articles about culture

28/09/2018 ForcesWatch comment

The BBC drama Bodyguard misrepresents the actions and concerns of veterans working for peace.

culture, veterans
30/08/2017 Poppy Kohner

Poppy Kohner examines the Army@theFringe season at the Edinburgh Festival and asks what becomes censored when elite institutions take on the programming and hosting of the arts.

12/05/2016 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.

26/11/2012 Owen Everett, ForcesWatch

Each of the episodes from both series of Our War focuses on a different platoon or company, with varying missions during their tours in Helmand Province (which dated from between 2006 and 2012). Common themes to each of them include the youth of those involved, and the gravity of what is being asked of them.

culture, risks
19/10/2012 Owen Everett, ForcesWatch

There are two plays on in London's West End currently that depict life in the UK military, and they do so critically. Our Boys', by Jonathan Lewis, at the Duchess Theatre is a revival, having first been performed in 1993. Sandi Toksvig's Bully Boy is at the St James Theatre. There is considerable similarity in the themes of the two plays: why young men join the armed forces, how they are often neglected when injured, and the horror of contemporary war in general.

The Home Front, a photo exhibition by Melanie Friend, explores links between militarism, marketing and entertainment

culture, photography

By David Gee, published by ForcesWatch 2014

At a comfortable distance from warfare, our culture easily passes over its horrific reality in favour of an appealing, even romantic, spectacle of war. Militarism, past and present, attempts to control public opinion by aligning it with its own worldview. Yet, over the last decade, most Britons have opposed Western military ventures abroad, and some veterans - once recruited, controlled and partly dehumanised to prepare them for war - now challenge militarism and our own participation in its controlling dynamic.  

In his new book, Spectacle, Reality, Resistance: Confronting a culture of militarism, published by ForcesWatch (, David Gee takes a fresh look at a culture of militarism in Britain, exploring these dynamics – distance, romance, control – in three essays, accompanied by three shorter pieces about the cultural treatment of war and resistance to the government's increasingly prodigious efforts to regain control of the story we tell ourselves about war.

culture, militarisation