As part of its ongoing Conflict Café series, the Imperial War Museum (IWM) on the 17th February gathered members of the Syrian community as well as filmmakers and journalists, all of whom have experienced the conflict on the ground, to hear their personal stories and to ask questions in an informal setting. The event was an opportunity for Syrians to explain to interested members of the British public what is going on in Syria, and how they are moving on with their lives here in Britain. During the day, the film In Another Life (2017) was screened which, based on interviews with refugees, tells the story of Adnan, a man from Syria who is trapped in the Jungle, a refugee camp in Calais in 2015 and 2016.
This series is part of the "Syria: Story of a Conflict" exhibition in which Queen Mary University professor Christopher Phillips has collaborated to give a balanced and objective introduction to the complex conflict in Syria, which began in 2011. This intimate display explores the origins, escalations and impact of the Syria conflict through a collection of objects, personal stories and an installation film experience, all considering how a country, once known for its relative stability, has been shattered by conflict.
Visitors also had the opportunity to visit the "Syria: A Conflict Explored" photo exhibition within the IWM. The series of photographs were taken by award-winning Russian documentary photographer Sergey Ponomarev, and explores the human consequences of the Syria conflict. They are presented in two sections, Assad's Syria and The Exodus. Assad’s Syria offers a rare insight into what life was really like for people living in Government-controlled areas of Syria in 2013-2014. The Exodus captures the determination, endurance and suffering of people from Syria and elsewhere who sought asylum and a better life in Europe in 2015-2016.
Watch some footage of the Conflict Café at IWM North: