Project Summary


‘Behind the Bastion’ explores the relationship between the built environment and mental health in operational bases.

When the UK Armed Forces deploy overseas, they operate out of static locations known as operational bases. Historically and through to present day, troops on deployment make these spaces feel like ‘home’ through a range of ‘placemaking’ activities, including displaying photos, creating murals, building furniture, and erecting signposts. This practice helps to detach the operational base from the hostile surroundings, which mitigates the stresses, frustrations, and discomforts inherent to being deployed.

This broad research serves as the inspiration for a programme of work with Imperial War Museums 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund. This project will engage with veterans of Afghanistan currently based in the Lincolnshire area. The project will encourage reflection upon what ‘home’ means currently and whilst on deployment. This exploration will inform a new work of art by Ed Kluz who has been commissioned by this project for a temporary exhibition.

Cover Image: © IWM DC 3288

About the Sessions

Sessions will be held weekly in January and February 2023.

Project team

Dr Derwin Gregory, Project Lead: Derwin has been working with serving and former members of the British and American armed forces, and military families, for five years through a series of heritage based projects. Following archaeological excavations at a Second World War airfield, run by Derwin for American veterans, during which he uncovered evidence of personal acts of memorialisation, Derwin become particularly interested in the link between material culture, place, and wellbeing within the armed forces. (derwin.gregory@bishopg.ac.uk)

Alice Vacani, Art Therapist: Alice has 7 years’ experience and has facilitated Art Therapy groups at an NHS Military Veterans service, focusing upon depression and anxiety. This was an extremely fruitful and rewarding experience for Alice which offered her extensive knowledge around Military culture, challenges adapting back into civilian life and how to best support veterans.

Ed Kluz, Commissioned Artist: Ed's work focusses on perceptions of the past through the reimagining of historic landscapes, buildings and objects. These concerns are explored through the media of painting, drawing, printmaking and site-specific installation. His work is held in a number of public collections including the V&A and York City Art Gallery.

IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund

This project is part of the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, a national programme of 22 artist commissions inspired by the heritage of conflict and created in partnership with Imperial War Museums and 14-18 NOW, the official UK arts programme for the First World War centenary.

Get Involved

If you are interested in participating in the free art therapy programme, please click on the link below and someone will be in touch.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Enquiries Form