Aden Then and Now – investigation and exhibition

Funded: Yemeni Archive

The Yemeni Archive is a  project which collects, verifies and investigates open source content relating to human rights violations in Yemen, building on the team’s previous experience running the Syrian Archive. The Yemeni Archive’s focus is to create a database of materials to support advocacy research, assist in legal case building, and construct a digital memory.


The Yemeni Archive were funded to develop an investigation which was exhibited as part of Aden Then & Now. This involved coordinating the work with Yemenis based in Aden to collect testimonies, edit the recordings, and produce the audio and visual content which was presented as part of the exhibition.

‘Aden Then & Now’ was an interactive exhibition on display during February 2020 in Birmingham, UK, which draws on the historic legacies of the First World War in what was then known as the ‘Aden Protectorate’ to better understand more contemporary developments of the current war in Yemen. From the 1914 Battles with the Ottomans to the rise of Al-Qaeda in the late 1990s, from the outbreak of the civil war in the aftermath of the 2011 uprisings, to the more recent military intervention by the Saudi-led coalition, Yemen is a country torn by long years of conflict and unrest. Drawing on audiovisual archival material from the early 1900s, and on more recent contributions from Yemenis who live in Aden today, this exhibition was an opportunity to rethink the contemporary legacies of the ‘Great War’ in Yemen, and to explore the human, political and ethical costs of being involved in a war which has been ongoing for over 100 years.