Rebecca Newell is Head of Art at Imperial War Museums (IWM), working across the five branches on all aspects related to the care, display and interpretation of the preeminent twentieth- and twenty-first-century art collection. Priorities include collections development, new commissioning and display, working directly with artists and forging new arts and cultural sector partners. She is IWM's lead subject specialist for art history and engagement and is part of the research-active staff community at IWM working often with IWM Institute network of Associates, experts and academics.
Rebecca has recently curated a large-scale commission with global artist and activist Ai Weiwei for IWM London and an exhibition of Blitz paintings with a focus on the experience of Londoners for Churchill War Rooms. She is co-leading the IWM 14–18 NOW Legacy Fund which will make £2 million available to artists and cultural organisations for new art commissions across the UK from 2021.
Other areas of research interest include decolonisation practice within museums and marginalised histories, issues of representation and the role of the artist in recording and memorialising conflict. In particular, Rebecca is undertaking a research project on sexual and gender violence in conflict and early post-conflict spaces. She is currently supervising a PhD, in collaboration with Birkbeck, on militarised masculinities with focus on recent service experiences and material culture.