Understanding the Strategies of Art for Reconciliation: opening and closing sessions

/ Analysis

Art for Reconciliation Exchange Forum September 2020

Artists working in societies emerging from violence have produced work that reflects, represents and responds to the conditions of conflict in ways that encourage the development of peace. However, this work is funded and evaluated using methods that fail to capture adequately the complex and long-term contribution of the arts to reconciliation.The second Exchange Forum for the Art for Reconciliation project, held on-line in September 2020, explored the affordances of artistic strategies for peacebuilding, through a series of discussions with artists, participants and funders. This opening Roundtable Discussion, chaired by David Grant, Queen's University Belfast explores key findings from Phase 1 of the research with artists, partispants and funders. It is followed by the Closing Summaries of the day.

Returning Knowledge to Practice: Exploring the Specific Methods and Strategies of AfR Findings from Phase 1 of the research indicated that there is a lack of information and understanding as to how artistic methodologies fit into the broader project of societal reconciliation. Currently there is no cohesive strategy as to where art is best employed, and how disparate AfR projects cohere into a broader, long-term programme for change. Moreover, existing data on what funded projects get funded is patchy, evaluation data is limited and rarely reprised, and knowledge of what has worked best and what hasn’t is not widely disseminated across the sector. The first discussion deals with the issues of continuity and sustainability: how can we better support AfR practices? And how might be capitalise on the legacies of AfR projects?

Speakers:

Graeme Stevenson (Arts Council Northern Ireland), Eamonn Baker (Holywell Trust); Ken Bartley (ArtisAnn); Anne Walker (Theatre of Witness)

Summary Remarks of Panels (Alex Coupe) and Closing Remarks (Pete Shirlow)

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