Syria: A Conflict Explored at IWM North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
Sergey Ponomarev Damascus, Syria, 24 August 2013 Assad's Syria (2013-2014). IWM North
© Sergey Ponomarev for the New York Times Homs, Syria, 15 June 2014 Assad’s Syria (2013-2014)

Syria: A Conflict Explored at Imperial War Museum North (IWM North), Manchester 16 February — 28 May 2018 Entrance is free

Once relatively stable, Syria has now been ranked as the world’s least peaceful place for over five years running. The country is gripped by a civil war that has so far claimed the lives of nearly half a million people and left nearly 11 million displaced, while its towns and cities lie in ruins, and families and communities have been torn apart. More than a national conflict over freedom and democracy, the fighting has also been shaped by external intervention from regional and world powers, turning Syria into a proxy battleground. Alongside all this, the deliberate spread of misinformation by multiple opposing forces and the barriers to foreign reporting have only shrouded the deeply complex, constantly-evolving situation in even further layers of obscurity.

As part of Conflict Now, Imperial War Museum North is embarking on a season of exhibitions and events that will attempt to cut through the confusion and complexity, providing visitors with a deeper, more objective understanding of what is happening in the country today. Drawing upon photography, film, immersive experience, first-hand accounts and direct conversation, Syria: A Conflict Explored sets out to represent a broad range of perspectives on the crisis and bring the information we have available into question.

A good place to start is with a visit to Syria: Story of a Conflict (16 Feb – 28 May) – an exhibition that will examine the origins, escalations and impact of the ongoing war through a display of related objects, a new installation film, and the personal stories of Syrian people. It will also tackle the role that propaganda has played in shaping international understanding – a subject that extends into an accompanying display of over 60 photographs by the award-winning Russian documentary photographer Sergey Ponomarev, who uses colour and composition to highlight important, easily overlooked details.

Accompanying both exhibitions, the season will also feature Conflict Café: Conversations About Syria (17 Feb, 5 May), which gives visitors the opportunity to learn more about life in the country, through talking to people who either lived or worked there both before and during the war. Finally, I Swear to Tell the Truth (15 March – 27 May) takes the form of an immersive ‘experience’ by creative collective Anagram that asks: is confusion a weapon being used to stop the international community from acting, and who controls the fog of war? Exposing the algorithms of media moguls and the impact of social media on how we see the world, this engaging piece promises to leave audiences acutely aware of the need for ever-increasing levels of scrutiny and discernment when dealing with the information presented to us.

Overall, Syria: A Conflict Explored looks set to provide an invaluable, richly layered perspective on what is one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time.

Syria: A Conflict Explored at Imperial War Museum North (IWM North), Manchester 16 February — 28 May 2018 Entrance is free

Where to go near Syria: A Conflict Explored at IWM North

Manchester
Shopping Centre
Lowry Outlet Mall

The Lowry Outlet Mall in The Quays district of Manchester sits opposite both The Lowry and MediaCityUK, Europe’s largest media hub and the home of BBC North.

Manchester
Gallery
Irwell Sculpture Trail

The 33-mile trail, which follows the River Irwell from Salford Quays all the way to Bacup in Pennine Lancashire, has been around for over a decade, but it’s recently been restored and expanded.

The Lowry Theatre and Gallery in Salford Quays Manchester.
Salford
Theatre
The Lowry

With two theatres, galleries and a studio space, award-winning Quayside arts centre The Lowry combines the performing and visual arts to impressive effect.

The Quays
Restaurant
The Alchemist Mediacity

The latest offering from the UK-conquering Alchemist has an energetic vibe similar to others in this highly-regarded chain of restaurants.

Salford
Uswim
at Salford Quays

Jump into waters of dock 9 at Salford Quays with Uswim, they bring the benefits and freedom of open water swimming to the convenience of a central location.

Manchester
Bar or Pub
Central Bay

Central Bay is a new waterfront dining and drinking destination at Quayside MediaCity, opening summer 2023.

Ice Rink
Manchester
MCUK Ice Rink
at Media City

Embrace that most Christmassy of activities and get your skates on outside of the chaotic city centre this winter. The Ice Rink at Media City will be serving festive fun till January 5th.

Manchester
Shop
Booths Media City

The Booths branch at Media City, Salford Quays is much appreciated by TV, radio and media executives who work in the area.

What's on: Exhibitions

Culture Guides

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Cinema in Manchester and the North

From the latest installment in the Mad Max franchise, to silent movie masterpieces we highlight the best new releases and big screen classics showing near you this month.