An exhibition exploring the power of unarmed action by civilians in areas of violent conflict is going on display in Aberystwyth.

Through objects, images, and voices, ‘Creating Safer Space’ depicts the experiences of civilians who are harnessing the power of nonviolence to protect themselves from the harms of war, create safer spaces and work towards alternative presents and futures.

It draws on unarmed civilian protection experiences from Cameroon, Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Palestine, the Philippines, South Sudan, and Thailand.

The featured items come from research projects that explore how nonviolent civilian protection works, and how it can help to build lasting, sustainable peace.

Twenty-six of these projects have been supported by the Creating Safer Space Network - a collaboration between academics, communities and organisations in conflict-affected regions, which is led by Aberystwyth University.  

Berit Bliesemann de Guevara, Professor in International Politics at Aberystwyth University and Principal Investigator of the Creating Safer Space network, said: “The protection of civilians from the harms of war, violence and persecution is a pressing issue of our time. 

“This exhibition shows how protection is being thought of and practised by ordinary people without the use of weapons. 

“It considers the empowering and transformative nature of nonviolence in the protection of civilians living in the midst of violence, as well as its limitations.

“The Creating Safer Space exhibition challenges its visitors to undo commonly held beliefs about vulnerability, agency, and choices in war.

“It invites us to imagine possibilities for the protection of civilians differently and to reflect on our own ideas and biases of who can protect and how. 

“And it inspires us to take action and contribute to this change.”

The exhibition will be shown at Aberystwyth Arts Centre from 11 to 28 March.