By working with renowned performers, artists and creators - from film-makers and actors to musicians and sculptors - the Institute seeks to promote greater appreciation of the ways in which conflict is portrayed in the arts, and of how these interpretations influence society's construction of war and its consequences.
RUSI Director Professor Michael Clarke explains why he considers it important that the Institute - the world's oldest surviving think-tank - engage with the hitherto under-explored relationship between war and culture. 'The worlds of the arts, media and the creative industries have traditionally reflected a wide range of attitudes towards war and conflict at any given time,' he said. 'They have an honourable tradition in doing so, one which will doubtless continue, and it falls within the remit of this Institute to try to understand and engage with that tradition.'
RUSI's initiative will look afresh at human security in the twenty-first century. Wars create conditions that render populations vulnerable to the symptoms of human insecurity, and with continued Western engagement in the Middle East, 'liberation' struggles being fought from Kashmir to Chiapas, and the 'Arab Spring' alternately flourishing and floundering, war-induced suffering shows few signs of abating. It has never been more important for our wider culture to understand military and security issues, and the Institute considers it critical for defence policy, in return, to be open to new and fresh perspectives.
The Director hopes that, by working with artists at the forefront of their field - those who have endeavoured to open up such new perspectives on war - the Institute will promote greater understanding of the cultural interpretation and popular perception of conflict.
'Defence professionals must reach out and engage the public, and through the interaction with these important figures we hope to achieve better understanding. With an exciting series of presentations throughout the year, these evenings will be designed to offer the public access to major figures in art, media and the creative industries and to discussion with members of the military and security establishment, as well as the interested public.'
This programme is led by Allison Barrie