Updates from Small Grant Recipients
Updates from the Recipients of Small Grants for Course Development in Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict
The Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts provided small grants designed to provide support to five college and university educators as well as trainers of theater practitioners to support the incorporation of the resources of the Acting Together Project into their course curricula and workshop sessions.
Walungwa Bitela Christian, Association pour la Solidarite des Enfants Demuni/ ASED (Solidarity Association for Underprivileged Children/ ASED)
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Jessica Charest, Humanities and Social Science Department Faculty, Oglala Lakota College
South Dakota, USA
Update: Jessica Charest integrated the documentary into her Introduction to Literature course. The students responded strongly and had an engaged discussion how to incorporate theater in their Native American community as a way of addressing social problems. In a following class, a guest student playwright shared the work he had performed at a prior American Indian Higher Education (AIHEC) Conference, as an example of practical applications of these techniques in their own community and even opportunities for the students to get involved. Jessica also plans to introduce the resources to the students in her Creative Writing coures in the drama portion of the curriculum.
Update: “Mandala Theatre, together with the National Network of Families of Disappeared and Missing Nepal (NEFAD), hosted an arts event on the 30th of August, which is the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances. During the ten year long civil war in Nepal, more than 1300 people were forcibly disappeared.... [the] vibrant event supported individuals and families affected by disappearance to raise their voice against enforced disappearance... [and] featured arts installations, a poetry performance, an exhibition and a Playback Theatre Show. It was intended as an event to show and spread solidarity and empathy for victims of enforced disappearance and their families, as well as an opportunity for them to share their stories and advocate for their rights. As part of this event, spectators were able to contribute messages to a tree of solidarity.... In preparation for this event, the Acting Together resources helped and inspired us very much! Thank you!...” Read Mandala Theatre's entire update report.
In October/November 2015, Mandala Theatre organized the Creative Camp for Peace Building with support from the Civil Peace Service/GIZ. "It was held for ten days... and invited 30 artists from all across Nepal representing different theatre-groups and freelancers... After the workshop the artists came together as part of Nepal’s Forum Theatre Network to practice further relevant methods, to review and discuss the network’s past and future engagement and actions towards supporting conflict transformation, dialogue and peace building through theatre and arts. Discussions and practices were also supported by the Acting Together Project... The literary resources and film materials made available for the Camp’s participants stimulated deep discussion and inspiration regarding artists’ role in social transformation and the creation of aesthetical and transformative moments through theatre and artistic expression..." With the issue of forced disappearances in Nepal, the group asked questions like "how can we use Nepal's rich mythology and rituals [to] perform about issues related to peace and conflict transformation?" Read Mandala Theatre's report about the Creative Camp for Peace Building. Mandala Theatre also held screenings of the documentary followed by a workshop with participants across the region. Read more and view photos.
Update: “At the beginning of September, the course the Theatre, Conflict and Development started at the University of Victoria. The students have used reading material from the Acting Together literature and discussions about the work have taken place during class time. We have also looked at different international examples on the DVD. So far, the Acting Together resources have been extremely helpful for this course. The students are thoroughly enjoying the elegant resources. Also, with regards to the Acting Together Grant, I have bought some extra reading material focussing on conflict and peace resolution and a clear world map to utilize during class time. These resources have improved the content of the course. Thank you very much again for all of your support!”
Paolo Vignolo, Associate Professor, Department of History and Center of Social Studies, National University of Colombia
Paolo Vignolo plans to utilize the Acting Together resources in his courses on public history, historical memory and oral history as associate professor in the Department of History and Center of Social Studies of the National University of Colombia in Bogotá. Since 2008, Paolo and his colleagues have been working on the intersection of performance and political issues, with a focus on the dialogue between artists, scholars, and activists.
The Acting Together Small Grants for Course Development in Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict were made possible by the generous contribution of Elaine Reuben '63.