Peace Arena – Arts and Peacebuilding

Peace Arena – Arts and Peacebuilding

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USIP Summer 2015
By Katherine Wood

In each Newsletter, the Peace Arena offers a space for discussion between scholars and practitioners as they comment on a selected quote. This Summer we feature an exchange between:  Dr. Arthur Romano, Assistant Professor, School for Conflict Resolution and Analysis, George Mason University, and Savina Sirik, Director, Museum of Memory at the Sleuk Rith Institute of the Documentation Center of Cambodia. The selected quote comes from Dr. Michael Shank, Director of Media Strategy at Climate Nexus, and Dr. Lisa Schirch, Director of Human Security at the Alliance for Peacebuilding, who wrote the following in the article “Strategic Arts-Based Peacebuilding,” published in Peace & Change in April 2008:

 “Art is a tool that can communicate and transform the way people think and act. Arts can change the dynamics in intractable interpersonal, intercommunal, national, and global conflicts.”

Dr. Arthur Romano:

Michael Shank and Lisa Schirch highlight the potential of artistic processes to impact change within larger peacebuilding efforts. Art and peacebuilding often share a vital similarity—the desire to creatively engage with conflict. That engagement generates a central tension for both the peacebuilder and artist, as their vision or aesthetic sense of what they wish to make real in the world meets the limits of existing processes, existential realities and social arrangements.

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