Whether you’ve seen us on tour with From Then Until Now, seen our Iraq production at festivals, or supported us with grants and donations, we are incredibly grateful for everything that has come our way, and the impact we have seen and heard about from your feedback. Thank you.
We also wanted to share our story and let you know where we are going next.
Journey Through Conflict is a not-for-profit endeavour which exists to inspire journeys to a better life. Born out of the experiences of conflict, it’s about the human condition. However bad things are, whether you are staring into the abyss or descended into Dante’s Inferno, we have a choice. Sometimes we need help and support to make that choice. But we can choose to seek a better life, a better future, find a better resolution - individually and together, through conflict of any kind and out the other side.
In Iraq, I witnessed how music, art and culture, combined with stories, opened minds and led to constructive conversations about peace. These often occurred in sacred and historical places - mosques and churches. But regardless of faith or ideology, we explored ways of finding peace, together.
What started as a talk in 2011, about a work of art from Basra at the Church of St Barnabas in a nightclub called Quintessentially Soho, morphed serendipitously to our first performance of Journey Through Conflict. This was in Cheltenham in 2016 and in several festivals since.
Based on Iraq, we blended the sounds and feel of the region, with narrative and culture - all set against 3 original works of art. The impact was profound. Some described it as a healing experience as they travelled through Iraq on a magic carpet, discovering memories and feelings hidden inside themselves. An Islamic and Christian dialogue followed to aid mutual understanding.
We decided our mission: to fuse story with music, art and culture to produce immersive experiences that inspire journeys to a better life.
Then at the end of 2017, we had an idea to mix the performance of the only left-hand alone concert pianist in the world, Nicholas McCarthy, with the stories of veterans through 100 years of conflict, to mark the Centenary anniversary of the Armistice in 2018. We commissioned veteran artist Richard Rochester to produce a stunning backdrop called 'A Wood in France'.
I have learnt that whether you are a veteran, warring factions trying to negotiate peace, or somebody dealing with addiction or grief, the steps you have to take to find a better life are quite similar. So From Then Until Now took people on a different kind of journey, with those that had experienced war and were taking those steps to deal with its aftermath.
We toured From Then Until Now in cathedrals, churches and festivals in Bristol, London, Canterbury and Exeter. The effect was incredible.
“….truly magnificent, noble and full of forgiveness, faith and hope - the experience of seeing it will stay with me for as long as I live”
We want to see and hear about people travelling on journeys to a better life. We want to hear stories of the impact that these journeys or our work has caused.
If only one person finds something positive to change or improve their own life or the lives of others, we feel that we are making a difference. That’s worth it.
Deepening and Broadening our Impact
We have had several requests to apply Journey Through Conflict to other scenarios, for example, from a Nigerian Islamic NGO to help reconcile victims of Boko Haram, and from a multinational corporation to examine diversity and the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. As we consolidate and explore, this is what we are doing:
- This year is the 10th anniversary of the end of the British Campaign in Basra and we have a CD of Iraq coming out soon. Iraq starts with the Adhan and finishes with a taize chant called 'Oh Lord Hear My Prayer' - here’s a first cut of the final song.
- In the Autumn we intend some live performances of Iraq at festivals.
- We are exploring Radio and TV performances with producers. A short video of From Then Until Now comes out soon.
- Some have written to us with their amazing stories and we plan to turn these into podcasts.
Meanwhile, tune in to Ramblings on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday 14 March at 3pm to hear me talking with Clare Balding about Journey Through Conflict. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00035zy
We rely on people like you, your support, your ideas, your feedback and your donations to make this happen. Ticket sales, for example, from our last production helped create modest bursaries to help veterans like Maurillia Simpson follow their soul. Maurillia is receiving voice coaching and has been going through the Britain’s Got Talent rounds.
So please spread the word and keep in touch. If you have ideas or know of people with inspirational stories, let us know. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and invite your friends to join our mailing list to receive our updates. Email Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to donate to inspire more journeys to a better life.
Thank you for reading and peace be with you.