Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


IAS Book Launch: Geopolitics and the Event - Rethinking Britain's Iraq War Through Art

01 October 2019, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Alan Ingram book

We are delighted to welcome Alan Ingram (Department of Geography at University College London) for the launch of his new book 'Geopolitics and the Event: Rethinking Britain's Iraq War Through Art'. Respondents Eleanor Robson (UCL History) Rashad Salim (artist) and Hassan Abdulrazzak (playwright and writer)

This event is free.

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Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Common Ground
Gower Street, UCL
United Kingdom

Geopolitics and the Event: Rethinking Britain's Iraq War Through Art

Geopolitics and the Event: Rethinking Britain's Iraq War Through Art offers a reappraisal of one of the most contentious and consequential events of the early twenty-first century. Drawing on an analysis of dozens of artworks and exhibitions as well as interdisciplinary literatures and debates concerning the anthropocene, decolonial theory and feminist geopolitics, the book advances an original perspective on Britain's role in the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq and maps out new ways of thinking about geopolitics through art.

Examining the work of artists, curators and activists in light of Britain's role as a colonial power and key player in the international oil system, and building on Gilles Deleuze's idea of the counter-actualisation of the event, the book highlights the diverse ways in which the war has been appropriated creatively, while reflecting on the significance, limits and dilemmas of art as a form of critical intervention.

Written at the intersections between geography, politics and aesthetics, Geopolitics and the Event challenges conventional accounts of the Iraq war and questions the complex implications of art in colonialism and modernity.


Alan Ingram is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at University College London, where he teaches political geography. He has published widely on geopolitics, biopolitics, aesthetics and security.

Professor Eleanor Robson (UCL History) is a historian of ancient and modern Iraq. Her research focuses on social and political geographies of knowledge in ancient cuneiform culture and the present day Middle East. With colleagues from the UK and Iraq she runs the AHRC-GCRF-funded Nahrein Network, which fosters collaborative, interdisciplinary research on sustainable development of history and heritage in post-conflict Iraq and its neighbours.

Hassan Abdulrazzak’s plays include Baghdad Wedding (Soho Theatre, 2007, Belvoir St Theatre, 2009, Akvarious productions 2010), The Prophet (Gate theatre, 2012), Love, Bombs and Apples (Arcola Theatre, 2016 and UK tour. Golden Thread Productions, San Francisco, 2018, Kennedy Centre, Washington DC 2019) and And Here I Am (Arcola Theatre, 2017 and UK and Middle East and Europe tour). His short plays include Trump in Palestine (part of the multi-author show Top Trumps at Theatre 503, 2017), Lost Kingdom (Golden Thread Reorient 2015 festival, San Francisco) and Sinbad (part of multi-author show Arab Nights at Soho Theatre, 2012). He is currently commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and Synergy Theatre. He has translated many prominent Arab playwrights including Wael Qadour, Abdullah Alkafri, Jawad Alassadi, Hanane Hajj Ali, Laila Soliman and Imad Farajin. The translations were commissioned by the Royal Court Theatre, the Lark Theatre and Heinrich Böll Stiftung amongst others. He has contributed to several anthologies including Iraq+100 (Comma Press, 2016) and Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic (Saqi books, 2017). Hassan is co-founder of Manara Theatre, a company that aims to champion the work of MENA theatre makers. He is the recipient of George Devine, Meyer-Whitworth, Pearson theatre awards as well as the Arab British Centre Award for Culture. Love, Bombs and Apples won the Bay Area theatre award for outstanding production in 2018.

Rashad Salim is an Iraqi-German expeditionary artist and interdisciplinary cultural researcher, with a particular interest in the history and development of culture and technology. Part of the Selim family of Iraqi artists, Rashad studied at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad and Saint Martin's in London. In 1977-78, he took part in Thor Heyerdahl's Tigris expedition, travelling on a reed boat from Iraq across the Indian Ocean. He later lived in Morocco and Yemen where he helped found cultural associations, and was a trustee of iNCiA (International Network for Contemporary Iraqi Artists) from 1998-2012. Rashad launched the Ark Re-imagined project in 2015 at Edge of Arabia, London, and in 2016 he began fieldwork investigating the traditional boats and crafts of Iraq, initially funded through art sales. He established Safina Projects CIC with Hannah Lewis in 2017, and secured grants from the British Council's Cultural Protection Fund, Nahrein Network and others to deliver the Ark for Iraq programme of boatbuilding workshops, river expeditions, research, artworks and capacity-building outcomes for the Iraqi crafts and cultural heritage sector. He is currently collaborating with Edge of Arabia to present Ark Re-imagined as the Iraqi National Pavilion at the Venice Architectural Biennale 2020.

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