View all news

Portraits of (in)security

Press release issued: 28 May 2009

A multimedia exhibition that looks at the links between art, politics and concepts of (in)security opens in Bristol this weekend [30 May to 4 June].

A multimedia exhibition that looks at the links between art, politics and concepts of (in)security opens in Bristol this weekend [30 May to 4 June].

Portraits of (In)Security, organised by the University of Bristol's Department of Politics, will bring together artists, activists, academics and students to explore how art and politics are connected.  Some of the themes explored include more 'traditional' security themes such as the Iraq War, the Middle East peace process and Guantánamo, but work exploring the more subtle interconnections is also included, such as gender and insecurity, and everyday practices such as the clothes we wear.

The exhibition opens with an extract of Rendition Monologues by iceandfire Theatre Company.  The presentation, which was launched at the Bridewell Theatre, London, in June 2008, weaves together first-hand accounts of men who have been victims of "extraordinary renditio"", the CIA's practice of transferring people to prisons for interrogation as terror suspects in countries where there is a known risk of torture.  The aim of Rendition Monologues is to bring to people's attention human rights abuses committed in the name of the 'War on Terror'.

Works within the exhibition include:

  • Qban8's film, Performing Guantánamo.
  • Extracts from Dr Louise Purbrick's Rattling the Cage collection of photographs and archived documents and textiles from the 'Save Omar' Guantánamo campaign that explores the power of local activism and art to address insecurity.
  • Professor Cynthia Weber's I Am an American project, which is a series of short films problematising the construction of US national identity.
  • Award-winning artwork on the theme of '(in)security' by University of Bristol students.

During the exhibition [Wednesday 3 June], Dr Jutta Weldes and Christina Rowley from the University's Department of Politics will lead an interactive workshop, which will discuss the politics of art and popular culture, and explore what the study of visual imagery can tell us about political processes.  The workshop is free but booking is required.  To register email

The exhibition is curated by Elspeth Van Veeren and Christina Rowley, who are both postgraduates in the Department of Politics.

Elspeth Van Veeren, speaking about the exhibition, said: "Everyone is welcome to attend the exhibition and associated events during the week.

"This exhibition offers people the opportunity to learn more about the important links between art, security and identity, as well as between art, academia and political activism."

The exhibition is supported by the University's Alumni Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Studies, the Roberts Skills Fund and the Global Insecurities Centre.

The exhibition Portraits of (In)Security will be held at Centrespace Gallery, 6 Leonard Lane (off Corn Street), Bristol, from Saturday 30 May to Thursday 4 June.  The gallery opening hours are: 11 am - 5 pm [Saturday and Sunday] and 11 am - 4 pm [Monday to Thursday].  Admission is free. 


Further information

Some of the material from the exhibition will be available on the internet as part of the Popular Culture and World Politics website following the exhibition
Please contact Joanne Fryer for further information.
Edit this page