New university project examines role home plays in supporting military

Den made by children in home of military personnel.
Elspeth Van Veeren

Bringing the War Home II is a photo-documentary project that looks to establish the connection between homelife and how it supports military operations.

Emerging from the experiences of current and former serving military personnel, their spouses, and their wider families, this study aims to document how important the home and family support networks are, and to challenge the conventional understanding of a sharp division between civilian and military.

This photography project is organised by researchers Dr Elspeth Van Veeren, a Senior Lecturer in the University of Bristol‘s School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies and an expert in security and military cultures, visual politics and visual research methods and Dr Miriam Snellgrove, a Research Fellow at the University of Stirling’s Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology department. Dr Snellgrove’s expertise lies in the sociology of homes, care, community and institutional living, the everyday, micro-ethnographical approaches and interviewing.

They will be working with award-winning UK photographer Edmund Clark, an internationally recognised UK artist-photographer and Senior Lecturer at University of Arts London (London College of Communication) who specialises in photography as research method, applied in particular to security spaces such as prisons, military bases, order control houses.

Dr Van Veeran said: “We are interested in understanding the impacts of war and conflict on spaces away from the battlefield, and to document everyday homelife that is shaped by military life.

“We will be looking to make photos of military homes, collect copies of existing photos, and interview current or ex-military and their families about the military home experience.

“The home, and its care work, is a central part of what makes militaries function, and we would like to document this, recognise this role, and share this with the research community, those who make policy about military family support, the wider public – through photo exhibitions – and create an archive for future generations.”

Contributors can help by:

– Donating images of lounges/living rooms from any era that will be added to the archive.

– Offering to be interviewed about their experience of a military home.

– Welcoming the project photographer into their homes to produce beautiful photographs. All Covid precautions will be taken and participants will receive digital copies of the photographs.

Extracts from these activities will then be displayed as part of future photo exhbitions, may be included in research publications, and will be submitted to the Imperial War Museum as historical records.

More details of the project can be found at www.milhome.blogs.bristol.ac.uk.

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