The Visualising War and Peace podcast includes a range of episodes that encourages us to reflect on different manifestations of peace and different approaches to peace-building. We encourage you to explore the whole series, and particularly the following highlights:

Peace and Conflict in Space: In this episode, two students – Harris Siderfin and Otilia Meden – talk to experts on space security from academia and the RAF (Space Command). They discuss why and how security in outer space is important for people living on earth. They reflect on the development and implementation of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, and the spirit of international collaboration that underpins it. They also look at increasing activity in space by private corporations as well as nation-states, at the increasing militarisation of space, at the potential for growing conflict in space, and at the consequences of that for ordinary lives. Among other questions, they ask: How does peace in space help maintain peace on earth? And how can peace in space be promoted, improved and maintained?

Generation Peace: the power of storytelling in peace education: In this episode, student Harris Siderfin explores the role that youth-focused storytelling can play in reducing conflict and promoting the building blocks of a peaceful society. His guest is Rob Burnet, founder and CEO of Shujaaz Inc, a multimedia youth platform based in Kenya that aims to help improve the lives and livelihoods of young people across East Africa. Among other activities, Shujaaz Inc distributes a free monthly comic, produces radio programmes, creates TV shows, and runs social media accounts based on the popular characters featured in its comics – using Sheng, a contemporary slang favoured by many young people in Kenya. Addressing issues such as gender inequality, reproductive health, local government, human rights, fake news, and political violence, Shujaaz reaches over 9.1 million 15–24-year-olds across East Africa, connecting them with information, skills, and resources they need to take charge of their lives. 

Taking Love and Care Seriously in Peace Studies: In this episode, student Otilia Meden interviews Dr Roxani Krystalli, a lecturer in International Relations at the University of St Andrews. Roxani’s work covers a broad range of topics, from storytelling in politics to the presence of care, beauty and joy in times of war. She applies feminist approaches to peace and conflict studies, and brings over a decade of experience as a practitioner in humanitarian action, transitional justice, and peacebuilding to her academic work. Together with her colleague, Dr. Philipp Schulz from the University of Bremen, she is embarking on a major new study called ‘A different kind of war story: centring love and care in peace and conflict studies’. They have outlined their approach in this recent article, where they identify their key research question as follows: ‘How can centering practices of love and care illuminate different pathways for understanding the remaking of worlds in the wake of violence?’ During the podcast, Roxani explains her reasons for embarking on this important work and what difference she hopes it will make to how we understand and approach war and peace. 

Peace and Conflict in Yogic Philosophy: In this episode, student Otilia Meden interviews Jonathan Fisher, a founding member of the Sadvidya Foundation, which works to preserve ancient Eastern teachings of yogic philosophy. These teachings aim to promote peace and inner happiness for all humanity. Guided by dedicated practitioners, the foundation offers programs, publications and retreats to bring this ancient belief system to the modern world. In discussion with Otilia, Jonathan discusses his personal views and some central tenets of the yogic philosophy that he teaches. Along the way, his reflections raise some interesting questions about what drives conflict amongst humans, and  what peace and peace-building look like through a yogic lens.

Peace and Post-Trauma Recovery in Northern Ireland: In this episode, students Otilia Meden and Harris Siderfin interview Johanna McMullan and Paul Gallagher, who are trained educators at the Widows Against Violence Empowerment (WAVE) Centre. WAVE is the largest cross-community victim group for people who have been affected by conflict in Northern Ireland from 1968-1998. While The Troubles officially ended over 25 years ago, past violence, current tensions and ongoing traumas continue to impact people today.  WAVE promotes peace, reconciliation, and trauma recovery through 5 different centres and 15 satellite projects across Northern Ireland.

Principled Impartiality and Accompaniment in Peacebuilding: In this episode, Visualising Peace student Robert Rayner interviews Debby Flack. Debby served as an Ecumenical Accompanier (EA) with EAPPI in Palestine and Israel. EAPPI is a World Council of Churches programme which sends human rights monitors to Palestine and Israel for three months at a time. The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel was formed in response to a 2002 call from the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem to create an international peacekeeping presence in Palestine. EAs form multinational teams which provide an impartial, nonviolent 24/7 protective presence across the West Bank. This episode reflects Robert’s wider research interests in the role of religion in peacebuilding, and what the advantages and disadvantages of neutrality are for NGOs working in conflict-affected areas.

Visualising Peace and Conflict with J.R.R. Tolkien: In this episode, Visualising Peace student Albert Surinach I Campos interviews Prof. Giuseppe Pezzini, Associate Professor of Latin Language and Literature at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and his other works have had a profound impact in the 20th and 21st century. While film versions of his books have particularly influenced habits of visualising war, Tolkien’s views on peace have lots of relevance in the modern world. In this episode we discuss how peace and peacebuilding get represented in Tolkien’s corpus, the author’s personal experiences of war, and his attitude to pacifism. The conversation falls into four parts, exploring ideas of peace via Tolkien’s representation of the four main races of Middle-Earth: elves, orcs, dwarves and men. 

Visualising a Sustainable Future through Gaming: In this episode, Visualising Peace student Madighan Ryan interviews Dr. Mark Wong, a Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Research Methods, and the Deputy Head of Urban Studies, at the University of Glasgow. Dr. Wong is the principal investigator of the interdisciplinary Innovator’s Assemble Project at the University of Glasgow, which produced the subject of this podcast: SEvEN: Seven voices, One Future, a videogame aimed at building an environmentally sustainable future for Scotland by highlighting Minoritized Ethnic people’s voices and the importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge. This episode draws on Madighan Ryan’s research into the synergies between environmental sustainability and peace. She is looking at everything from the importance of inner peace in remaining resilient as a member of the climate movement, to the necessity of a healthy environment in lowering risk of scarcity and geopolitical conflict. Her aim is to emphasize that peacebuilding and environmental action are not two separate entities but intimately connected. 

Peace Activism in Israel and Palestine: In this episode, Dr Alice König interviews Anne Lene Stein, a PhD Student in the Department of Political Science at Lund University, in Sweden. With a background in both social anthropology and peace-and-conflict studies, Anne’s research over the past ten years has focused on peace activism in Israel, Palestine and Lebanon (among other places). She is particularly interested in protest and resistance in asymmetrical conflict settings, and has conducted several rounds of fieldwork in the region to understand better how different peace movements have been operating and evolving. In the podcast, Anne outlines a brief history of peace activism in both Israel and Palestine, discussing the impact which different events in the long-running conflict have had. She reflects on increasing hostility towards peace activists, particularly in Israel; on creative approaches to peacebuilding on both sides, including the Palestinian concept of Sumud (‘steadfastness’) as a form of non-violent resistance; on the opportunities and challenges of bi-national peace campaigning; and shifts in language and focus from peace-building to anti-occupation activism. 

Peace and Politics: In this episode, Visualising Peace researcher Harris Siderfin interviews Lord Jim Wallace, Baron Wallace of Tankerness, about his career and the relationship between peace and politics in the UK. Lord Wallace makes it clear that peace is not as high a priority in political debates and campaigning as many other issues, and also that political understanding and discussion of peace-making (as opposed to peace-keeping) is somewhat lacking. He and Harris consider positive steps forward: for instance, more attention paid to justice, equality, mental health, climate change, poverty and discrimination, as key aspects of peacebuilding. Reflecting on his own faith, Lord Wallace also talks about the role that different religions and religious leaders can play in promoting peace both at home and abroad. Several times the conversation turns to connections between democracy, debate and peacebuilding, with Lord Wallace stressing that increasingly combative, polarising modes of political discussion are driving more conflict.

Between War and Peace: Military Involvement in Peacebuilding: In this episode, Visualising Peace student Teddy Henderson interviews Lieutenant Colonel Henderson and Major McCord MBE about their experiences and understanding of Peace Operations within the British Military. They discuss personal experiences from their respective deployments and their perspectives on how military intervention can help in different peacebuilding processes, by bringing stability and protection to a conflict-stricken area. Operational success and failures are considered and military training and awareness in response to the changing landscape of future conflict is explored. Ethical questions about external interventions and using violence against violence in efforts to build peace are also reflected upon.