What we do

Contra is a not-for-profit annual magazine and arts organisation that explores the complex relationship between visual culture and conflict.

Conflict, in all forms, continues to inform the work of artists, photographers and other visual practitioners. From traditional photojournalism to the live streaming of global events, the image has the power to influence policy, shape public opinion and even spark us into action.

Through our printed publications, community outreach projects and events programme, Contra aims to raise awareness of various forms of conflict through investigating the role of the image. Beyond the pages of our own publication, we seek to make a tangible difference on the ground and positively impact our community.

Contra seeks to establish a network of cross cultural exchange, support young and emerging artists and promote dialogue and debate.

By providing a platform for marginalised voices, we aim to help those who have been directly affected by conflict.

In print

Issue 01, titled Displacement, looks at the visual response to current and past migrations. Published in January 2018, it features contributors such as dancer-choreographer Akram Khan, photographer Harley Weir, and Turner Prize nominees Forensic Architecture and Oscar Murillo.

Issue 02, themed around Protest, explores how visual culture engages with and reacts to different forms of resistance. Published in April 2019, it features contributors such as Kara Walker, Olafur Eliasson, Santiago Sierra, Seamus Murphy and Raqs Media Collective.

Our third issue, titled Ruin, is due to be published in spring 2020.


Alongside the publication, we run an ongoing events and community outreach programme that forms an integral part of what we do. These events take the form of film screenings, panel discussions, exhibitions, workshops, artist residencies and more. Keep posted on our social media channels for news about what’s coming up.

Who we are

We are a group of passionate volunteers with a varied background in publishing, events, filmmaking and research. The idea to form Contra derived from a shared interest in representations of conflict and a belief that accessible critical analysis of this topic is missing within everyday encounters with media.

Our team

Ben Bohm-Duchen
George Brodie
Lucas Giles
Alexander Morrison
Angelique De Raffaele
Sophie Chester-Nash

Design by Our Place

Distributed by Antenne Books


“Through the combination of captivating photo essays and insights
into the thoughts of well-known creatives, Contra Journal utilises
art and design to create a platform that communicates stories and
champions unheard voices”
It’s Nice That

“Numerous new art publications pop up every year, and some
stand out more than others. Contra… certainly has a USP”
The Art Newspaper

“Issue 01 of Contra was one of our favourite launches last year”

“I was really impressed by the way Contra drills down into the
issues it covers and looks at them from a human perspective,
resulting in content that has a real resonance.”
Maurice Wren,
Chief Executive, Refugee Council

“The very opposite of the cut and paste zine of resistance, Contra’s calm glossy pages belie its powerful message.”

An in-depth interview with the Contra founders published by Dazed can be found here.

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To get in touch, drop us an email or follow us on Instagram and Twitter to stay in the loop.

Representations of Migration and Displacement: Panel Discussion

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Join us for a discussion of representations of migration, displacement and conflict across visual media, contemporary art, journalism, photography, documentary and more. We are delighted to host some fantastic speakers, including Maurice Wren, Eugenie Dolberg, Dima Karout and Nadia Atia. The discussion will be followed by a Q&A session with questions from the audience. Join us afterwards for a drink in the SOAS bar!

For more than thirty years Maurice Wren has worked to support migrants and refugees. He has been the Chief Executive of the Refugee Council since March 2013. Prior to this he worked as a Director in the homelessness and refugee protection fields at charities Shelter and Asylum Aid. Maurice Wren co-founded the ground-breaking Independent Asylum Commission in 2007, Detention Forum in 2009, and also chairs UK Refugee Week.

Eugenie Dolberg is a photographer and photojournalist. Her participatory photography project, Open Shutters, trained women from all over Iraq to share their experience of war and occupation using photography and writing. This enabled them to document and bear witness to their own experiences, challenging interpretation and representation of events by Western media, and allowing them to take ownership of their own stories.

Nadia Atia is a Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London. Her work has explored how the First World War shaped British perceptions of Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) in the early twentieth century. Her current research examines Britain’s ever-evolving relationship with Iraq, and the ways in which Iraq and its people are represented in contemporary Iraqi literature available in the UK.

Dima Karout is a visual artist and educator. She has worked on a range of projects relating to migration. Her work investigates the evolution of identity beyond borders, internal and external conflicts, the metaphor of home, and the relation between people and places. In her exhibitions and classes, she advocates for socially engaged art. Dima is currently the artist/curator in residence at the Migration Museum.

Date: 15.11.18

Time: 7pm-9pm

Venue: SOAS, Room SALT - Paul Webley Wing (Senate House North Block)

Tickets £5 / £10 including a copy of Contra Issue 01



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