Facilitating Encounters through Art

A workshop for artists working in zones of violent conflict

Past Event - September 2012

9/21–23 (Session I) & 9/28–30 (Session II)
Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

Application period has closed. 

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Facilitated by Farhat Agbaria, coexistence facilitator from Givat Haviva and Seeds of Peace, and Cindy Cohen, director of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, Brandeis University.

imageThis workshop is designed for artists, cultural workers and leaders of cultural institutions, who work or plan to work in zones of violent conflict around the world, including the United States. It will consist of an exploration of the relationship between dialogue and art, focusing on questions such as:

  • How can making and witnessing art be understood as dialogue?
  • How can artists and facilitators support members of divided communities to deepen and process their experiences of encounters with art?
  • How can artists and facilitators extend people’s heartfelt understanding of the other through engaging with the arts?
  • How can facilitated encounters with the arts inspire actions that lead toward justice and peace?
  • What are the risks of doing harm – to the artistic integrity of works, to people who have lived through trauma, to the indigenous expressive forms of communities – and how can these risks be minimized?


The workshop will be co-led by Farhat Agbaria who has facilitated encounters between Israelis and Palestinians for decades. He has run dialogue sessions and trained countless facilitators at Seeds of Peace since the program’s inception in 1993, working with teenagers and adults from the Middle East, the former Yugoslavia, South Asia and the United States. Farhat was the field director for Interns for Peace and the co-director of the Face-to-Face program at Givat Haviva in Israel, where he continues to work. Farhat will be joined by Dr. Cynthia Cohen, Director of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts at Brandeis University, who teaches, conducts research and advocates for the field of peacebuilding and the arts. Cindy led the project "Acting Together on the World Stage: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict," a seven-year collaboration with Theatre Without Borders that culminated in a two-volume anthology, documentary film and toolkit. She has written extensively on the aesthetic and ethical dimensions of peacebuilding, including, with Farhat, "Working with Groups in Conflict: The Effects of Power on the Dynamics of the Group."

groupThe workshop itself will be facilitated using frameworks that are drawn from group dynamics, conflict transformation, personal growth, and educational theories. Exchange of expertise of participants as well as facilitators will be encouraged; teaching and learning will be both experiential and didactic. The facilitators invite changes in self-awareness, awareness of the other, integration of emotions, understanding of conflicts, and commitments to act in the world.

Application period has closed. 

Read Application Guidelines

Download Application Form

If you have any questions, please contact Naoe Suzuki, nsuzuki@brandeis.edu.

Download the workshop flier

This workshop is programmed in conjunction with the art exhibition "Dor Guez: 100 Steps to the Mediterranean" at the Rose Art Museum, as a part of the Dor Guez Exhibition Programs.

Programs in conjunction with Dor Guez Exhibition at the Rose Art Museum:

Peacebuilding Tours 
Deepen your experience with a group tour hosted by Cynthia Cohen, director of the Brandeis Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts; and Farhat Agbaria, coexistence facilitator at Seeds of Peace and Givat Haviva. Visit the Rose Art Museum website or call 781-736-3434 for dates and times. 

Fazal Sheikh

Wednesday, October 3, 2:00 pm
Rose Art Museum, Lee Gallery

In 1994, Sheikh was named by the New York Times as one of 30 artists most likely to change global culture over the next 30 years. His graceful photographs document people living in displaced and marginalized communities around the world. Sheikh’s work has exhibited at Tate Modern, London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, Paris, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow. His talk is co-sponsored by the Rose Art Museum, the Department of Fine Arts, and the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life. Read more.

Artist's Talk and Exhibition Catalogue Release with Dor Guez
Tuesday, October 30, 6:00 pm
Rose Art Museum, Foster Gallery

Panel Discussion: “Exposures: Photography and the Politics of Looking”
Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2:00-5:00 pm
Rose Art Museum
Join a panel of international artists and human rights activists for a discussion of the Dor Guez exhibition. Speakers include Catherine Cissé van den Muijsenbergh, director of the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation, the Netherlands, and Dor Guez, with others TBD.

See more programs in conjunction with Dor Guez Exhibit at the Rose Art Museum.

Co-sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences; Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies Program; the Department of Theater Arts; and the Interfaith Chaplaincy.