Art as Tool for Conflict Prevention and Reconciliation
Brief summary of presentation of information made
- Talked about a variety of art programs sponsored by NGOs including Bond Street Theater group, UNICEF’s social media advocacy tactics, Barefoot Artists, and El Mueso del Barrio.
- Bond Street Theater – Speaker: Joanna Sherman, Artistic Director: Theater groups are an excellent way in creating dialogue on social injustice throughout the world. Bond Street Theater group goes to a number of places, including girl schools and prisons in Afghanistan where the voices and issues of women and girls are heard through theater. Issues are addressed, portrayed in acting, and discussed at the end of plays include child marriage, domestic violence, access to education, and gender inequality.
- UNICEF – Nicholas Ledner, Communication Officer: He shared the advocacy tactics in social media in the 21st century. UNICEF has organized a number of music videos addressing social injustice including child marriages. He discussed the organization tactics of music videos, social media outlets (snapchat, Instagram, YouTube), and the ways to successful address a message to the millennial generation. See below for YouTube links to music videos. When addressing an issue in a particular area, including the community is important. He used production companies nearest to filming areas and involved local actors and actresses. Involving the community provides a sense of ownership.
- Barefoot Artists – Lily Yeh, Founding Director: From the beginning works of north Philadelphia to the villages in Rwanda years later, Lily Yeh discussed the importance of the arts as a tool in rehabilitation and conflict prevention. She took former criminals in Philadelphia to come together on projects to beautify the city. She took these tactics around the globe. The projects not only brought communities together peacefully, but also resulted in different impacts including jobs and safe spaces.
- David Murdock, Emmy Winning Indie Filmmaker: David Murdock expressed the importance of trustworthy partnership with NGOs. They hold a powerful role in the quality of production. Collaboration for a documentary must collaborate with the specific community in all processes from the beginning. He provided a case study of a successful project documenting a Nigerian village with historical violence between the Muslim and Christian populations. The documentary brought both groups together in peace.
- El Mueso del Barrio – Carolina Alvarez-Mathies, Head of Communications: Carolina discussed the contemporary art program in El Salvador that provides tools in addressing issues of the country. The organization represents El Salvadorian artists who often are not trained, and showcase their work. Much of the content portrays interpretations of the growing gang bloodshed in El Salvador. The organization not only addresses the injustices, but provides an outlet for local artists and acts as a stepping stone into formal art education and opportunities.
What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?
- The Salvation Army is blessed with a variety of art ministries including music, brass band, praise and worship, and theater. This meeting proposes a number of interesting points for the Salvation Army to consider. How can TSA stretch its arts outside of the church audience and into the public? How can the arts combine social justice themes?
- The Salvation Army works in advocacy throughout the world. From the experiences of artists in this meeting, it’s valuable to look at current strategies and practices of TSA media outlets throughout the world. The Salvation Army has produced tremendous media works regarding social injustice. Are the processes of filming, writing, and producing involving the local people? Are they consulted throughout the process?
- The Salvation Army has an interesting task in communicating to today’s youth. How can messages and information be shared and understood to youth throughout the world? Is social media utilized in the Salvation Army? Is this a successful tactic for all youth?
- Art programs in developing /recently developed countries have tremendous potential for art programs. The Salvation Army has taken advantage of this. However, there’s room to grow. The arts are a great tactic TSA can use in binding communities, voices, and issues in harmony.
Web links for more information
Bond Street Theater
Music video sponsored by UNICEF addressing child marriages in Chad
Other videos can be found on the UNICEF youtube channel