Truth Tellers explores how sense was made of the collective trauma of the 2017 Manchester Arena attacks by developing new Art-IR analytical methods that combine creative practices and international relations methods to recover and explore the aesthetic codes of trauma, community and identity.

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Truth Tellers brings together poetry, drawing, photography and painting to enrich academic analysis of the coverage of the Manchester bombing through collaborative discussions and development.

Led by academics Dr. Pablo de Orellana (KCL) and Dr. Christiana Spens (St Andrews), painter Tom de Freston and poet Mariah Whelan, the project investigates representation of trauma in visual and linguistic forms, specifically the coverage of the aftermath of the Manchester bombing in 2017. Working with headlines and photographs from that press coverage, the group worked together to deconstruct the key images, words and ideas that emerged, seeking to better understand how and why certain narratives were told, and what they revealed and obscured about the traumatic event of the terrorist attack itself.

The Truth Tellers project was funded by the Faculty of Social Sciences at King’s College London as a pilot for a larger research project.

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