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Brandeis University | International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life
Peacebuilding and the Arts: Exploring the contributions of arts and culture to peace
headshots of Armine Avetisyan and Toni Shapiro-Phim
April 2021

Dear friends of Brandeis’ Peacebuilding and the Arts Program and IMPACT global initiative,
We -- Armine Avetisyan and Toni Shapiro-Phim -- are pleased to welcome readers to this issue of our e-newsletter. As we prepared to hit the “send” button, Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd, broadcast around the world. It is a moment of some relief at a measure of accountability, and, still, much heaviness. Racial injustice and racist police violence are built into the fabric of the United States and many other countries and communities the world over.
Humanity has also been grappling with an ongoing global health crisis. Restrictions on movement and social interaction, economic insecurity and tragic loss have marked so many of our lives over the past months. This new reality continues to pose multiple challenges. Some artists and cultural workers have been enacting creative ways of being present for one another throughout the pandemic. Here we offer a collection of links to stories about arts that generate a space for mourning, help us attend to community, and celebrate hope. 
In addition, acknowledging the horrendous impact of the pandemic on rates of intimate partner violence worldwide, we highlight some innovative ways in which artists, organizations and governments are addressing this added crisis.
In March of 2021, the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life (the home of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts) at Brandeis University hosted an online event entitled, OneShared.World: Youth Activism, Community Engagement and the Reality of Global Interdependence. Our write-up introduces the young participants from diverse backgrounds who are intent on changing the world for the better.
To open the IMPACT-focused section of the newsletter, members of the Leadership Circle call our attention to artists whose work they admire. Confronting pressing social and political issues, these theater makers, photographers, filmmakers, basket weavers and dancers hail from Argentina, Israel, the Netherlands, Serbia, Turkey and the United States. Carmen Olaechea, then, shares her perspective on a paradigm shift concerning the relationship between sustainability and culture, in both English and Spanish, and Ellada Evangelou writes about the emerging partnership between IMPACT and The Festival Academy, a global community of more than 800 festival managers from 95 countries.
Our Upcoming Events and Resources and Announcements sections feature a call for translations of the short summary of a United Nations report on the devastating toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on culture and cultural rights, an invitation to listen to a new podcast series about the arts and peacebuilding, a link to a guide for artists facing persecution, and more.
We’re grateful for the time you spend perusing the stories and information included in the newsletter, and for your contributions toward more vibrant, just and peaceful communities. As always, we’d appreciate your feedback, and your news.
Do take care,
Armine (IMPACT Program Manager) and Toni (Assistant Director of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts)

One year of the pandemic: stories of artists and art
Compiled by Kyle Desrosiers, Tel Aviv University
graphic of a bird and the words Stop Covid-19 plus some Japanese words
A poster by Ministry of Health, Labor and Wellfare of Japan, distributed under a CC By 4.0 license
A Healing Spirit from 19th Century Japan is Back 
Atlas Obscura, Claire Voon
Amabie is the name of a nineteenth century Japanese mythological spirit associated with refuge from epidemics. Images of her are popping up across Japan and around the world, ranging from hand-drawn works from amatuer artists to amulets placed on storefronts to ward off illness. “It makes sense, then, that it has resurfaced during the global COVID-19 pandemic, only this time on social media. Illustrations of Amabie are circulating on Twitter and Instagram under the hashtags #amabie and #アマビエ; artists around the world are drawing and sharing Amabie in hopes of repelling disease, or at the very least honing their talents and finding community while social distancing.” 

A View From the Easel During Times of Quarantine
Hyperallergic, Elisa Wouk Almino
“This is the 196th installment of a series in which artists send in a photo and a description of their workspace. In light of COVID-19, we’ve asked participants to reflect on how the pandemic has impacted their studio space and/or if their work process has changed while quarantining. Want to take part? Please submit your studio! Just check out the submission guidelines.”
One Good Thing: An artist preserves Wuhan’s COVID memories 
Associated Press, Emily Wang Fujiyama, photos by Ng Han Guan 
Chinese artist Yang Qian worked as a volunteer delivering vital supplies to hospitals and residents during the city's 76-day pandemic lockdown last year. Now, she is using her art work to ensure that history is not forgotten. She uses dots of black ink to recreate a detailed aerial view of Wuhan, China. The work is painstakingly precise, where each dot honors individual residents of Wuhan who survived the pandemic. The work is an expression of their unity in pulling through the crisis, as well as unseen pain.
Joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony
After conducting its annual peacebuilding ceremony last year as a virtual event during the beginning of the pandemic, two joint Palestinian-Israeli NGOs, Combatants for Peace and the Parents Circle Families Forum, hosted the Joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony this April in Tel Aviv and Beit Jala. The hybrid event reached over 280,000 viewers throughout Israel, Palestine and the world. Here’s the full bilingual Arabic-Hebrew ceremony (with English sub-titles), with moving testimonies and calls for shared humanity by bereaved family members, former combat soldiers, along with musical performances and protest theatre. 
‘I paint for healing’: indigenous art in the time of COVID-19 
TVO, Jolene Banning
“Wanda Nanibush, an Anishinaabe curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario, says the pandemic has reinforced the importance of Indigenous art. ‘I think it’s interesting that everyone is at home and everyone is isolated, and they immediately turn to art,’ she says. ‘And I think that’s because art is a place we can get out of ourselves and beyond ourselves. Art has always been seen as part of healing. I wouldn’t say it can heal a pandemic — that’s impossible. That’s an actual physical thing. But it can heal some of the trauma of living through one.’”

Will the African Art Market’s Recent Rise Withstand COVID Shutdowns? Dealers Say There’s Reason for Hope 
Artnet News, Naomi Rea
“Valerie Kabov, the director of First Floor Gallery in Harare, puts her faith in the region’s long-running resilience in the face of adversity. ‘Galleries in most African countries operate in conditions that require flexibility and adaptability to unpredictable conditions and crises,’ she says. Plus, the ongoing global reckoning with the Black Lives Matter movement could also translate into more spaces being created for under-represented artists, she says, which would set a course for success long beyond the immediate concerns of the pandemic.”

Click for more art initiatives.

Countering intimate partner violence during the pandemic: some innovative approaches
people standing and talking with a bouqet of flowers between them
A performance of "Argue with Me" by Katrin Nenasheva. Image: Yevgeniy Zvezdoruk. Source: The Calvert Journal
By Toni Shapiro-Phim, Assistant Director, Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts

Many of the individual initiatives and art projects mentioned below were identified by students in Brandeis University’s Confronting Gender-Based Violence course: Lauren Formanski, Iku Tsujihiro, Joanna Xiong, Emma Xu and Carol Xu

Lockdowns the world over, meant to curb the spread of COVID-19, have resulted in a dramatic rise in intimate partner violence. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, calls this a “shadow pandemic,” impacting populations from Australia to Cyprus, Zimbabwe to Argentina, the United States to Singapore, and everywhere in between. Within a month of the World Health Organization’s declaration of a pandemic in March 2020, people working to combat intimate partner violence noted alarming trends: In some places, calls to organizations and hotlines rose astronomically; in others, many fewer requests or pleas for help came in than normal, most likely because individuals were trapped with their abusers and couldn’t reach out safely. Those who identify as women are most, though not solely, at risk to suffer gender-based violence (GBV). UN Women reports that one in three women worldwide has suffered gender-based violence, even before the pandemic. Intimate partner -- or domestic -- abuse (whether physical, emotional, financial or other) is a form of GBV, inflicted by a current or former intimate partner or spouse, most often at home, away from the public eye. Research shows that intimate partner violence increases during times and situations of crisis. International, national and local efforts to counter the 2020/2021 surge of intimate partner violence include remarkably creative initiatives. A United Nations Population Fund partnership with the Thimphu City Bus Services in Bhutan, for example, trains bus conductors and drivers, as well as taxi drivers, “to carry out advocacy on … GBV prevention in public transport services.” The program was instituted after Bhutan’s queen, Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck, expressed alarm at “the number of domestic violence and abuse cases reported during the first COVID-19 lockdown in August 2020.”

With food markets and pharmacies being kept open when many other businesses have been shut down, a program in France places pop-up counseling centers in grocery stores for those experiencing intimate partner violence while another, started in Spain’s Canary Islands by the Institute for Equality, “Mascarilla-19 (Mask-19),” offers people the option to ask for a Mask-19 in a pharmacy. This is a code signaling an appeal for help. The pharmacist then connects the person to support services. And in Japan, the government made it possible for individuals to pick up their personal pandemic-related government-issued checks, meant to alleviate economic hardship, rather than have them mailed to their homes, if their partners would block their access to their own money. However, applicants were required to show proof that they already had moved out of the home where the abuse was happening.  

These and other initiatives, including the myriad digital apps that have been developed or re-worked to assist those trapped in dangerous circumstances, also involve risks to the individuals reaching out for help, no matter what mitigation steps are taken by program coordinators or other participants. The crisis calls for diligence in understanding the layered complexity of the violence, and of possible responses.
Artists, too, have been addressing the current emergency, by increasing public knowledge, and attempting to shift attitudes and behavior. Senegalese visual artist Diart presented an exhibition of paintings at House of Urban Culture in Dakar to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25). Each piece is based on her personal experience of intimate partner violence. In a statement, she declares it her “duty to raise awareness” through her paintings, “and to denounce,” while also aiming to de-stigmatize women’s sharing of their experiences of intimate partner violence.
OneShared.World: Youth Activism, Community Engagement and the Reality of Global Interdependence
headshot of DeBorah Ault
DeBorah Ault, one of the
featured presenters
By Toni Shapiro-Phim, Assistant Director, Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts

In March of 2021, the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life (the home of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts) at Brandeis University hosted an online event exploring the OneShared.World approach to constructive change in the world and, in particular, the role that young people are playing to advance initiatives that embrace the interconnectedness of all inhabitants of our planet, and the need to collaborate on the complex challenges confronting us. Individuals from diverse backgrounds and countries shared their experiences of activism related to some of the most critical issues of our time, discussing what spurred them into action, who inspired them, the kinds of obstacles they face and meaningful moments in their journey. Participants included:

Students DeBorah Ault (Brandeis ‘21) and Sonali Anderson (Brandeis ‘21), co-authors of Brandeis University’s Black Action Plan, conceived in response to racial injustice;

Anna Khandros (Brandeis ‘11), originally from the Ukraine, and now Program Manager for an educational initiative of Catholic Relief Services in Erbil, Iraq;

Jonathan Goldman (Brandeis ‘19), founder and Executive Director of Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice;

Jéssica Rivas, General Manager and Strategy Developer, and Gabriel Torres Sierra, Operations Manager, Más Compost, Menos Basura (More Compost, Less Waste) in Bogotá, Colombia;

Sandi Gendi, originally from Egypt and now living in Canada, Director of Global Leadership at OneShared.World; and

Shagun Sethi, of India, Director of Global Leadership at OneShared.World.

The stories of each of them were captured in filmed interviews, conducted and edited by Rasheed Peters (Brandeis ‘20), whose short movie, Young People Making Change in the World, formed the centerpiece of the online event. Rasheed shares that, through speaking with the interviewees, as a filmmaker and storyteller already deeply engaged with social justice work, “the thing that re-emerged for me was the concept of interconnectedness. In one of the interviews, one of the participants spoke about how amazing it is that whenever she gets on a call and says Good Morning, there’s at least one other person saying Good Night. That comment reminded me of the importance of interconnectedness in my work as a filmmaker and overall, as a storyteller. The potential that my work has to impact people all over the world was confirmed and at the same time, challenged. How can the stories that I choose to amplify not only push the needle locally but be contributory to the global movements that are always underway?”  

Jamie Metzl, founder of OneShared.World, has explained that “if this terrible pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that we are all deeply connected. And though there are some people who are calling for the building of walls to protect people…, we realize that we are all one humanity, sharing this same planet. And if we don’t come together to solve these kinds of big, global problems, then we’ll get what we have had which is everybody, every country, suffering on its own.” Jamie opened the session by introducing us to this platform for shared understandings and action. OneShared.World invites everyone to learn more and sign the Pledge of Interdependence. Check out another recent OneShared.World event, hosted by the Asia Society: “Women as Agents of Change in an Interdependent World.”

A link to the film, Young People Making Change in the World, by Rasheed Peters, will be included in the July issue of our newsletter. Contact Toni Shapiro-Phim beforehand for earlier access.

IMPACT logo: IMPACT Imaginging Together Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation
Spotlight on selected artists by IMPACT Leadership Circle members
We invited IMPACT (Imagining Together Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation) Leadership Circle members to introduce us to some of the artists whose work they admire.
actors depicting a holdup
“Minefield”  Performance (2016), Photo courtesy of the artist
Carmen Olaechea writes about Lola Arias: 
Lola Arias (Argentina, 1976) is a writer and theatre and film director. She is a multifaceted artist whose work brings together people from different backgrounds (war veterans, former communists, migrant children, etc.) in theatre, film, literature, music and visual art projects. Minefield (2016), one of Lola’s initiatives, reunites Argentine and British veterans from the Falklands/Malvinas war to explore what is left of it in their heads 34 years later. Minefield looks into the marks left by war, the relationship between experience and fiction and the thousand ways of representing memory. Also, watch two interviews with Lola produced by the British Council and Berlinale - Berlin International Film Festival, to learn more.

person baking and holding a rolling pin like a microphone
Serijal QueerRespirator, on the photo Zoe Gudović. Photo by Branko Starčević
Dijana Milošević writes about Zoe Gudović:
Zoe Gudović (Serbia) was born in Belgrade in 1977, where she lived with her large family, six of them in the space of only 36 square meters. This fact explains why she finds important the issues of body and space, sexuality, intimacy, publicity. But the most crucial of all issues in her work is the issue of violence and love. In the range of her identities, as a feminist, lesbian, art activist, and of professional modalities of cultural manager, producer and organizer, what attracts her most and where she always finds herself is the struggle for social justice. Zoe has been studying, consuming, tasting and performing engaged art for the last 20 years. Since 1999 she has worked actively on making feminist performance art visible, from co-founding the Feminist Theatre to sharing theatre practices with others. Since 2001 she has held theatre workshops and has been making connections between women artists and women activists, under the title “Women’s Movement – Women’s Theatre – Women’s Body,” inviting various artists from around the world to work with the women from Serbia. Zoe has organized numerous campaigns for the visibility of the LGBT community, women’s human rights, and people from the margins. She is an Official Advisor with the Global Fund for Women (USA) and an advisor of the Mama Cash Foundation (Netherlands). In other fields, Zoe has hosted the feminist radio show Ženergija, co-founded the women’s music band Charming Princess and performed as a drag king. For the last three years she has lectured on issues of feminist art in public spaces at the Women’s Studies section of the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade. One of her current projects is Toilet Art, where she transforms the space of a public toilet into a living room, where she shares stories with her visitors.

woman sitting on couch covering her face and holding a photo on her lap
Tigranuhi Asatryan, a survivor of the Armenian genocide of 1915. Photo by Erhan Arık
Armine Avetisyan writes about Erhan Arık: 
Erhan Arik is a documentary photographer and multimedia artist, born in Ardahan, in Eastern Turkey, on the border with Armenia. He currently lives and works in Istanbul.  His journey to Armenia and curiosity to explore the stories of people who once lived in his birthplace started with a dream.  "I had a dream. I’m in the house in Ardahan where I was born, a house ‘inherited’ from Armenians. And I’m in the part of the house we use as a barn. The voice in my dream is challenging me about this squandered wing of the house: 'Why is this room so dirty? Why is this stone hearth where we once baked our bread now used as part of the barn?' And I woke with a start, haunted by this and many more questions I now don't remember. The sun wasn't up yet when I set off towards that room in the barn. I opened the door, walked straight to the hearth, touched the stone and fell silent…” Following the dream, Erhan toured the villages on either side of the Turkish-Armenian border and listened to the stories, with the aim “to rediscover the essence and spirit of Anatolia, to revive the memory we are letting slip by the day..." Watch one of the short videos – Remembering – produced during that journey. Erhan continued visiting and documenting the stories of different Armenian communities in the Middle East - the first “station” where the survivors of the 1915  genocide found refuge. Explore more stories and photos from his travels.

two woven baskets
“Why We Dance” by Shan Goshorn. Photo courtesy of Shan Goshorn Studio
Polly Walker writes about Shan Goshorn: 
Shan Goshorn, Cherokee artist (now deceased), created an exhibition of Cherokee woven baskets depicting the cultural genocide of settler colonialism in the United States. 

graphic of woman lying under a blanket with paper airplanes attached to it with strings and a real woman lying on her side underneath the image
Palestinian performance and video artists Raida Adon, performing during a Jaffa Theatre protest evening. 
Lee Perlman writes about Jaffa Theatre:
Throughout the pandemic, a remarkable example of artistic and social solidarity has been displayed by the Jaffa Theatre – A Stage for Arab-Hebrew Culture, where, since 1999, Jewish and Palestinian artists have worked together. Under the banner of No Life without Culture the Jaffa Theatre has curated outdoor evening protests where audiences join Palestinian and Jewish poets, actors, playwrights, choreographers, dancers and peace activists to celebrate cultural diversity and freedom of expression.
person in a suit looking at the camera with one hand under chin
Profile picture of Jean Appolon
Emily Forsyth Queen writes about Jean Appolon:
Jean Appolon is a dancer and the Director of Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE), a contemporary dance company deeply rooted in Haitian-folkloric culture that nurtures a global community through professional performances, educational opportunities, dance training, and the joy of movement for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. It's admirable how this group builds and sustains connections between Haiti, those in the Haitian diaspora, and beyond. They’ve continued finding creative ways to offer classes throughout the pandemic, including a Haitian Folkloric workout which is taught entirely in Haitian Kreyòl.

woman smiling in a field
Profile picture of Anneloes van Schuppen. Photo courtesy of Rotterdams Wijktheater
Jasmina Ibrahimovic writes about Anneloes van Schuppen:
Anneloes van Schuppen is a choreographer and community artist at The Rotterdams Wijktheater (Rotterdam Community-based Theatre). She is working on her final performance for the dance academy at the moment: a performance about the physicality of ritual and religion, about wrestling with God and total surrender. She works with a group of six local people, all from different religious backgrounds. They did not know each other before and most of them had no dance experience. The way that Anneloes managed to create a safe and brave space for this group during COVID, and mostly via ZOOM, is extraordinary.

Thoughts on Sustainability and Culture
drawing of hands around the earth
“Hands” by Georg Engeli.
Photo courtesy of the author. 
by Carmen Olaechea, IMPACT Leadership Circle member, based in Argentina

To be one of us
We: humanity, humankind, human species, human race, Homo sapiens, 7.5 billion people on Earth. We: this irresistible species that has been moving on this Planet creating consciousness, spirituality, languages, culture, art, philosophy, science, technology. What might there possibly be about us that is not worthy to be admired and loved? We: this horrible species that has been moving across this Planet spreading death, war, slavery, torture, greediness, abuse, indifference. What might there possibly be about us that doesn’t deserve to be feared and hated? All and everything. To be one of us, like it or not, means accepting that we all together are the total manifestation of what our species was, is and can be. 
And above all, we: this extraordinary species that has developed two abilities which constitute the backbone of our power to evolve and be transformed collectively. First, the ability to be the doers and – simultaneously – the observers of our own doing. Indeed, we are the main characters and the audience of our evolution, and from both perspectives we take part in and influence it. Second, the ability to elaborate together narratives, to create and tell stories that have the power to unite us in a shared direction with new questions, beliefs, searches, understandings and actions. Narratives that guide us in our collective evolutionary processes.
How exciting it is to be one of us at the beginning of the 21st century, a time where these two abilities are in full motion as it always happens when we are experiencing a paradigm shift. We are the ones who have to cross the time between paradigms; this time when the old – vanishing with resistance – and the new – emerging scattered and fragmented – coexist. We belong to the generation that has the chance to live through the exceptionally creative and challenging process that humans experience during our collective transformations. 
We are like them – we are unique
We are not different from any other human generation that has undergone a paradigm shift and like all of them, we started by observing ourselves and the world in a different way. In our case this process has been going on for the last century and a half, and with that we have begun the transition from one paradigm to the other. From culture, spirituality, science or politics, from our pride and our shame, we have been looking for new questions and answers, and we have started walking the next step in a cultural evolution. As a result, we have been giving birth to new fields of knowledge, new powerful understandings and previously unknown viewpoints, and we have been profoundly transforming our very way of interpreting reality.
Quantum physics, psychology, sociology, ecology, semiotics, autopoiesis, the unconscious, systems thinking, the Earth seen from outside and the virtual world – just to name some – are at once the cause and the effect of our current ongoing transformation. These new understandings, by themselves and intertwined, have been transforming us by providing a new range of perspectives and possibilities that enrich our knowledge, strengthen our power of transformation, and add new challenges for the comprehensive observation of phenomena and the realization of collective actions. 
And yet, we are probably a singularity in the history of paradigm shifts; indeed we are totally different from all previous human generations that have experienced one. There are many unprecedented traits that make our present collective transformation a unique one, and also an extreme and poignant one. Here are four of them:
The first is that we are now aware of the very fact that we evolve through paradigm shifts. We are the first generation that has been, for decades, consciously observing and understanding how we transform collectively. Hence we can relate with the process in a different way.
The second is that we can no longer expect science and academia to be the only legitimate source of new knowledge and understandings. In the last 30 years, the production of knowledge has escaped from any established container; it has no exclusive creators and owners; it grows doubling itself every year; it arises from immeasurable sources of varying degrees of reliability; and, although it has become totally accessible, it has also become almost impossible to capture, digest, evaluate, differentiate and intertwine. We are the first human generation that has an exponential ability to produce knowledge and, at the same time, the first one that cannot handle it and has learned to doubt the certainties offered by the knowledge at hand.
The third trait is a new sense of belonging to Life itself even bigger that the one we had before towards our species. Since the moment we looked at ourselves from outside the Earth, millions of us started feeling that our Planet is in fact one sole living organism, and that we are an interdependent part of it. This new perception has been growing and expressing itself in thousands of ways. A pivotal one is the increasing understanding that we are one of the most dangerous parts of the system.
And the last one is urgency because the degradation we have imposed on the Planet threatens two essential aspects of life: diversity and complexity, and thus we are putting at risk the existence of millions of living beings, including us. This urgency changes everything in our process of collective transformation, for it brings time into the equation: something that was never such a massive defining issue before. By now we know, in our mind, body and souls that we are in danger, that there is no “other place” to go, that we need to change, and that we are on the verge of losing the chance to do it in time.

Read the full essay in English.

Read the full essay in Spanish

Pensamientos sobre Sustentabilidad y Cultura
drawing of hands around the earth
por Carmen Olaechea, miembro del Leadership Circle de IMPACT 

Ser uno de nosotros

Nosotros: humanos, humanidad, especie humana, raza humana, Homo sapiens, 7.500 millones de personas en la Tierra. Nosotros: esta especie irresistible que se ha estado moviendo por el Planeta creando conciencia, espiritualidad, idiomas, cultura, arte, filosofía, ciencia, tecnología. ¿Qué puede haber en nosotros que no sea digno de ser admirado y amado? Nosotros: esta horrible especie que se ha estado moviendo por el Planeta esparciendo muerte, guerra, esclavitud, tortura, codicia, abuso, indiferencia. ¿Qué puede haber en nosotros que no merezca ser temido y odiado? Todo y todo. Ser uno de nosotros, nos guste o no, significa aceptar que todos juntos somos la manifestación total de lo que nuestra especie fue, es y puede ser.
Y, sobre todo nosotros: esta extraordinaria especie que ha desarrollado dos habilidades que constituyen la columna vertebral de nuestro poder para evolucionar y transformarnos colectivamente. Primero, la capacidad de ser los hacedores y, simultáneamente, los observadores de nuestro propio hacer. De hecho, somos los protagonistas y el público de nuestra evolución, y desde ambas perspectivas participamos e influimos en ella. En segundo lugar, la capacidad de elaborar juntos narrativas, de crear y contar historias que tienen el poder de unirnos en una dirección compartida con nuevas preguntas, creencias, búsquedas, entendimientos y acciones. Narrativas que nos guían en nuestros procesos evolutivos colectivos.
Qué emocionante es ser uno de nosotros a principios del siglo XXI, una época en la que estas dos habilidades están en pleno movimiento, como siempre sucede cuando estamos viviendo un cambio de paradigma. Somos nosotros los que tenemos que cruzar el tiempo entre paradigmas; este tiempo en el que coexisten lo viejo, que se desvanece con resistencia y lo nuevo, que emerge disperso y fragmentado. Pertenecemos a la generación que tiene la oportunidad de vivir el excepcionalmente creativo y desafiante proceso que experimentamos los humanos durante nuestras transformaciones colectivas.

Lea el ensayo conpleto

A Beginning Collaboration with The Festival Academy
Zoom screen with four participants
Ellada Evangelou and Dijana Milošević speaking at The Academy’s virtual Atelier. Photo courtesy of The Festival Academy
by Ellada EvangelouIMPACT Leadership Circle member, based in Cyprus

Inaugurating a new dialogue is an exciting and substantial process, especially when it takes place between entities with aligned ethical and organizational goals: to bring together practitioners from around the world, to support their artistic processes and to enable them to exchange views and opinions, creating an environment of growth and nurturing. Such is the discussion that has started between IMPACT and The Festival Academy, with the participation of Dijana Milošević and Ellada Evangelou (IMPACT) in the Academy’s Atelier entitled, - the arts, the artist and the audience. The Atelier is a meeting of arts festival practitioners from around the world, a 5-day training during which the group asks why we are doing what we are doing, for whom and with whom. It also addresses ‘how’ we do things, which relates more to the production side of a festival or art event. 
The Academy had selected 26 arts and production managers from Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Jordan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Morocco, Palestine, Serbia, Tunisia and Turkey, to take part in this unique training programme. 
IMPACT’s Dijana Milošević and Ellada Evangelou, both of whom are festival organizers with the Dah Teater (Belgrade, Sebia) and Buffer Fringe Performing Arts Festival (Nicosia, Cyprus) respectively, were invited as speakers in a peer-to-peer learning process, with colleagues working in different contexts and disciplines. This allowed for the sharing of information about IMPACT, as well as personal experiences of organizing festivals in post-conflict spaces, with the added stress of the COVID pandemic, and allowed for mutual learning and exchange, during in-depth discussions about the topics that concerned participants. 

IMPACT logo: IMPACT Imaginging Together Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation
Upcoming Events
drawing of sneakered feet sticking up against a window and medical caduceus symbols on the windows and trees, perhaps, outside the windows
"View from the Ambulance" (2018) by Dylan Mortimer.
Photo courtesy of the artist.
Spencer Museum of Art Exhibitions Investigate Healing, Illness, and the Human Body Amid a Pandemic
"Healing, Knowing, Seeing the Body" and "The Aorta of an Archivist" explore our understanding of the human body and related themes of health, care, and connection. On view through May 16.

REBIRTH exhibition
The exhibition presenting the 219 artworks returned, after a period of 46 years, by the Turkish Cypriot to the Greek Cypriot Community, as part of the agreed-upon confidence-building measures, opens at the State Gallery of Contemporary Art – SPEL in Nicosia, Cyprus, on Tuesday, June 16.

Resources and Announcements
screenshot of artwork with the quote To give a name to the challenges ahead, to use art as a force for change, to inspire and connect through the unexpected - that's why we exist
Community Arts Network of Porticus Foundation launches its new website
“Co-created by visionaries who believe that the powerful transformative qualities of arts can be used for social impact, CAN is a platform that aims to enable, engage and empower individuals, organizations and communities through arts and unlikely alliances in order to generate meaningful change to shape a more humane future together.” Join Community Arts Network on the new website!

A Call for Translations of a Summary of a United Nations Cultural Rights Report
In early 2021, the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) produced a report on the devastating toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on culture and cultural rights. Indeed, the report identifies the pandemic as a “foundational challenge to all human rights.” Below is the report’s summary.
“COVID-19, culture and cultural rights Report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Karima Bennoune”
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is a cataclysm for cultural rights, threatening a global “cultural catastrophe” with severe, long-lasting consequences for human rights if effective action is not taken immediately. In the present report, the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights surveys the negative impacts of COVID-19 on culture and cultural rights worldwide, and the positive potential of culture and cultural rights, and the right to science, to enhance rights-respecting solutions and build resilience. The report also contains relevant recommendations for action.
In March of this year, the Special Rapporteur spoke about the report during a webinar. At the end of the presentation, she invited listeners, who had asked how they could help, to contribute translations of the report’s one-paragraph summary. The translators at the United Nations are preparing the official versions of the summary in the five other UN languages (French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese). We’re sharing a call for translations of it in additional languages. The OHCHR will make sure to have them published on their website for the benefit of all. If you are interested in providing a translation, please send a note to Toni Shapiro-Phim by May 7.

You can read the full report on the impact of COVID-19 on cultural rights and learn more about the role of cultural rights in various global crises on the page dedicated to this issue.

New podcast series about creative peacebuilding
All the episodes of the “Unspeakable Depths” podcast offer insights into extraordinary efforts at the nexus of creativity and peacebuilding. Episode 2 features an interview with Cyprus-based Dr. Ellada Evangelou, artistic director of the Buffer Fringe Performing Arts Festival and a member of IMPACT’s Leadership Circle. Erin Villaronga Mulligan, the creator of this podcast series, spoke with Dr. Evangelou in March, 2021. Listen to Dr. Evangelou’s stories about her theater and other artistic work for conflict transformation in Cyprus and beyond. In the other episodes we hear from Ketty Anyeko of Uganda, currently a Ph.D candidate in Canada, whose work has focused on gender, transitional justice and peacebuilding, and Kim Berman, professor of visual arts and co-founder of a community arts center in South Africa. Mulligan provides links to transcripts of the interviews, as well as to additional related resources.

Speaking of Empathy: a conversation about empathy and Community, Art & Science
International Community Arts Festival (ICAF) held its first virtual festival MINI ICAF in February 2021. Tim Prentki and Salvo Pitruzzella facilitated a virtual conversation on empathy, art and community with a diverse international group. Watch the recorded Zoom conversation in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2.

Follow ICAF’s Eugene var Erven’s blog on empathy: 
Empathy and Community Arts (1): Intro & notes on The Empathic Brain
Empathy and Community Arts (2): notes on The War for Kindness 

book cover that says
“Tusitala Publishing is delighted to announce the publication of PERSONAL STORIES IN PUBLIC SPACES: Essays on Playback Theatre, by Jonathan Fox and Jo Salas. Covering a body of work that spans almost five decades and locations from war zones to great cities, this anthology takes the reader on a journey from the earliest days of Playback Theatre to the present day, and includes several essays written specifically for this collection. AVAILABLE NOW at,,, and Ingram. Ebook available at Amazon. Please note: for Tusitala orders from outside the US please contact for correct postage amount.
Colleges, libraries, and bookstores: please order from Ingram.”

Artsakh: Cultural Heritage Under Threat
The February 28 “Sunday Edition” of Hyperallergic explores the realities facing the monuments, churches, and landmarks currently threatened in post-war Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), while considering the complexities that are often overlooked in such contested areas of the world.

Change the Story / Change the World (Bill Cleveland’s podcast series): Bob Leonard/Episode 22
Bob Leonard's story is a crisscross of dialogue and music, lights and dancing, serendipity and surprise. It is bound up with the layers of people and narratives that form the creative community fabric he’s fostered and served through his work In the theater of change.

The Ann Snitow Prize
“Organized by friends and admirers of Ann Barr Snitow (1943–2019), a much-loved feminist writer, political activist, teacher, and co-instigator of groundbreaking feminist organizations, the Prize is an award of $10,000 to a person of extraordinary vision, originality, generosity, and accomplishment who is currently engaged in work that combines feminist intellectual and/or artistic pursuits with social justice activism. Nominations will close on June 15, and the Prize will be awarded in December 2021.”

A Handbook for Artists Facing Persecution
PEN America has released a critical guide for artists at risk, created with input from persecuted creators around the world.

screenshot of artwork with the quote To give a name to the challenges ahead, to use art as a force for change, to inspire and connect through the unexpected - that's why we exist

Community Arts Network launches a new website

United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissoner logo
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The Ann Snitow Prize
Nominate someone by June 15!

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Playback Theatre

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