This Cluster connects artists and researchers from countries across Africa, the Middle East and South Asia working with peacebuilding practices rooted in the arts.
In recent years, scholars, policy makers and practitioners have begun to acknowledge the benefits of using arts-based methods for violence prevention and peacebuilding. Evidence suggests that arts-based methods hold significant potential for improving human security and relations between groups in areas affected by violence and conflict. Arts-based methods, especially when combined with community-centred participatory methodologies, can act at once as analytical tools and dissemination media, whilst creating spaces for practical interventions in difficult contexts.
Despite the growing awareness of the positive impact of arts-based methods, there are scarce opportunities for communities of practice and research to learn from each other, co-create research and establish networks. Spatial and existential isolation can result from living with extremist violence and conflict, with debilitating but different consequences for women, men, youth and other social groups. The silence and seclusion, secrecy and loneliness that conflict zones engender have been linked with the presence of PTSD and other mental health conditions.
Whilst violence and conflict disrupt and often devastate communities, the shared experiences they generate can also be used to connect people. The Cluster aims to break isolation and achieve impact by connecting communities in Kenya, Lebanon and Sri Lanka affected by conflict and extreme violence, who are working to build positive peace. The grant will be invested almost exclusively in bringing together community activists, practitioners, artists, academics (including early career researchers and PhD students) and policy makers in three workshops that will focus on network- and capacity building through intensive research production, knowledge exchange and training sessions on the use of filmmaking, theatre, performance and visual arts as tools to confront violence and promote positive peace. Workshops will include substantial focus on the ways that arts-based approaches can enhance gender approaches to conflict research and peacebuilding.
© Fatima Hussain