Lauren Bryden & Poppy Kohner, from Resist Militarism
Lauren Bryden & Poppy Kohner explore the implications of Rosie Kay’s production of 5 Soldiers: The Body Is The Frontline, a dance piece exploring the ‘physicality’ of war and its effect on soldiers' bodies. While captivating and enlightening, does placing the body at the centre of the narrative of war obscure political comment on what these bodies do and, crucially, why they do it? The support of the production by the British Army and their presence at the event raises important questions about the role of the military in public arts spaces.
Before the closing date of our petition to the Scottish Parliament on military visits to state schools in Scotland, the ForcesWatch team went on the road to spread the word and raise awareness of the issue.
This article, summarising ForcesWatch work, was first published on the White Feather Diaries website.
Good news – after months of hard work ForcesWatch and Quakers in Scotland have now formally submitted our petition to the Scottish Parliament calling for an inquiry into armed forces visits to schools. We are urging MSPs to strike a ‘new deal’ on armed forces visits to schools, ensuring greater scrutiny, transparency and guidance over visits.
There’s already been a hugely positive response to the petition, with more than four hundred signatories in the first four days. You too can sign it, whether you live in Scotland or not. You’ll find it here and it’s live until the 20th March.
Three Days on the Western Front: A student’s experience of a school trip to the First World War battlefields
Written and offered to ForcesWatch by Joe Brydon, who was in Year 13 at an academy school in Bristol at the time of the trip.
An account of a school trip in 2015 to the First World War battlefields by Joe Brydon, who was in Year 13 at the time, which raises various important questions about some of the ways that school students are being encouraged to remember war.
This article was first published by Schools Week.
We explore remembrance within education in the context of the plethora of military activities, commemorations, celebrations and military values that schools are being encouraged to take on. And, in the light of, the absence of a compulsory and organised curriculum of peace education within UK schools, our new report shows.
Our reaction to today's Welsh Assembly debate on armed forces visits to schools in Wales, which represents a major step forward in the scrutiny of the ethics of the military's engagement with the education system.
Following our recent piece on the news story that the Ministry of Defence requested access (which the Department for Education rejected) to the database of sensitive data of school students in England, to help the Army better target its recruitment practice, it has emerged that the Army - in collaboration with Royal Holloway College and the mobile phone app specialists DotNet - was specifically seeking to match individuals’ data with specific Army jobs, with a mobile phone app an apparent intended output.
This and other revelations undermine the claims by the MoD quoted in the original news coverage of the story that they aren’t targeting individuals for recruitment, and that the request was an error that had been “halted”.
A year ago we wrote how Armed Forces Day symbolises the creep of militarism into our civil institutions. Far from being merely a reflection of public respect, this creep is the result of a concerted effort, which can be tracked through policy initiatives and is fuelled by concern that the military are losing control of the public narrative around defence. We noted how these public displays, which are ostensibly about supporting 'the men and women who make up the Armed Forces', (including Camo Day, Reserves Day and the Poppy Appeal), act to market the military as an institution and to build a positive and uncritical narrative around it and support its recruitment needs.
A year, and another Armed Forces Day, later, we look here at how militarism continues to creep into schools and colleges and how recent developments further embed military approaches and interests within the education system.