Just back from presenting our Kosovo work at the Art, Peace and Conflict Conference at the Desmond Tutu Centre at Hope University in Liverpool, UK. People from around the world presented their work linked to arts, peace and conflict.
Our presentation, currently a working paper, covers our work in Kosovo spanning 1997 through the present. The work encompasses both community and grassroots-based fieldwork, as well as theoretical framing to illustrate how youth in specific communities, both rural and urban, processed their experiences during and after the protracted conflict and war whilst participating in arts programmes. The visual and performing arts projects were/are enacted across formal and non-formal venues such as refugee camps, community centres, museums, public schools, and cultural centres.
The paper discusses how the arts are utilised within four specific identity-based phases:
1. Existential-Conflict in medias res (≥ 1990s) - survival, basic psychosocial responses;
2. Processing and Healing (post-war July 1999) – transitions between trauma, uncertainty, nostalgia;
3. Freedom (immediate post-declaration of independence in February 2008) – dynamics in collective validation and esteem;
4. State building and community building (2008 and beyond) – transitions from euphoria to ambiguity and fear.
The entire event was uplifting, inspiring and a testimony to the power of the arts as a tool for healing and transformation. Stay tuned for more information and links to the individuals and organizations that presented over the 3-day event as well as to our final paper.
We will be using this space to comment and post projects, activities and conversations about our work.