There are many studies of violence within specific fields of the social sciences, but the next stage in our evolving understanding of violence may lie with interdisciplinary approaches. By traversing traditional academic categories, violence as a variable may become more visible in its multiple modes. It is through our ability to see the linkages between interpersonal, cultural, collective, political, state, interstate and structural violences that we can gain a better understanding of its persistence in human interactions. Researchers for this IDS Bulletin set out not only to understand contemporary dynamics of violence, but also to work with people trapped in violent places, spaces and histories who were willing to talk about and act upon their situation. Researching violence in an interactive way with those living in the thick of it posed many ethical, safety, epistemological and methodological challenges. These are documented in this IDS Bulletin alongside findings on the dimensions and impact of violence in different contexts.