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Kate Holt: Surviving Afghanistan

  • Hampshire Record Office Sussex Street Winchester, England, SO23 8TH United Kingdom (map)


This talk will discuss war, photography and being a woman in a man’s world. Kate Holt was the only UK photographer to be allowed to photograph the work of a UK military counter IED team in the summer of 2010. Alongside her work with the UK and US militaries, Kate also spent three years documenting the impact of the war on the civilian population; working in civilian hospitals in both Kandahar and Helmand.

This talk has been organised by Wire Wool Events especially for Winchester Heritage Open Days.

In the first six months of 2015, 22 percent – nearly a quarter - of Afghan civilian casualties were caused by improvised explosive devices, according to a report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. Since the draw down of UK and US troops in 2015 the Afghan National Army has had to take the lead in counter IED work which is proving challenging to sustain. Not only did Kate have to live and work in a war zone, she also faced the challenge of being a woman in a male-dominated environment. This is a dynamic she faces regularly in her career as an international photojournalist; but far from being a detriment to her work, she sees it as a strength.

Women are able to access a totally different type of story to their male counterparts,” says Kate. “We need to play to this strength, and embrace our ability to represent issues in a different light.”

Kate will speak about her assignment in Afghanistan, the challenges she faced and the stories that she was able to tell from a civilian population ravaged by a now-16-year-long war.

Please note the room where the talk is being held is only accessible via stairs or a lift. Since the lift cannot be used in an emergency, evacuation of less able visitors in an emergency is down the stairs via an evacuation chair. Hampshire Record Office ask that we notify them advance of the presence of anyone using a wheelchair or with access issues likely to require use of an evacuation chair in an emergency. Please select 'accessible ticket' if you feel this could be you.