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The Future of Remembrance: Refrain film premiere + Q&A

Wednesday 22 November 2017, 19:00 to 20:00

Guest event: Premiere screening of the making of Refrain, a site-specific choral work produced by Situations with Verity Standen Projects, exploring the hidden history of conscientious objectors.

In Spring 2017, 80 untrained male singers performed Refrain a haunting a cappela choral work in sites of historic significance for the story of conscientious objection in the First World War. The acclaimed, promenade performances across Richmond Castle in North Yorkshire, St. Helens, Merseyside and Newhaven Fort in East Sussex were devised and composed by Verity Standen and produced by Situations.

This November, Arnolfini hosts the premiere screening of a film which documents the making of Refrain, charting the ways in which Verity Standen brought the work to life, hearing the experiences of those involved and the background to the charged sites of performance across the country.

As an event for those interested in the making of site specific performance, WW1, conscientious objection and the value of new forms of commemoration, the context of the hidden history of conscientious objectors to conscription in WW1 will be used to launch wider discussions around the future of remembrance.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Verity Standen and Arnolfini Director Claire Doherty (former Director of Situations), who will be joined by Professor Lois Bibbings, an expert on conscientious objectors and co-curator of Refusing To KillBristol's World War 1 Conscientious Objectors, a current exhibition at Bristol Cathedral about Bristol’s relationship to this national story.

After the screening and Q&A, you are warmly invited to carry on conversations in the Arnolfini Cafe Bar.

Situations will be encouraging live twitter debate from the event for those who cannot attend in person.

Join the conversation @SituationsUK


This event is produced in association with Bristol Festival of Ideas.

Arnolfini's spaces are sometimes available for Guest Events. Click here for more information


Arnolfini is accessible for wheelchair users, with disabled toilets on all levels and lift access to all floors. This event will take place on the second floor.

If you have specific access requirements please email  and we'll do all we can to facilitate. Companions to disabled customers are entitled to a free ticket. 


About Refrain

Refrain is produced by Situations with Verity Standen Projects, in partnership with English Heritage, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts and Heart of Glass, St. Helens. It was generously supported by Arts Council England, Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, The Space and Heritage Lottery Fund.

Explore the Refrain website and story page
Find out more about Situations here

About Refusing to Kill: Bristol's World War 1 Conscientious Objectors

Refusing to Kill is an exhibition curated by Remembering the Real World War 1 network and supported by the University of Bristol. It runs in Bristol Cathedral (College Green) until 8th January 2018.

Check Bristol Cathedral's opening times here

For more information on the exhibition visit Facebook

Speaker biographies

Lois Bibbings is Professor of Law, Gender and History at the University of Bristol. She has been researching, writing and talking about WW1 COs for over a quarter a century. Her publications on the subject include Telling Tales About Men: Conceptions of Conscientious Objectors to Military Service During the First World War (MUP, 2009). As a member of Remembering the Real World War 1, she is currently co-curating Refusing to Kill: Bristol's World War 1 Conscientious Objectors, an exhibition at Bristol Cathedral, and organising a range of linked events and activities in the city.

Claire Doherty was appointed Director of Arnolfini in August 2017 and was previously Founder Director of Situations – one of the UK’s foremost producers of public art projects, where she spent 15 years spearheading dynamic new approaches to arts in the public realm, engaging those for whom the arts might have seemed irrelevant or inaccessible.

Projects such as Theaster Gates’ Sanctum and Verity Standen’s Refrain have caught the public’s imagination and garnered critical acclaim for their bold, cross-art form visions. Claire is a leading advocate for the role arts can play in the future of our cities, having authored public art and creative strategies for the cities of Melbourne, Plymouth and Oslo.

Verity Standen is a composer based in Bristol. Her work explores the human voice and how it can be celebrated and transformed through live performance. Previous projects include HUG (a participatory choral piece that has toured internationally, winner of the Off West End TBC Award), Mmm Hmmm (an a cappella show for theatres that has played across the UK from the Outer Hebrides to the National Theatre) and Symphony (a piece for individual audience members, last seen in Bristol at Mayfest 2016). See

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