The project will:
- Explore representations of veterans in the UK media.
- Collect audience responses from veterans to those representations.
- Create opportunities for veterans to produce their own representations.
- Offer guidance to media organisations to help them address some of the issues of representation that the project highlights.
We have completed the project's pilot study (including our survey), which achieved two aims:
- To gain an initial sense of how veterans see themselves represented in the British media and what the main issues/concerns/challenges might be.
- To enable veterans to be part of the design process of the main project. We will be keen to get veteran feedback on the pilot study and on our plans for the main project as they develop.
In June 2020 we ran a survey for veterans, focusing on their perceptions on media representations of military and post-military experiences. Thank you to everyone who participated. The results can be explored in detail in the report below.
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Media Representation is Increasing
Veterans have featured increasingly in the British media in recent years. Veteran characters have appeared in dramas such as The Bodyguard, Our Girl, and Casualty, whilst real life veterans have competed in reality talent shows such as Lance Corporal Cassidy Little on The People's Strictly.
Documentaries such as Without Limits: Australia, and coverage of sporting events such as the Paralympics and Invictus Games have showcased the challenges for, and achievements of, veterans experiencing physical and emotional trauma.
While the increased visibility of veterans is a positive step forward, it does raise issues around how media producers portray veterans.
This project is interested in how veterans feel about the ways in which they are being represented in the media.
With the mainstream media playing such an important part in shaping public opinion, we are working with veterans to find out how they would like media organisations to represent them.
The findings of the project will be used to offer guidance to British media organisations on the fair representation of veterans.
Working With Veterans
The project will take the form of questionnaires, focus groups, and interviews with veterans about how they see themselves represented in the British media.
Alongside this, we will be running workshops to facilitate veterans in producing their own creative representations with the option of showcasing them in both online and physical exhibitions.
A Creative Exhibition
The hope is that the work in the exhibition will take a wide variety of forms including photography, art, creative writing, short documentary films, and other formats, with a view to challenging, and providing alternatives to, the current mainstream media narratives created for veterans.
We warmly invite veteran participants living in the UK from all branches of the military and the project is not limited to a particular conflict.
You do not need to be a British citizen, but the focus of the project is on representations in the British media, with a particular interest in how veterans are portrayed on television.
Are you an artist?
Are you a painter, photographer, musician, writer, film maker, poet, or animator? Whether you are a veteran or not, please get in touch if you’d like to get involved with the project. Eventually this website will provide an online exhibition space, in which we will display some of our veterans' creative responses to the question:
"How should we represent veterans in the media?"
Some of these will be produced through workshops so if you’re an artist interested in leading a workshop, do contact us. And if you are a veteran who has already created work representing the veteran experience and you'd like to display it here, please do get in touch!