Brandeis International Fellowships 2003-2004

Recasting Reconciliation through Culture and the Arts

Meet the Fellows

NOTE: To view the online versions of the Fellows' projects, visit the Virtual Resource Center

From Burundi, Rwanda and South Africa:
Nicholas Kotei Djanie and Lena Slachmuijlder promote reconciliation in divided communities through African drumming, music and song. Nicholas is a master drummer, dancer, teacher and performer; Lena is a musician and cultural facilitator and also an experienced radio and print journalist who directs ‘Studio Ijambo,’ a radio station affiliated with the organization Search for Common Ground in Burundi. In recent years, they both contributed to a four-day peace festival in Burundi, and have collaborated with the Rwandan National Olympic Ballet to create a dance-drama telling the story of the Rwandan genocide and the efforts underway towards reconciliation. They wrote: “We both believe, based on our experiences, in the creative and spiritual power of drumming, song and dance to transform individuals and communities, deal with trauma, and facilitate the process of reconciliation around the unity of rhythm.” In the next two years, they wish to document and think critically about their on-going work in Burundi, Rwanda and South Africa, particularly addressing questions about how participation in drumming, music, dance experiences and performances affect relationships, the development of trust, and personal and communal healing.

Working Paper by Lena Slachmuijlder: "The Rhythm of Reconciliation: A Reflection on Drumming as a Contribution to Reconciliation Processes in Burundi and South Africa"
(PDF - 27 pages/2.0MB)

Portfolio by Nicholas Kotei Djanie: "The Touch of the Drums" (PDF - 7 pages)

From Cambodia:
Ly Daravuth and Ingrid Muan, visual artists, art historians and curators. They wrote: “For the past five years, we have been working together on a series of art and research projects which culminate in exhibitions and publications. The institutional frame for our work is Reyum, the Institute of Arts and Culture that we established in downtown Phnom Penh in late 1998. In this storefront space, we offer images and texts that we hope open a modest public forum in which those who wish to participate can look, think, discuss, and create. By doing so, we feel that we contribute towards coexistence – if not reconciliation – in Cambodia. We would like to continue this work over the next two years, inspired and perhaps unsettled by discussions of the two Institutes.” Reyum also sponsors an Art School for disadvantaged children, who are encouraged to deal with their past and not simply forget it, and created an exhibition called ‘The Legacy of Absence’ in which artists were asked to consider how an artist could ‘talk’ about the Khmer Rouge Period. The exhibition “stimulated those who came to see it to talk, remember and then talk further.”

Portfolio by Ly Daravuth: "Where Is Reconciliation?"

Working paper by Ly Daravuth: "Notes on Pchum Ben" (PDF - 4 pages)

Working paper by Ingrid Muan: "The Goodness of Lives" - partial draft - (PDF - 8 pages)

From New Zealand:
Beverley Hosking and Jenny Hutt will explore the use of Playback Theatre ( PBT - a form of improvisational theater performed in 25 countries around the world) “to create the space for deep community dialogue involving the telling and receiving of difficult-to-tell and cannot-be-told stories.” Bev is an international PBT trainer, based in New Zealand, working also with social activists in India and in Fiji with a group of indigenous and Indian Fijians who are actively working toward reconciliation. Jenny, who has also performed and conducted in two PBT companies, will take the role of documentor in this team. She is a workplace educator, diversity trainer, writer and editor in Australia, where she now lives. Their documentation will focus on the Playback Theatre School in New Zealand, where Bev and her Maori counterpart find that “the combination of theatre, the telling of personal story and the ritual of the PBT form, together with the strength of traditional ‘tikanga Maori’ can create a powerful framework within which a strong and deep exploration of differences can occur.”

Working Paper: "Playback Theatre: A Creative Resource for Reconciliation"
(PDF - 42 pages/2.8MB)

From South Africa:
Kim Berman and Stompie Selibe will document a range of community outreach and development programs that use art processes as a medium for engaging social change in South Africa. The projects vary from education and training, income generating activities, AIDS awareness and responses to communities in trauma. Kim is a printmaker and educator who in 1991 founded the Artist Proof studio, a community-based Art Center for teaching printmaking skills to black artists who otherwise would not have had access to such opportunities for learning. Artist Proof became the home for some 80 artists to gather, and attend workshops and classes in printmaking, photo processes, bookmaking, papermaking and other techniques. Kim also initiated a paper-making project that is currently sustaining 230 rural women who earn an income from paper products made from the natural biological resources of their regions. Stompie works as an artist, musician and teacher, and is studying art and music therapy. He speaks seven African languages, and has led workshops with people from all walks of life in South Africa. He will work as the primary facilitator and interviewer in the team.

Working Paper: "Artist Proof Studio: A Journey of Reconciliation" (PDF - 31 pages/7.8MB)

From Sri Lanka:
Iffat Fatima and Lisa Kois are creating a documentary film entitled The “Road” to Peace, a “pro-peace and anti-war documentary film that focuses on the stories of people that give expression to the larger narratives of peace and war…It will look at the ways in which those affected by conflict have no choice but to remember, while exploring the ways in which they remember through storytelling, art, symbol and ritual. Both the process of undertaking the journey and the film itself are intended to stimulate dialogue within and between communities that have been separated by geographic, linguistic and ethnic differences, as well as to stimulate dialogue with and between parties to the conflict.” Lisa is a peacebuilding practitioner, legal researcher and writer. Iffat is a filmmaker and cultural researcher. Their work will include not only the production of the film but also documentation of and reflection upon how it will be received and interpreted by difference groups and communities and the substance of the discussions it provokes.