Skip to main content
 Rio Creech-Nowagiel

Rio Creech-Nowagiel

Research student,


I'm Rio, a PhD candidate at Cardiff University's School of Journalism, Media and Culture as part of an AHRC funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership with Imperial War Museums. My project explores the role of imperialism in shaping the production and circulation of ‘official’ conflict imagery, paying close attention to the impact of accompanying text on how public knowledge was generated in postwar Britain around its so-called ‘Emergency’ wars.

I run an interdisciplinary research network, which provides a platform for PGRs & ECRs based at Cardiff University working in any area related to photography. Alongside my PhD research, I pursue projects in my capacity as a freelance curator and arts organiser, where I spotlight themes of diasporic and queer identity, displacement, survival and intergenerational memory.

Prior to my PhD, I completed a BA in Art History at Cambridge University and an MA in Museum Studies at the University of Amsterdam. I also conducted photographic research as part of the curatorial team at the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam.


Research interests

My current work with IWMs explores how original captions and museum-ascribed descriptions have consciously or unconsciously supported colonial narratives and influenced audience understandings, focusing on media, archival and museal framings of the so-called Malayan 'Emergency' (1948-60). I'm working with the Partnerships team at IWMs to develop resources and knowledge-sharing practices around matters of labelling and inherent bias in the photographic archive.

Alongside my work at IWM, I'm involved in an ongoing project exploring histories and legacies of Polish resettlement in Britain after WW2. Earlier this year, I facilitated and co-produced a temporary exhibition which brought together photographs and memories from former residents of Grove Park Camp (1946-57). Grove Park was a resettlement camp set up on the grounds of the country estate in Iver, Slough, to accommodate Polish soldiers and their families after the Second World War. The bilingual exhibition was open to visitors for free at the gallery room at the Curve Library in Slough. I led tours and workshops with members of Slough's Polish and non-Polish community exploring themes of identity and belonging. I used the exhibition space as a platform for spotlighting the resilience and strength of Polish refugees who were evicted from their homes after a decade on the camp and for celebrating the rich cultural contribution of Polish people to present-day Slough.


Reframing ‘Emergency’ and ‘Bersiap’: A comparative study of annotated photographs taken during British and Dutch colonial counter-insurgency campaigns in Southeast Asia between 1945-60

Funding source



Tom Allbeson

Dr Tom Allbeson

Senior Lecturer in Media History


Professor Claire Gorrara

Dean for Research and Innovation for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor of French Studies