What if Women Ruled the World?

European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017 and Filmby Aarhus present What if Women Ruled the World? - a co-commission between Manchester International Festival and Aarhus 2017.

It’s 2.5 minutes to midnight. The Doomsday Clock is counting down.

Arriving at a moment of unprecedented worldwide flux, internationally acclaimed artist, Yael Bartana brings some of the world’s best strategic minds together to help avert impending disaster. Bartana uses a fictional scenario to examine real life issues. Each night, she brings together actors with a group of international women in Dr Strangelove’s War Room: defence advisers, soldiers, peace activists, humanitarians, politicians and leading thinkers. Together they will spend the evening attempting to solve the global emergency, and stop the Doomsday Clock from reaching midnight.

Join us in the war room.

"This engrossing information experience becomes electric with thought. Topical, urgent and essential in these days of wild political cataclysms. Bringing together some of the best minds in their field, this gathering of expert women dare to explore the ramifications of decisions taken by men and bring issues and proposals into sharp focus for a real world in which women are frequently at the front line and the targets of terror, abuse, mind control and ideology. Yael Bartana brings her unique interest in phantasmic histories into play in this extraordinary new work that blends and bends art and real life in the re-invented, inverted space of Dr Strangelove’s post nuclear tomb." Juliana Engberg, Programme Director European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017.

"Yael Bartana is an artist whose work sits at the vital edge of politics and the imagination. Her capacity to lift us out of our daily lives, while landing us firmly in the big questions of our time, has resonated throughout her work. In What if Women… she achieves one of the most essential feats for an artist today – she helps us rethink the future. MIF is delighted to have collaborated with European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017 on this resonant work." John McGrath, Artistic Director and CEO of Manchester International Festival.

What if Women Ruled the World? is a co-commission between Manchester International Festival and European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017.



Anja van der Hulst studied Educational Technology and received her PhD in Artificial Intelligence and Education from the University of Amsterdam. Since then, she has been active in developing and researching a series of Serious Games for safety and security at the Netherlands Research Organisation TNO. Her main interests are in developing concepts for good experiential learning with games and in conflict modelling for gaming, with a focus on political, economic and social/cultural factors in conflict. She is a lecturer in Game Studies at the University of Amsterdam.

Co-founder of the Pirate Party, Birgitta Jónsdóttir is an Icelandic politician, anarchist, poet, and activist. She was elected in 2013 as  a Member of the Althing for the Southwest Constituency, representing the Pirate Party. She stepped down from the Icelandic Parliament in 2017. In 2010, she co-edited Wikileaks’ Collateral Murder video which showed US soldiers in a helicopter opening fire and killing civilians and journalists in Baghdad.

Carina Ann Meyn is an Assistant Professor at the Royal Danish Defense College. Her research deals with the construction of national security strategy - particularly in the nuclear policy domain and the ‘nuclear priesthood’. For her PHD she interviewed the leading US policy makers and examined the weaknesses of limitations of classic nuclear theory which hasn’t been updated since the Cold War and is in fact very Dr Strangelove-ian. As of 2017, a new area of interest has been the construction of national cyber strategies and a broader focus on the relevance of strategy for the professional development of Danish staff officers. 

Lone Træholt is Denmark's first female general. On September 30, 2016 she was appointed Brigadier General and Chief of Tactical Staff of the Air Force. Over a distinguished career, Træholt has served in the Air Force, the Defense Command and NATO. When Træholt was appointed Lieutenant Colonel in 2000, she was the first woman in the post. 

In the European Parliament (2011-2014) Dr Tarja Cronberg worked as a Chair of Iran delegation and a member of the Committees for Foreign Affairs (AFET) and Security and Defence (SEDE). Dr Cronberg was a Spokesperson on Security and Defence for the Greens in the EP. She was also a substitute member of the Russia delegation and of the NATO delegation. Here are a few of Cronberg’s key issues she focusses on in her work: The European Idea The European Parliament should actively contribute to developing further EU's common security and defence policy (CSDP). European defence should be a common priority for the member states. Nuclear disarmament Disarmament process should include tactical nuclear weapons. Russian and NATO tactical nuclear weapons should be removed from Europe. Middle East and nuclear security I strongly support the idea of a nuclear free Middle East. I believe dialogue and effective diplomacy is key to resolving security issues in the region. 


Anja Dalgaard-Nielsen is Director of the Institute for Strategy at the Royal Danish Defence College and affiliated with Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation.
Previously she served as executive director in the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) with overall responsibility for i.a. strategic threat analysis, early preventive efforts, and protective security. Together with former ministers of justice, Lars Barfoed (K) and Morten Bødskov (S) she is a cofounder of the think tank Ret&Sikkerhed, which promotes evidence based and cross partisan debates about how to uphold national and societal safety, security, and rule of law in light of evolving risks and threats.
She holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University SAIS, an MA in political science from the University of Aarhus, and a MA of public management and governance from Copenhagen Business School. 

Dr Karin von Hippel became Director-General of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) on 30 November 2015. Karin von Hippel joined RUSI after serving for nearly six years in the US Department of State as a Senior Adviser in the Bureau of Counterterrorism, then as a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, and finally, as Chief of Staff to General John Allen, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter-ISIL. She has also worked for the United Nations and the European Union in Somalia and Kosovo, and has direct experience in over two dozen conflict zones.

Noura Bittar Søborg is a social entrepreneur and activist for ending violence against women. Born in Homs, she left Syria and moved to Denmark in 2011. She graduated from Damascus University and has a degree in Political Science – Diplomacy and International Relations. She is currently finishing her Master in Roskilde University in Social Entrepreneurship and Management. She represented Denmark in the European Youth Dialogue and is a volunteer in the Danish Red Cross working with refugees in Denmark and works with women asylum-seekers at Trampoline House. She was the keynote speaker at the Sexual Violence Research Initiative Forum 2015.

Dr Or (Ori) Rabinowitz is a tenure-tracked lecturer (assistant professor) at the International Relations department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research interests include nuclear proliferation, nuclear history, and Israeli-American relations.  Her book, ǮBargaining on Nuclear Testsǯ was published in April 2014 by Oxford University Press, and she has since published articles in International Security, Journal of Strategic Studies and the Bulletin of the atomic scientists. She holds a PhD degree awarded by the War Studies Department of Kingǯs College London, an MA degree in Security Studies and an LLB degree in Law, both from Tel-Aviv University. She is currently conducting a study on Israelǯs failure to establish civilian nuclear infrastructure, funded by the Israel Science Foundation.

Seida Saric was born in Southeast of Bosnia and Herzegovina. For more than four years, Seida lived under siege in Sarajevo, risking her life on a daily basis to provide emergency services to her fellow citizens trapped in the city. Without access to water or electricity and with the constant threat of attack, day-to-day living became minute-by-minute for Seida and the women of Sarajevo. Seida has served as the Country Director of Women for Women International's Bosnia and Herzegovina chapter since 1998. She has helped more than 29,000 women rebuild their lives after surviving rape, forced impregnation, and ethnic cleansing. As a practitioner in field development, Seida's leadership has been a monumental asset to Women for Women International. Under her oversight, the Bosnia and Herzegovina chapter has implemented a program of direct financial assistance, rights education, vocational skills training and leadership, and income-generation opportunities. Women in the program acquire skills and finances for individual growth, and benefit from cross-fertilization of ideas as various religions and ethnic groups come together. Seida oversees Women for Women International's largest and most successful micro-credit program, which has provided loans to over 27,000 women totaling over $50 million. 


Bana Gora has over twenty years of experience working in the charitable and not for profit sector such as domestic violence services in Keighley and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. She has been involved with social policy and community engagement on a local and national level and has worked directly with ethnically and religiously diverse communities, and marginalised groups. Bana is currently the CEO of the Muslim Women’s Council, an organisation established in 2009 to represent the views of Muslim women from across the UK. The Muslim Women’s Council plan to build the first women-led mosque in the UK.

Dr Beyza Unal is a research fellow with the International Security Department at Chatham House. She specializes in nuclear weapons policies and leads projects on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons. Dr Unal is also conducting research on cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection, with a particular focus on civil nuclear power plants. She formerly worked in the Strategic Analysis Branch at NATO Allied Command and Transformation, taught International Relations, transcribed interviews on Turkish political history, and served as an international election observer during the 2010 Iraqi parliamentary elections. She is interested in NATO’s defence and security policy as well as security in the Middle East.

Dr Unal has been given various fellowships for her achievements; foremost, she is a William J Fulbright Alumni. She has further received funding from the US Department of Energy to participate workshops in Brookhaven National Laboratory and James Martin Centre for Nonproliferation Studies, and Sandia National Laboratory.

Camilla Tenna Nørup Sørensen is a researcher in the Department for Strategy at the Danish Defence Academy. She specialises in international politics and foreign and security policy analysis with a particular focus on China as a great power actor and on security and military strategic developments in East Asia (Taiwan Strait, South and East China Sea, Korean Peninsula, China-Japan-US power relations) and the implications for Danish foreign, security and defense policy including in the Arctic and in relation to Greenland. 

Jelia Sané is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers specialised in human rights, refugee protection and international law. Jelia’s domestic practice is largely focused on representing asylum seekers and migrants in asylum, unlawful detention, deportation, and immigration bail proceedings. She has a strong interest in the legal responses to the EU refugee ‘crisis. She has advised on family reunification cases involving unaccompanied minors in the Calais ‘Jungle’ and undertaken pro bono legal work in refugee camps in Greece. Jelia previously worked as an international human rights and criminal lawyer for various international organisations and NGOs, including the International Criminal Court, the United Nations Assistance Mission to the Khmer Rouge Trials, the Centre for Justice and International Law in Argentina and the Political Prisoners Solidarity Committee in Colombia. She has advised on cases before the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights and the UN treaty monitoring bodies. 

Naila Bozo is the Editor of the Alliance for Kurdish Rights (www.kurdishrights.org), an independent digital initiative whose mission is to mobilize public opinion, collect information and disseminate knowledge about human rights abuses against the Kurdish people. She is also a Doctor of Medicine at Odense University Hospital in Denmark.

Actors: Samira Saraya, Alix Wilton Regan, Olwen Fourere, Jo Martin

23rd - 25th November, 19:30 - 21:30

Studio 1, Filmby Aarhus - BUY TICKETS

Young people and adults