A WAR WITHIN - Friday, 5 October 2012

Photojournalist James Arthur Allen brings the compelling photographic exhibition, A War Within, to the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds from Friday, October 12, as part of the Love Arts Leeds Festival.

A War Within raises awareness of mental health difficulties experienced by veterans and the wider community – including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The free exhibition forms part of an arts festival, co-ordinated by Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The festival harnesses the power of the arts and explores issues surrounding mental health, including identity, stigma and social justice.

During conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, service personnel’s mental health has often dominated political agendas, attracting widespread media interest and scrutiny. As veterans leave the Armed Forces, the responsibility for healthcare is transferred to the NHS, as individuals adapt to life on “Civvy Street”.

Museum director Peter Armstrong said, “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the local NHS trust to raise awareness of these issues faced by veterans and the wider community. This moving and thought-provoking exhibition will provide a unique insight to our visitors, as it places mental health issues under the spotlight in an innovative and highly visual way.”

Running until November 30, A War Within forms part of Royal Armouries’ Inspired by … programme of events and exhibitions.

Featuring filmed interviews as well as photographs, A War Within explores the effects of war from the perspective of its subjects – giving them a voice and educating the viewer.

It was the brainchild of James Arthur Allen, a UK-based freelance photojournalist, who graduated from University College Falmouth earlier this year, with a First Class Honours degree in Press and Editorial Photography. For more information, visit his website at www.jamesarthurallen.co.uk

James said, “When I started this project it was always my intention to have it seen by as many as possible and to give a voice to the people that I had met. My aim was to tackle stigma, raise awareness and open people’s eyes to the realities of living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I am extremely happy that my work will be on show at the Royal Armouries Leeds. I hope the images on display, that relate to war, will cause the visitor to stop and think about the realities of being exposed to extreme violence and trauma and the effects that this can have on the human condition. As a society, we should not be afraid to talk openly, discuss and understand mental health issues.”

The exhibition also results from a unique partnership with the Love Arts Leeds Festival, and Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s Vulnerable Veterans and Adult Dependants’ Service.

The festival runs from Tuesday, October 2, until Monday, October 29 – for more information visit www.loveartsleeds.co.uk

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