC SWDTP Postdoctoral Fellowships
The ESRC is inviting applications for postdoctoral fellowships to be based at the SWDTP institutions of the University of Bath, the University of Bristol, the University of Exeter, Plymouth University and the University of West of England.

Deadline: 4pm on 23rd March 2021
For more information, click
here, or email
Call for Papers: The Intersections of Race and Security
Security Studies journal is issuing a call for both individual papers and special issue/forum proposals at the intersection of race and security. They are looking for contributions which address some aspect of the following:

Have, and how have, racial categories, relations, and hierarchies constituted and shaped features and dynamics of international and national (in)security and violence? Have, and how have, features and dynamics of international and national (in)security and violence constituted and shaped racial categories, relations, and hierarchies?

Luckily, the deadline for submissions has been extended to 1st May 2021. To find out more, click
here. You must submit your papers as regular research articles, noting in the cover letter that the paper is for consideration as part of the “Race and Security” initiative. If you wish to submit a special forum/issue proposal, follow these instructions.
Supporting our Community...
Fundraising for PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide  
At the end of this year the brilliant Gav Topley, a former co-chair of the DRN, is tackling Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for PAPYRUS, the national Charity for the Prevention of Young Suicide.  

Suicide is the biggest killer of young people under the age of 35 in the UK, in 2018 over 1800 young people took their own lives. PAPYRUS provides confidential support and advice to young people struggling with thoughts of suicide, and anyone worried about a young person through their helpline, HOPELINEUK. We'd love it if you would donate to Gav's challenge here, and you can read about PAPYRUS' good work here. 
Call for Inputs: Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries
The UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights is looking for inputs to inform the WG's annual thematic report to be presented to the General Assembly at its 76th session in October 2021. 

The report will look at the provision of military and security cyber products and services by ‘cyber mercenaries’ and its human rights impact. The deadline for inputs is the 12th February, and more about the scope of the research and key questions can be found here.
Call for Evidence: Defence Committee Inquiry into Women in the Armed Forces
This deadline for evidence for the Defence Committee Inquiry into Women in the Armed Forces has been extended to 28 February.
This inquiry will explore the experience of female service personnel from recruitment to transition and consider whether there are unique challenges that are not adequately addressed by the current policies and services.

To find out more and submit evidence, follow this link.
Call for Participants: Dr Alice Cree and her research team (including our very own Chair Hannah) are looking for participants for their research into military partners and ex-partners. Contact 
Call for Participants: Georgie Eckersley, a PhD researcher from Keele University, is recruiting participants for a study that seeks to explore veterans' wellbeing post-transition. 

For further details about the study click here or contact Georgie at
#DefResChat: Memory and Memorialisation
Our latest #TwitterHour discussed various themes on how conflicts are remembered and commemorated. We are grateful to those who joined us and shared their opinions and expertise.
1: How have memorialisation practices influenced public memory over the years?
  • I guess by practices we should separate forms of memorialisation and rituals at sites. My view is “forms” are renegotiated periodically between directors (State) creatives (arts) and consumers. This negotiation reflects a debate about who what and why people are remembering. Noting that memory claims and their protagonists compete for resources, legitimacy and position. It’s also vital to ask what’s missing and who is not represented in memorialisation and memory.
  • In terms of negotiation I think Directors (State) realise they can’t “enforce” a model. There has to be negotiation. Creatives are that breed he to audiences and engagement. But the public have to buy in A otherwise “memory” isn’t created/sustained. It’s a balancing act.
  • I can see a thread from WW1 memorialisation to Wootton Bassett. Would be interested in opinions about the way that pre-WW1 mem was done
  • There's a lot of fascinating work on how this influences not just public memory, but contemporary interpretations of war and the military. Because direct experience is v limited in British society so they fall back on cultural frames
2: What does war memorialisation mean to you? Why is it important to you?
  • In part organised memorialisation is important to me because I am told that it must be. I feel able to achieve respectful reflection without communal acts of memorialisation, but they feel integral to the British way.
  • 1) respect for previous generations' sacrifice 2) opportunity to reflect on sacrifice of people I have known 3) sense of partaking in communal act of commemoration
  • For me war memorialisation is about remembering those who didn't come back or whose lives were changed by war but I feel increasingly uncomfortable around some of what I see in the name of remembrance and who is being remembered.
  • Remembrance and respect for past losses whilst recognising what and who is left out of war memorialisation.
  • For me it’s important as it provides insight to society and tensions negotiations in that society (well beyond the UK). It’s how myth, identity, memory claims come to compete and “stick”. “War” memorialisation tells us so much about choice, narratives, emotions, it’s immense!
3: How inclusive are war memorials?
  • They’re not. They are almost entirely exclusive. But we must remember they are products of circumstance, politics, resources and appropriation.
As always, our #TwitterHour participants have recommended some brilliant resources:
  • Basham, V. 2016. Gender, race, militarism and remembrance: the everyday geopolitics of the poppy. Gender, Place & Culture, 23 (6): 883 896. 
  • Ferguson, K., and Turnbull, P. 1999. Oh, Say, Can You See: The Semiotics of the Military in Hawai’i. University of Minnesota Press.  
  • Freedman, L. 2017. The Future of War: A History. Public Affairs. 
  • Hines, L.A., Gribble, R., Wessely, S., Dandeker, C., and Fear, N.T. 2015. Are the Armed Forces Understood and Supported by the Public? A View from the United Kingdom. Armed Forces & Society, 41(4): 688–713. 
  • Strachan, H., Harris, R. 2020. The Utility of Military Force and Public Understanding in Today's Britain. Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, RR-A213-1. As of January 24, 2021.
  • Enloe, C., Ibrahimi, K.T., Siegert, N. and Vince, N. 2018. Our Fighting Sisters: nation, memory and gender in Algeria, 1954–2012. Women's History Review, 27(1): 120-129.
Our extensive resources list can be found here.

Keep your eyes peeled on our
website for the next #DefResChat, and don't forget to check for more info on Twitter and our website. 

You can also find all our previous #DefResChats on the Archive section of our
website. Make sure to tag @DefenceResNet and hashtag #DefResChat to join the conversation.
Find Out More
What we're reading...
"Marmite – My Hate and Love for the Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial": Our Response 
In 2019, Lt Col Rob Page published an opinion piece for the Wavell Room in which he discusses his conflicted relationship with the Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial, unveiled in 2017. He explores how the memorial speaks to different communities of people, suggesting that it provides an accessible space in which to work out the memory of conflict over time. Two of our committee, Ben Hodges and Dr Sophy Antrobus, have responded to Page's article below: 
Reflecting on the "forever wars"
By Ben Hodges

Growing up in a military family, I was probably more aware than most of war memorials. Portsmouth has many many memorials. But for me they always seemed to commemorate wars that occured long ago, featuring a different generation. They didn't speak to me, although as symbols of sacrifice, I understood their significance.
The first time I ever saw a memorial to a modern war, that I was aware of, was the 1990/91 Gulf War, but that was tucked away in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral. Since the opening of the National Memorial Arboretum in 2001, it feels like there has been a rush to remember the plethora of post-1945 small (and not so small) wars, but I think it works as a focal point for veterans.

Like Rob, I wasn't particularly enamoured with the Iraq and Afghanistan memorial. The sacrifices made by our military personnel in two hugely unpopular wars didn't seem like something that needed to be commemorated right now. Especially as UK forces remain in Afghanistan. It didnt feel like we had drawn a line under what Americans have dubbed "the forever wars". We were all volunteers; this was not a war of national survival. I felt it replicated memorials in places like Royal Wootton Bassett and the National Memorial Arboretum. But now, several years after the unveiling, I can understand it better. I won't pretend to be an expert on the symbology or psychology of remembrance, but I can see that having the memorial in a prominent position, outside of Ministry of Defence Main Building, at the heart of Whitehall, within walking distance of Parliament is significant. Perhaps one can hope that the government of the day and policy makers at the MoD can look out of their windows and reflect on what the memorial represents, before committing further forces to war.

Ben Hodges is a PhD student at the University of Northampton and served in the Former Yugoslavia and Iraq.

The Bomber Command Memorial 
by Dr Sophy Antrobus 

The Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park, London, was dedicated and unveiled on 28 June 2012. The date is etched in my memory because I was the event’s director and I had spent the previous twelve months living and breathing the plans for the Memorial, its construction and trying to comprehend how best to acknowledge not only the 55,573 men of Bomber Command who lost their lives in the Second World War but also their surviving colleagues. Thousands of them from every corner of the world wanted to be part of the event.

As a result, I soon realised that I would need to build relations with the High Commissions and Embassies, most of them located a short walk from the Memorial. One in particular was a priority of mine: the German Embassy. I contacted their Defence Attaché who kindly invited me to his office for a meeting. At this stage, the Memorial was yet to be built. I explained the plans and that we wanted to include the German Embassy and government as much or as little as they saw fit in updating them on progress. The Attaché offered to give the issue some thought and come back to me.

He called me, not long afterwards, with a suggestion. What if the Memorial referenced the civilian deaths on both sides of the war? I realised, immediately, that I couldn’t imagine a memorial without that acknowledgement. I was certain that the Memorial team would embrace the idea and I was right. It was decided that across the top of the Memorial, spanning its breadth, would be an inscription: ‘THIS MEMORIAL ALSO COMMEMORATES THOSE OF ALL NATIONS WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE BOMBING OF 1939-1945’. Every time I visit the Memorial, even now, I look to that inscription first and wonder at how it might not have existed if I hadn’t reached out to the Defence Attaché and if he hadn’t given the matter his serious consideration

Rob Page refers to the low levels of consultation about the Iraq and Afghanistan memorial. Memorials are powerful symbols which will speak to future generations about our contemporary feelings and priorities. The inclusion of an inscription acknowledging the horrific civilian toll on all sides from aerial bombing is, to me, the Bomber Command Memorial’s most remarkable feature.

Want to go back and read last month's 'In Conversation' interview? You can! We are cataloguing all of our In Conversation pieces separately on our website. If you know someone interesting who would be willing to take part in our In Conversation series, please let us know via email. 
New Books for February
The West’s War Against Islamic State: Operation Inherent Resolve in Syria and Iraq
By Andrew Mumford

Andrew Mumford’s latest book offers the first history of Operation Inherent Resolve and the West's war against ISIS, from its inception in 2014 to the fall of Raqqa in 2017. This book analyses and assesses the military campaign deployed against ISIS in Syria and Iraq by examining the West's strategic objectives as well as the conflicting interests of rival powers, namely Russia, Iran and Turkey. By examining individual operational components of this military engagement such as drone usage, cyber warfare, special forces operations and sponsorship of guerrilla forces, this book offers a unique insight into the nature of modern warfare.
You can buy a copy 
Violent Non-State Actors in Modern Conflict
By David Brown, Donette Murray, Malte Riemann, Norma Rossi and Martin A. Smith
This edited book addresses the role of violent non-state actors in today’s conflict. Violent non-state actors, including warlords, mercenaries, terrorists, transnational organised crime groups, foreign fighters and Private Military and Security Companies, have played a significant role in recent conflicts. This edited book sheds light on who these actors are. It discusses the threats associated with these actors and what this means for military strategy, approach, doctrine, structures and tactics going forward. 
You can buy a copy 
Pause for thought...

"And in that story, the dominant narrative has centred around a word that has been incessantly repeated: sacrifice. It is not likely that sacrifice is how nurses themselves would have seen their own deaths – it is more probable that they felt unsafe and afraid at work but with little agency (and sometimes inadequate equipment) to protect themselves. But for those in power, ‘sacrifice’ conveniently retells the stories of premature death in a way that sublimates anger, grief and powerlessness into pride, bravery and individual choice."

In a recent article 
Joseph Freer (2021) notes that the narrative of 'sacrifice' has allowed the deaths of nurses amid the COVID pandemic to be controlled by politicians. This has bolstered patriotic feeling while displacing private memory with public memorialisation. The gendered dimension of this narrative cannot be overlooked; Freer notes that our collective memory glorifies the masculinised military hero whilst discounting and 'forgetting' acts of caring.

While we are clapping for the health heroes who carried us through 2020, then, we must make sure we recognise the complex, nuanced, and gendered lives we are celebrating.  

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