Back in Kyiv after a holiday in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho and a short working visit to London, I am intrigued to see advertised on the Foreign Office website an exhibition by British artist James Hart Dyke entitled “A Year with MI6”.  

To spend a year working with the Secret Intelligence Service and then attempt to produce works of art which, as James Hart Dyke says, “attempt to portray a sense of everyday life for those working in SIS” without compromising the identities of officers, agents, operations or actual events, strikes me as a fantastic and intriguing challenge.  You can see a slideshow of some of his works here.  The artist concludes that the work of SIS is “essentially about building relations with people”.  The exhibition is on from 15-27 February in London at the Mount Street Galleries, 94 Mount Street, London.  

Art provides an interesting outlet for intelligence services wishing to draw a degree of attention to their activities while seeking to ensure that the secrecy essential to their operations is not compromised.  For a take on how the Dutch Secret Service, the AIVD (I'd never heard of them either, which must show how secret they are) tackled this same issue, see my blog of December 2009 entitled “I can burn your face”. That blog also referred to the importance of a free media, which remains a key issue in Ukraine today.

Leigh Turner
British Ambassador to Ukraine

NOTE:  You can read all of Ambassador Turner's blogs by visiting: 

Ukrayinska Dumka


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