Over the past 100 years tear gas has been deployed to lure soldiers from hiding, to disperse demonstrations, halt robberies, quell riots, frighten protesters and confront hostage situations. Through these myriad uses, tear gas has grown into a global industry, serving as one of the major defence exports to international conflict zones. Yet while tear gas goes off around the world, its health effects remain undetermined, its death toll ill-defined and its legality, a recurring question.
Responding to the need for more publicly accessible information on tear gas deployments, trade policies and health effects, my Fusion Fund mobility project ‘Fusing an International Research Network on Tear Gas’ is working to bring together researchers, NGOs, journalists and creative workers who address tear gas and related issues around chemical weapons, policing and control agents. Over the 2013-2014 year I will be working to form a research network to promote knowledge exchange between stakeholders and to lay the groundwork for future collaborative bids.
Our major project-in-the-works ‘Visualising Security and Uprising: Data, Democracy and Public Debate,’ will pair up innovative, digital media knowledge sharing techniques with findings derived from clinical trials, on the ground human rights monitoring, and archival data collection to generate publically accessible information on tear gas. The Network’s first presentation takes place in collaboration with Bahrain Watch this Thursday at Birmingham University’s Institute of Advanced Studies workshop event: Responding to Uprising: Urban Security Between Resilience and Resistance.
The Tear Gas Network is a collaborative initiative with a growing team, for more information or if you are interested in getting involved, please be in touch.