Understanding the Strategies of Art for Reconciliation: Breakout Session 1

/ Analysis

The second Exchange Forum for the Art for Reconciliation project, held on line of 15 September 2020, explored the affordances of artistic strategies for peacebuilding. This breakout session, chaired by Alex Coupe, University of Liverpool, explores the complex ways audiences or participants appropriate the lived experience of engaging with AfR projects.

=== Developmental Capacities: Audiences and Participants (Chair: Alex Coupe, University of Liverpool)

So much of our understanding of AfR practices comes from reporting or analysis of ‘outcomes’. All data collection, whether qualitative or quantitative, is made to fit these pre-ordained outcomes. Those transformations that take place at the margins of a project, or beyond the life span of a specific programme, are liable to be missed. Moreover, there is little space for the process of trial-and-error that is central to definitions of artistic creativity and those meaningful failures that are essential to refining the strategies of socially engaged art. We are left with only a partial understanding of the complex ways audiences or participants appropriate the lived experience of engaging with AfR projects. How might we provide spaces for audiences and non-professional participants to talk about the longer-term impacts, including small changes that have occurred?

Speakers: Anne Walker (Theatre of Witness Participant); Robin Young (Theatre of Witness Participant); Ciara McHugh and Brenda McHugh (Audience members from Queer Céilí); Maggie Cronin (Actress, writer, director).

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