‘When it comes to finding peace, no stone should be left unturned. Art and culture work from the street level up, and are often one of the only safe spaces where voices for alternative action can share their vision and build momentum for peaceful change. From the role music and the arts had in the struggle to end Apartheid, to the healing power of resistance theatre in Palestine, art and culture should never be underestimated as a driver of change’. 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu about the work of In Place of War led by Ruth Daniel


Ruth is an award winning cultural producer and social entrepreneur. Inspired by the transformative use of hip-hop in the drug cartels of Medellin, Colombia, when a young MC said: ‘If it wasn’t for hip-hop, I would be dead. Hip-hop gave me another option and I’m truly thankful for that.’ Ruth believes art has a capacity to make change in the toughest of contexts. 

Over the past 15 years, Ruth has worked to make change with creativity in the most marginalised communities across the world working in 24 countries. Ruth has taken an organisation routed in research around the impact of arts in conflict zones, to an organisation supporting grassroots change-makers in 24 countries to amplify their socio-economic impact. 

Ruth initiates new work, develops and implements In Place of War’s strategic vision and connects the organisation to stakeholders from community to global level. Ruth is passionate about the capacity of young people to make change and believes in equality and the representation and inclusion of the most marginalised people in order to make a better world for everyone.

Ruth has spoken at over 100 music and creative industry events in over 30 countries, including two TEDx talks.


A former musician most notably playing with The Fall along with many other bands, who started a Manchester based record label at the age of twenty, then subverted the music industry through pioneering a music movement, Un-Convention, which brought people in the music infrastructure together across the world, to build new models and way of working - focussing on music as culture, rather than music as commerce. Ruth took Un-Convention to 25 countries and produced over 80 editions of the event.

Ruth is now CEO and Artistic Director of In Place of War. In Place of War is a global organisation that uses creativity in places of conflict as a tool for positive change. We enable grassroots change-makers in music, theatre and across the arts to transform a culture of violence and suffering into hope, opportunity and freedom.

In Place of War began with research into the transformative impact of arts in places of conflict, led by world-leading academics. This kick-started the creation of a new network of young creative change-makers spanning 24 countries in conflict. Today In Place of War works to support this network across three pillars: the creation of creative hubs; education and entrepreneurship and artistic collaboration.

Ruth has pioneered the development of new creative hubs in a Congolese refugee camp; a prison in the war affected area of Uganda; with indigenous hip-hop artists in Uganda; on an island inhabited by single mothers in Lake Victoria; in Soweto, South Africa and in West Bank, Palestine. She has mobilised nearly 1,000 creative leaders across the world and was instrumental in creating In Place of War’s Creative and Social Entrepreneurial Programme, which has been delivered in thirteen countries across Africa and the Middle East. She has collected over £400,000 worth of music, studio, TV and film equipment to furnish new creative hubs.

Ruth is the founder and Creative Director of GRRRL, a bespoke electronic music collaboration between independent, revolutionary women artists from around the world, coming together to tell their collective stories of life, conflict, inequality and change through music. GRRRL was directed by Brazil’s Laima Leyton (Mixhell/Soulwax) and featured an eclectic mix of eight fierce influential artists from eight countries. After communicating and collaborating online for a month, the GRRRLs physically came together in the UK for 4 days to create a new body of work. GRRRL previewed to full capacity VIP audience at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club Bar, toured to Shambala Festival, Greenbelt Festival, Hull Freedom Festival and sold-out club shows in London and Manchester. GRRRL won the title of the best band at Shambala Festival voted for by the public and now goes on to tour the world.

Along with her work at In Place of War, Ruth is an Artistic Advisor on the Futures Venture: Radical Independent Arts Fund, which awards radical artists funding for new work. Ruth and the trustees have awarded eleven grants to a diverse range of radical artists based across the UK. She sits as a Trustee at Comma Press, a publishing house based in Manchester. Comma’s Mission is to put the short story at the heart of contemporary narrative culture. She is also a Trustee at her local community radio station in Levenshulme, All FM.

Ruth is also a Honorary Research Fellow at The University of Manchester.

Board membership

Featured Artist Coalition, UK

A Futures Venture, UK

All FM, Manchester

Comma Press, UK



JCI UK TOYP Award for Outstanding Young Person of the Year, 2017
SIM Sao Paulo Nomination for Innovation in Music, 2017
University of Manchester, Making a Difference Award, Widening Participation, 2017
Small Charity of the Year, North-West Charity Prize, 2017
Social Enterprise of The Year, UnLtd 2016
Pioneer of The Music Industry, Music Managers Forum Awards 2015
Guardian University Awards Finalist, 2015
Making It Happen Award, University of Manchester, 2015
Do It Social Enterprise Award, University of Manchester, 2015
The Pioneer Award, The Artist and Managers Award, UK, 2014
Manchester Woman of Culture finalist, 2013
Manchester Woman of Culture, 2012
THE Times Higher Education award for In Place of War, 2011
The Guardian Women to Watch (Cultural Leadership Programme), 2010
British Council Young Music Entrepreneur (shortlist), 2007 and 2010
Association of Independent Music (shortlist) – Music Entrepreneur of the Year, 2009
In Place of War – Queens Award (shortlist), 2009



In Place of War: www.inplaceofwar.net

Un-Convention: www.unconventionhub.org 

Futures Venture: www.futuresventure.org

Comma Press: www.commapress.co.uk

International Cultural Space Network NAFASI.JPG