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P06


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Arts for Peace in Sub-Saharan Africa 
Convenors:
Gordon Crawford (Coventry University)
Zainab Mai-Bornu (University of Leicester)
James Kewir Kiven (African Leadership Centre Trust, Nairobi, Kenya)
Stream:
Knowledge production
Format:
Panel
Sessions:
Friday 8 July, 11:00-11:40 (UTC+1)

Short Abstract:

The panel explores the impact of arts-based approaches and methods in conflict resolution and peacebuilding in Africa. The use of creative arts methods can include music, drama, dance, poetry, painting and collage-making, as well as participatory methods such as video, photovoice and storytelling.

Long Abstract

Arts-based approaches and methods offer spaces for creating peace and building trust among people in societies torn by conflict. Yet there is an important knowledge gap in comprehending the actual impact of arts-based approaches on peace efforts, especially in sub-Saharan African countries. The devastating impact of ongoing conflicts in, for instance, Cameroon, Nigeria and Central African Republic, and the failure of conventional approaches to effectively resolve them, make the understanding and potential up-scaling of arts-based approaches both important and necessary.

The use of creative arts methods can include music, drama, dance, poetry, painting and collage-making, and overlap with participatory methods such as video, photovoice and storytelling. Such methods have gained considerable traction in the practice of conflict resolution and peacebuilding (Bergh and Sloboda 2010, 1), with both academic researchers and NGO practitioners at the forefront of many arts-based peace initiatives (Almusaly 2017, 74). Yet, while there is growing recognition of their contribution, knowledge remains limited about the impact of arts-based approaches both in practice and in conducting research on peace processes in sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, there is a paucity of knowledge on the potential impact of local NGO and community-initiated art projects in charting the way for building peace and trust.

This panel seeks to bring together researchers and practitioners to further our understanding of the role played by arts-based approaches and methods in peace processes in sub-Saharan Africa, inclusive of challenges and limitations and ways to counter these. By sharing experiences, the panel also intends to build a network of researchers and practitioners to examine the role of creative arts in preserving or restoring peace in divided communities. It will therefore chart new directions for policy and inform the work of academic researchers and NGOs alike with the overall aim to improve the situation of people in communities torn by conflict.

Methodology:

The panel is paper-based, but with an interactive format rather than formal presentations. Prior to the conference, we will invite accepted paper givers to submit an outline of their contribution in an appropriate format that they select. This could be a maximum 10 minute video, podcast or audio recording, a slide presentation or poster, or something else entirely— as long as it can be shared online. The purpose of each submission is to set out the author(s)' thinking and share what is important about their work ahead of the conference. These submissions will be made available to all conference participants. During the conference, we will use the 40 minute panel sessions to hold interactive discussions. These will be organised along the lines of a Roundtable with a moderator (one of the convenors) who will pose questions on the topic and invite answers from 3 or 4 speakers. The pre-conference online submissions will help to inform these sessions, and maximise discussion that moves us forward collectively in relation to the central questions around the role and impact of arts-based approaches and methods in conflict resolution and peacebuilding in Africa.

Accepted papers: