Abbas – Documenting Iran from 1970

February 4, 2016 | Frontline Bloggers

By Charlotte Beale

Legendary Iranian photographer Abbas joined journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari in a conversation at the Frontline Club on 3 February 2016, chaired by CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer.

Bahari and Abbas have collaborated to launch, a platform showcasing Abbas’s photographic body of work on Iran since 1970, including his coverage of the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

My Jihad: Confronting Extremism in Belgium

February 2, 2016 Phoebe Hall Comment

By May Bulman

Belgian journalist Rudi Vranckx joined an audience at the Frontline Club on Monday 1 February 2016 to discuss his documentary My Jihad, in which he explores how a small Belgian community is confronting extremism.

War Zone Freelance Exhibition – in Pictures

January 29, 2016 Phoebe Hall Comment

Photos by Tolly Robinson
Thursday 28 January 2016 – panel discussion with journalists Benjamin Hiller, Osie Greenway, Jeffry Ruigendijk and Anne Alling on the subject of freelance conflict reporting and the War Zone Freelance Exhibition.


War Zone Freelance Exhibition – The Story Behind the News

January 29, 2016 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Thomas Colson

A panel of freelance journalists and photographers joined an audience at the Frontline Club on Thursday 28 January 2016 to discuss the story behind a new exhibition of freelance war photography. Osie Greenway, Anne Alling, Benjamin Hiller and Jeffry Ruigendijk introduced photography and footage from their time in the Middle East – particularly Iraq, Syria and Lebanon – and explained that the exhibition’s purpose was to bring to light to the complexities that surround freelance journalism, which are rarely recognised by those who ultimately view the content produced. 

Gordon Brown, Julia Gillard & Kevin Watkins Discuss Funding Education for Syrian Child Refugees

January 26, 2016 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Charlotte Beale

United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown joined chair of the Global Partnership for Education and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Overseas Development Institute’s Executive Director Kevin Watkins at the Frontline Club on 25 January 2016 to discuss Funding for Syrian Child Refugees, on a panel moderated by foreign correspondent David Loyn.

Gordon Brown, Julia Gillard and Kevin Watkins Discuss Funding Education for Child Refugees – in Pictures

January 26, 2016 Phoebe Hall Comment

Photographs by Tolly Robinson Monday 25 January 2016

On a panel moderated by David Loyn, Gordon Brown, Julia Gillard and Kevin Watkins discussed funding education for Syrian child refugees.


Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr and Camp Gitmo

January 26, 2016 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Ayman al-Juzi

On Friday 22 January 2016, a panel joined a packed audience at the Frontline Club for a lively discussion following the London premiere screening of Michelle Shephard‘s Guantanamo’s Child. With unprecedented access to former fellow prisoners, family members and government officials, the documentary explores the political and ethical implications of the harrowing case of Omar Khadr.

‘Trumpmania’ and the US Election Year

January 26, 2016 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Elizabeth Jackson

On Wednesday 20 January 2016, in front of a sold out audience at the Frontline Club, a panel of experts – chaired by journalist Michael Goldfarb – set out to discuss what is in store for this election year in the United States.
Panel prepares for Q & A .

Professionalising Citizen Journalism

January 25, 2016 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Adam Barr

“We all work in closing spaces around the world where journalism is becoming more and more difficult.”

The challenges of reporting on places and conflicts forgotten by the mainstream media were laid bare on Tuesday 19 January, as the Frontline Club hosted an in-depth discussion on the professionalisation of citizen journalism.

Trevor Snapp, director of programs at Nuba Reports, chaired a discussion that ranged from the increasingly savvy media strategies employed by governments, to the dangers faced by emboldened eyewitnesses looking for a big payout.

Arete Workshop Series: Humanitarian storytelling agency for non-profits and NGOs

January 18, 2016 merryn.johnson Comment

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Arete_LogoThe Frontline Club is delighted to announce a partnership with Arete Stories to deliver a series of workshops which draws on their experience as a leading NGO and humanitarian storytelling agency.

These training opportunities are aimed at people working in NGO and charity communications, journalism and the media, in the UK and abroad, and at times in challenging contexts.

The series may be conceived as a whole. Those who attend all four sessions will gain broad learning outcomes and an overview of the key aspects of content gathering and distribution within non-profit communications and humanitarian journalism.

Each training event is also a stand-alone learning experience. Each one-day session offers focused benefits for those who wish to gain insights into a specific area of content gathering or distribution within the non-profit communications and humanitarian journalism industries.

Arete Stories is committed to telling stories that make a difference. Their workshops teach attendees how to tell the stories that matter, better, and how to get those stories out to the audiences that count.

This series comprises of the following workshops:

NGO and Humanitarian Storytelling through Photography
Friday 11 March 2016, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

This one-day workshop will teach you how to tell humanitarian stories though photographs for media, NGOs, charities and corporate social responsibility programmes. This is a hands-on photography experience and we encourage interpretation and creativity no matter what type of camera you use.

NGO and Humanitarian Storytelling through Video and Multimedia
Friday 8 April 2016, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

This one-day workshop will teach you how to tell powerful stories though video and multimedia. You will learn to create an effective video strategy and how to work with professional video producers and teams. We will go over common pitfalls, learn the relevant theory and lingo, and cover practical topics including how to write a creative brief, how to coordinate bigger productions, and how to use web platforms and social media effectively.

NGO and Humanitarian Stories and the Media
Friday 6 May 2016, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

In an increasingly competitive media marketplace, gaining maximum coverage for the issues that matter is key to making sure your stories make a difference. Learn why editors reject or select humanitarian and NGO stories and how to avoid the classic pitfalls. This course will show you how to produce fantastic visually led pitches using the right platforms to ensure maximum coverage and compliments the storytelling courses held in March and April.

NGO and Humanitarian Content Gathering in Challenging Contexts
Friday 10 June 2016, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

NGOs and journalists often have to operate in challenging or hostile contexts. Producing quality material whilst maintaining levels of professionalism and sensitivity can be hard. This course will help you navigate through the complexities and give you the confidence you need to bring back a story safely and sensitively.

Power, Politics and Performance in Russia: Collective Memory and the Cult of Stalin

January 15, 2016 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Elliot Goat

“It took me years to make sense of my own history, and Russian society will take a similar time.”– Vladimir Ashurkov, Russian opposition politician

In collaboration with Theatre Royal Plymouth and the Sputnik Theatre, on Thursday 14 January the Frontline Club presented a staged reading of Grandchildren: The Second Act by Alexandra Polivanova and Mikhail Kaluzhsky as part of its Power, Politics & Performance in Russia series.

Told through a series of overlapping testimonies, Grandchildren explores how people construct and ultimately justify the actions of family members who – as members of Stalin’s inner circle or of the secret police – contributed to the atrocities and purges of the Soviet era.

Chairing the subsequent debate that covered the performance itself and the question of collective memory, BBC foreign correspondent Gabriel Gatehouse began by asking the panel what parallels they saw between the period depicted in the play and contemporary Russia.

John Freedman, theatre critic and former theatre critic for The Moscow Times, said that one of the strengths of the piece was that it “points no fingers, it has no answers, it does not say somebody is guilty or innocent.”

“What it messes with is life and the reality of a life that people live. Any one of us can look back into our own pasts and find difficult moments that we rationalise.”

And it was this, said Freedman, that causes him to despair, “because I see the same thing happening now. People around me are finding the exact same answers to similar questions.”

Writer and broadcaster Oliver Bullough stressed that each nation seeks to define itself by its past, but that in the case of Russia it is far harder to simplify into didactic terms and to challenge the narrative that has already been established. “People need stories to live their live by,” he said, “in order to make sense of it.”

Touching on a recurring theme that a lack of lustration – a process of reckoning akin to the Nuremberg trials – was one of the primary causes of the current situation in Russia today, Vladimir Ashurkov, a prominent opposition politician and executive director of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, said this is perhaps best illustrated by the resurgence in mass support for Stalin.

Russians have a long history of authoritarianism, said Ashurkov, but key is the role that government plays. “It can take steps to bring people closer, to make sense of their history and to be in touch with reality.”

He added that, over the past 15 years, the Russian government has sought to rehabilitate the cult of Stalin as a means of inspiring and imposing a new wave of xenophobia and nationalism.

Freedman touched on the building of this Stalin brand as an increasingly powerful tool: “What I see is people using the name of Stalin, using the picture of Stalin, as a sign to say ‘this is good, this is strong, this is part of the Russia I want’ – and running towards that.”

Alexandrina Markvo, a leading figure of the Moscow art scene currently living in exile, added that this use of the Stalin-myth as a tool for propaganda was resoundingly clear when you examined the teaching of history in schools across Russia, and specifically the way in which Stalin is presented.

On the subject of complicity, one audience member reiterated the panel’s earlier argument that the historical divide between victims and perpetrators had become far harder to define in Russia, and – over the course of 70 years of Soviet rule – had frequently become interchangeable. He argued that this had made it more difficult to point fingers of guilt, and suggested instead the existence of a complex of collective guilt versus collective innocence.

Ending with the question of whether Russia had entered a period akin to that under Soviet rule, speaking from the floor, artistic director of Teatr.doc Elena Gremina said: “Of course not, because the current government is much more dangerous and, in a sense, much more anti-people, and anti-state than even the Soviet government.”

The Fight Against Daesh: Symptoms and Causes

January 8, 2016 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Antonia Roupell  

A panel discussion focused on The Fight Against Daesh made for a timely first First Wednesday of the year at the Frontline Club. The packed event on 6 January was chaired by David Loyn, foreign correspondent for the BBC for over 30 years. The speakers included Richard Spencer, Middle East editor of The Daily and Sunday TelegraphShiraz Maher, research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College; and Robin Yassin-Kassab, journalist and author of The Road From Damascus and most recently co-author with Leila al-Shami of Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War. Completing the panel was Azadeh Moaveni, lecturer in journalism at Kingston University and former Middle East correspondent for TIME magazine, and author of Lipstick Jihad and Honeymoon in Tehran.

Staged Readings & Discussion: Power, Politics & Performance in Russia

January 7, 2016 frontlinestaff Comment

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Each evening will feature a topical new Russian play translated into English by Sputnik’s artistic director, Noah Birksted-Breen, and presented by a British theatre director and cast. The post-show talks will touch upon various aspects of life in Russia covering an array of issues, from the clampdown on theatre and freedom of speech to growing social tensions and immigration.

There are only a few tickets left so to avoid disappointment please follow the below links and book now.

Tuesday 12 January 2016, 7:00 PM

The play Doctor is one of the longest running productions of Teatr.doc, the famous studio theatre in Moscow which was supported by Tom Stoppard amongst other prominent British voices when facing closure in 2014. The staged reading will be followed by a discussion with artistic director of Teatr.doc, Elena Gremina, in conversation with senior international correspondent for The Guardian, Luke Harding.

Wednesday 13 January 2016, 7:00 PM

Zhanna is a play not only about love but also the ruthless business practices borne of 1990s opportunistic Russia and its gangster capitalism. Following the staged reading, the members’ clubroom will open its doors to all attendees in celebration of theatre week.

Thursday 14 January 2016, 7:00 PM

The play Grandchildren. The Second Act is based on interviews taken by the playwrights over the last couple of years, the protagonists’ grandparents were from Stalin’s inner circle – or members of the Soviet Communist Party or NKVD – and their testimonies bear witness to the very human desire to forgive those we love, even when we know their worst crimes. The staged reading will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by Gabriel Gatehouse, BBC foreign correspondent who has extensively covered the Ukrainian – Russian crisis.

Friday 15 January 2016, 7:00 PM

The War Hasn’t Yet Started is a poignant play that depicts the dehumanising effects of living in a society on the brink of all-out war. The staged reading will be followed by a Q&A with artistic director of Sputnik theatre, Noah Birksted-Breen, and the artistic director of Theatre Royal Plymouth, Simon Stokes in conversation with Lucy Ash, an award winning presenter of foreign affairs documentaries at the BBC.

We’re hiring!

January 5, 2016 Frontline Restaurant Comment

Position: Assistant Club Receptionist

Salary: DOA

Hours: Fulltime, according to weekly shift rota, evening work will be necessary frequently. Will need to comply with a fairly strict rota.

Job details:

We are looking for an enthusiastic and sociable individual to join the Frontline Club team. The candidate will primarily work on the reception desk, welcoming members (and checking the status of their membership) as well as assisting with restaurant & club bookings, and co-ordinating with the Membership Secretary.

– Well spoken English and an excellent customer service manner is a most. Keen to go above and beyond to help customers with problems (carrying bags etc)

– A firm but polite manner; the Club is members only, with specific exceptions during events, so the door must be well policed.

– Good writing and communication skills

– Ability to work on own initiative with minimal supervision; you’ll be working virtually the whole time on a small desk outside the Club, so can be monotonous.

– Handling incoming enquiries and bookings for the restaurant, club and bedrooms.

– Managing maintenance of the building and bedrooms, liaising with guests concerning arrival instructions

– Organizing the bedroom bookings and cleaning schedule. Our hotel is run automatically with guest entrance codes sent out, so teething issues will need to be handled with aplomb by you.

– Controlling access to the club/liaising with customers and members

– Co-ordinating with Hospitality Manager and Programme Editor on club activities and inquiries.

– Coffee machine trained / willing to be trained to assist the Club Barman on occasion

– Administrative support for the Club Managers as and when needed, health & safety etc.

Closing date: 15.01.15

Announcing Frontline Club Istanbul: A Syrian Love Story – Turkish Preview Screening + Q&A

December 21, 2015 Phoebe Hall Comment

Thursday 21 January 2016, 6:00 PM
SALT GalataGaranti Bankası, Bankalar Caddesi 11, Karaköy 34420, Istanbul

Please email to register to attend this event

We are thrilled to announce our first Frontline Club event in Turkey on 21 January 2016, which will mark the start of regular screenings and discussions taking place in Istanbul as part of the Frontline International Partners programme. Alongside our substantial international activities across Russia and Eastern and Central Europe, Frontline Club Istanbul will promote a critical engagement with current affairs, stimulate a culture of informed and open debate, and support high-quality and independent journalism.

For this first Frontline Club Istanbul event, we are pleased to screen Sean McAllister’s 2015 award-winning documentary A Syrian Love Story for the first time in Turkey. The event will be introduced by Frontline Club founder Vaughan Smith, and followed by a discussion with filmmaker Sean McAllister and protagonist and Syrian opposition activist Raghda Hassan. The discussion will be moderated by NTV journalist Can Ertuna, who has covered conflicts across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and is the author of Arap İsyanları Güncesi (Arab Uprisings Diary), published in 2014.

This screening will be held at SALT Galata and in collaboration with P24, a Turkish not-for-profit, civil society organisation that supports and promotes editorial independence in the Turkish press at a time when the journalistic profession is under increasingly fierce commercial and political threat.

Syrian Love Story - Bob

The film:
Amer, 45, met Raghda, 40, in a Syrian prison cell 15 years ago. Over a number of months they communicated through a tiny hole they had secretly made in the wall. They fell in love and, following their release, married and started a family together. This film tells the poignant story of their family torn apart by the tyrannical Assad regime.

Filming began in Syria in 2009, prior to the wave of revolutions and ongoing changes in the Middle East. At the time, Raghda was a political prisoner and Amer was caring for their young children alone. McAllister filmed in the thriving heart of the Yarmouk Camp in Damascus – now an infamous news story as the Assad regime blocked all aid and food to its inhabitants.

This intimate family portrait probes to understand why people are literally dying for change in the Arab world. As Raghda is released from prison, filmmaker Sean McAllister himself is arrested for filming and the political pressure around all activists intensifies. The family flee to Lebanon, and then to France where they are given political asylum in the sleepy town of Albi, where they now watch the revolution from afar and wait for the fall of Assad.

However, in exile Raghda’s mental health suffers. We see their new life in France develop, but the war is now between them. In finding the freedom they fought so hard for, their relationship is beginning to fall apart.

A Syrian Love Story won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sheffield International Documentary Festival.

Directed by: Sean McAllister
Country: UK/France/Lebanon/Syria
Running time: 80′


For more information about the Frontline Club’s international activities in Turkey, Russia and Eastern and Central Europe, please contact

Gift vouchers available for Christmas!

December 10, 2015 merryn.johnson Comment

voucher promo picIf you’d like to buy a gift voucher for a Christmas presents this year, just drop us a line at to find out more. We can give you a voucher for a specific event or workshop, or credit that you can choose to spend as you like.

Terms and Conditions:
Voucher can only be redeemed against talks, screenings, workshops and masterclasses. Not redeemable against food and drink. Bookings are still required: please email or call +44 (0)20 7479 8940 to redeem.

The Lives of Others: Character Driven Documentary

December 1, 2015 Phoebe Hall Comment

By Thomas Colson

On Monday 30 November, a panel of acclaimed documentary filmmakers came together to discuss the difficulties and rewards of character-driven documentary.

Beadie Finzi, one of the founding directors of non-profit film foundation BRITDOC, moderated the discussion and was joined by filmmakers Brian Hill, David Sington, and Edward Lovelace.

Sun Mu: From North Korean Propagandist to Pop Art Defector

November 23, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Heenali Patel

On Friday 20 November, the Frontline Club hosted a premiere screening of the documentary I Am Sun Mu, a remarkable insight into the life and work of North Korean defector and political pop artist Sun Mu. The film follows Sun Mu as he prepares for his first solo exhibition in Beijing in 2014 while trying to remain hidden from the Chinese authorities – a feat that proves more challenging than he, or the filmmaker, had anticipated. The screening was followed by a Q&A session with director Adam Sjöberg.

Spotlight: Investigative Journalism at the Boston Globe

November 19, 2015 Phoebe Hall Comment

By Isabelle Gerretsen

On Wednesday 18 November, Sacha Pfeiffer and Mike Rezendes from The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer-prize winning Spotlight team discussed their 2002 exposé of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, the subject of the new film Spotlight. They spoke to Richard Sambrook, former head of BBC News and director of the centre for journalism at Cardiff University, and were joined by the film’s  director Tom McCarthy and co-writer Josh Singer.

In the Picture with Giles Duley: “Anti-War Photographer”

November 19, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Ratha Lehall

On Wednesday 18 November, the Frontline Club hosted photographer Giles Duley to discuss the themes and individual images in his latest project, One Second of LightDuley was joined by Roger Tatley, director at the Marian Goodman Gallery, and Jon Levy, a photo editor currently working with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

One Second of Light is a diverse collection of photographs that Duley has taken over the last seven years. He explained to the Frontline Club audience that he began to work on self-funded projects ten years ago, in order to maintain more control over the content and time dedicated. The project features photographs from a wide range of countries, including Angola, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Jordan and Ukraine.

Gulwali Passarlay’s Journey as a Refugee from Afghanistan to the UK

November 19, 2015 Phoebe Hall Comment

By Aletha Adu

On Wednesday 18 November, Gulwali Passarlay enlightened a packed audience at the Frontline Club into his journey as an unaccompanied child refugee from Afghanistan to the United Kingdom. Joined by former Afghanistan correspondent for the BBC David Loyn, and Nadene Ghouri who co-authored his book The Lightless Sky, Passarlay was keen to address the complexities of the refugee crisis from both a personal and political perspective.

Yallah!: Underground Music in the Middle East

November 17, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Ratha Lehall

On Monday 16 November, the Frontline Club hosted a screening of the documentary Yallah! Underground, a vibrant look at a diverse groups of Arab artists and musicians using culture to challenge the status quo. The film is set in the years prior to and during the Arab spring, and focuses on artists from Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. The film was followed by a Q&A with director Farid Eslam, via Skype.

Insight with Sandra Rodríguez Nieto: Life and Death in Juárez – In Pictures

November 13, 2015 Millicent Teasdale Comment

Photographs by Tolly Robinson of discussion between Mexican journalist Sandra Rodríguez Nieto and Ed Vulliamy, writer for the Observer and the Guardian.


Corruption, Violence and Impunity in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

November 13, 2015 Phoebe Hall Comment

By Molly Fleming

On Thursday 12 November, award-winning reporter Sandra Rodríguez Nieto spoke with author and journalist for the Observer and the Guardian Ed Vulliamy about life and death in Juarez, the Mexican murder capital of the world.sandra rodriguez

Water Wars: Is a Drying World Stoking the Migration Crisis?

November 12, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Hannah Lawrence

In a heated debate on Wednesday 11 November at the Frontline Club, a panel of writers and scientists discussed the extent to which a drying world is a contributing factor in the ongoing migration crisis.

Kisilu: The Climate Diaries

November 11, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Harriet Agerholm 

On Tuesday 10 November the Frontline Club hosted a preview screening of Julia Dahr’s Kisilu: The Climate Diaries, ahead of the film’s December screening at the UN climate change conference in Paris. The screening was followed by a discussion with the film’s producer, Hugh Hartford.

The Dayton Agreement 20 Years On – In Pictures

November 6, 2015 Millicent Teasdale Comment

Photographs by Tolly Robinson of panel discussion marking 20 years since the Dayton Agreement with Paddy Ashdown, Anthony Loyd, Kemal Pervanic, Zrinka Bralo and chaired by Allan Little.


20 Years After the Dayton Agreement: “The Sky is Darkening in Bosnia”

November 5, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Jonathan Bucks

On Wednesday 4 November, the Frontline Club marked the twentieth anniversary of the Dayton Agreement – the peace agreement that marked the end of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina – by welcoming a panel of those who helped shape negotiations at the time, and who reported on the three year conflict.


Nowhere People: The World’s 10M Stateless People

November 5, 2015 Phoebe Hall Comment

By Charlotte Beale

On 3 November at the Frontline Club, photojournalist Greg Constantine spoke to UNHCR’s UK representative Gonzalo Vargas Llosa about Nowhere People, Constantine’s body of ten years of photographic work on the world’s estimated 10m stateless people.