writing . culture . location

Regarding War: Image/Text

10.30am - 6.00pm Thursday, 18th June 2009
Conference Centre, Lancaster University

Full programme          The Regarding War project          Posters: download

Trans-Scriptions 2008          Trans-Scriptions archive

This one-day event brings together a photographer, a filmmaker, a contemporary writer and a literary critic to discuss the themes of conflict, displacement and alienation in the context of the Centre’s Regarding War project. The online Regarding War exhibition contains images by photographer Richard Hanson and textual pieces written in response to those images by novelist Fadia Faqir. The conference will include an exhibition of Hanson’s photographs, a creative writing workshop run by Graham Mort and the work of two filmmakers who are exploring similar themes, Dictynna Hood and Sami Khan.

The creative writing workshop, 11am – 1pm, is open to all, but we’d like to ask that you sign up for it as soon as possible by contacting Graham Mort, since there will be limited availability of places.




Full Programme 18th June 2009

10.30am – 1 pm: Morning Session

10.30am  Opening, coffee, exhibition of images and text from Regarding War, plus other photographs by Richard Hanson (, mounted in foyer of Conference Centre

11.00am – 1.00pm:  Creative Writing Workshop, An Invitation to Speculation
Dr. Graham Mort (Department of English & Creative Writing) explores photography and the stimulus it offers to writers through Richard Hanson’s Regarding War images in a creative writing workshop open to all:  postgraduate students are particularly welcome.

1.00 – 2.00pm - Lunch

2.15 – 5.45pm: Afternoon Session

2.15 – 3.00pm:  Two short films, with introductions

Dictynna Hood, 'Journey Man' (14 minutes)
Introduction: We are hoping to have someone on hand to introduce Dictynna Hood's film.

"Mohamed Ali is a young asylum seeker from Sierra Leone, who arrives as a stowaway in a run-down Welsh town. It's Christmas. He is starving, lost. Finally, he seeks shelter in a pub. He is thrown out by Griff, the landlord, but unexpectedly touches the heart of Connie, Griff's wife."

Sami Khan, 'How Life Happens' (6 minutes)
Introduction:  Sami Khan will be speaking at the afternoon session of the conference and will also briefly introduce his film.

"The story of a young African refugee, Kosey, and his experiences in trying to find a place for himself in his new surroundings. A 10-year-old child, Kosey's life is shattered when his father is taken by paramilitary forces from his home in East Africa. Kosey and his mother find themselves on the edges of a new emerging city of prosperity and wealth. They have a new life to begin, and for the young Kosey there are universal parallels that take him all the way back to Africa."


3.00 – 3.45pm:  Photography / Text / Film

3.00pm  Finding Form: Research, ethics, aesthetics
Richard Hanson introduces his work, describing the research experience and the decision he faced and took as a photographer interacting with known individuals.

3.15pm  Exploring The Punctum
Dr. Lindsey Moore introduces Fadia Faqir’s work ( as it explores still images, giving voice to their silence and extending an implied present moment into the temporal, spatial and psychological dimensions of retrospection and anticipation.

3.30pm  ‘How Life Happens’
Filmmaker Sami Khan introduces his work and talks about the role of the moving image in the portrayal of those displaced by conflict in the UK.

3.45 pm: Tea / coffee

4.00 – 5.45pm:  Regarding War
Panel discussion, with Sami Khan, Lindsey Moore, Graham Mort and Richard Hanson; themed around representations of the experience of war and its diaspora in the UK, with reference to photography, text and moving image, drawing together and extending the discussions held throughout the day.

6.30 pm – dinner






Sami Khan's How Life Happens
Dictynna Hood's Journey Man
Richard Hanson's Jeremie
Download the poster
as a Word document
Download the poster
as a PDF


The Regarding War project

Regarding War is a practice-based research project developed by the Centre for Transcultural Writing and Research. Its first phase involved two sequential commissions:
    - Photographs exploring the effect of overseas conflicts here in the UK through human displacement, by photographer Richard Hanson. His images showed war refugees in the Sheffield and his blog discussed ethical dilemmas and research methods. - Textual pieces in poetry and prose written in responses to those images and giving voice to their silent representations, by novelist Fadia Faqir. Fadia’s pieces explore the human stories and conflicts implied by the images.
Our one-day conference seeks to consider those creative outputs in various ways, adding new explorations of conflict, displacement and alienation via the moving images of filmmakers Dictynna Hood and Sami Khan.In the course of the day we will seek to explore a series of questions in relation to Regarding War:What ethical restraints operate upon artists addressing the experience of individuals caught up in armed conflicts, and what are the tensions between reportage, the need to ‘bear witness’, and aesthetic effect?In what sense do explorations through photography, creative writing and the moving image constitute a form of practice-based research penetrating the conditions of conflict and displacement to bring about significant realisations through their interdisciplinarity and interdependence?What is the relationship between the still image, the moving image and creative text in their imaginative pitch for audience response; to what extent does artistic selection, framing and form imply or even seek to determine response?Given the remoteness, scale, variety and complex provenance of overseas conflict, can a specific focus on individuals or community groups in the UK offer artistic insights that engage and empower their subjects and audiences rather than reinforce a sense of remoteness and powerlessness?To what extent does the artwork move us towards a realization of armed conflict as a significant driver of diaspora within the UK?

How does the presence of human diaspora in the UK driven by conflict also ‘migrate’ the effects of the conflicts that bring about dispersal – psychological, emotional and cultural – to re-define or even subvert notions of a wholesome contemporary UK ‘multiculturism’?

Click here to visit the online Regarding War gallery.



Centre for Transcultural Writing and Research, County College, Lancaster University, LA1 4YD, UK