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PARTICIPATORY ARTS AND PEACEBUILDING: Embodying and Challenging Reconciliation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationParticipatory Arts for Invisible Communities
EditorsIrena Sertić
Place of PublicationZagreb, Croatia
ISBN (Electronic)9539511917
PublishedOct 2018


King's Authors


Art and arts-based projects are gaining increasing attention as an alternative to traditional peace-building mechanisms and the last decade has seen a more purposeful and strategic application of the arts into peace-building work (Shank and Schirch 2008). Focusing on the restorative and transformative potential of the arts to support conflict-affected communities to engage in dialogue, to heal the past and to re-build a future, this research examines the role of participatory arts in peace and reconciliation processes. How do community artists, arts organisers and community participants conceptualise and define their work and any relation it may, or may not, have to wider reconciliation and peace efforts?

Drawing on mapping research undertaken as part of the multi-disciplinary AHRC funded Art and Reconciliation project, this paper will discuss two long-term participatory arts initiatives with youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina and assess the contribution of participatory arts to peace and reconciliation processes. How do community based arts project challenge what it is that is imagined as ‘reconciliation’? Focusing on the emergent, open-ended and adaptive capacity of participatory arts to respond and listen to communities how do participatory arts projects build resilience and support the social healing of young people and communities affected by violence and conflict?

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