Legacy art commissions from IWM’s WWI movie blockbuster

Income from the Imperial War Museum’s 14-18-NOW film by director Peter Jackson, They Shall Not Grow Old, is to fund art commissions across the country.

The film is a remastering of original First World War footage to create a unique new aspect of the conflict marking its centenary. Co-commissioned by the IWM and 14-18 NOW, the official national arts programme for the commemoration, and shown widely as the finale to the four years of events, the film earned £2.5m in royalties which becomes the basis for the IWM 14018 NOW Legacy Fund.

There is to be a programme of 22 commissions featuring new works including by Michael Rakowitz, Heather Phillipson, Compagnie and Cathy Wilkes across the country. The Hunterian in Glasgow; Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead; Ulster University in Derry-Londonderry; and Leicester Museums are to be commissioning partners each with £250,000 to work with five leading artists on themes ranging care work in conflict to the current refugee crisis to be displayed between 2023 and 2024. Another eight organisations will receive smaller commissioning grants from the fund.

Diane Lees, director-general of IWM, said: “After a challenging couple of years for the arts sector, we hope that the unprecedented opportunities enabled by the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund will kick-start cultural dialogue as we recover from the wide-reaching impacts of COVID-19”, and Jenny Waldman, the former director of 14-18 NOW and now director of Art Fund, added: “Over half the UK population engaged with the 14-18 NOW programme of extraordinary arts commissions, demonstrating the power of art to engage new audiences and open up conversations about war and conflict. Thanks to the generosity of Peter Jackson, whose film They Shall Not Grow Old was a highlight of the programme, the 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund will build on this vision and reach, bringing exciting opportunities to artists, organisations and communities across the UK.”


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