What's Happening

Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation

Designing a university-based infrastructure for the field

Upcoming IMPACT Events:

  • February 27-29: IMPACT is attending the Art at Risk Conference in Zurich, Switzerland
  • March 24-29: IMPACT is partnering with the International Community Arts Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands and hosting 2 sessions
  • April 21-22: Next IMPACT Virtual Learning Exchange: An introduction to the arts, culture, and conflict transformation ecosystem

Read more.


Listen: Think Tank Discussion on the Emerging ACCT Field with IMPACT Leaders
Hosted by the International Teaching Artist Conference (ITAC)
ITC logo

New Report-
"Imagine IMPACT: An emerging strategy to strengthen the arts, culture, and conflict transformation ecosystem"

impact report

2018-2019 Annual Report: Creativity, the Arts and Social Transformation (CAST)
cast report cover


Read the latest issue of our newsletter, Peacebuilding and the Arts Now.

Sign up to receive updates about the Peacebuilding and the Arts program and the Acting Together project.


Now Hiring: Designing Justice + Designing Spaces

Film: Dancing With the Cannibal Giant 

Featured News from the Field Theme: "Artistic and cultural dimensions of protest movements around the globe"

Article: Let’s make a better world: policy implications of the cultural work practice of Jane Wilburn Sapp
Journal of Arts Education Policy Review
October 26, 2019
Dr. Cynthia Cohen

Video: Fate, Family and the Floundering of a Friendship

Naila and the Uprising
PBS Special

Past News from the Field Theme: "The Impact of Authoritarian Regimes on Artistic Freedom and Expression"

Songbook: Let’s Make a Better World: Stories and Songs by Jane Sapp
*Purchase Now!*
And listen to the related podcast series.

Sarah Terrazano wins Academy of American Poets Prize

A Reflection on Ebony Axis
By Sarah Nzisabira

Past News from the Field Theme: "Artists Respond to Climate Change"

Past News from the Field Theme: "Creative Reflections on Human Migration"

Creative Ecofiction

Professor Cynthia Cohen Solves the World's Problems with Creativity
The Brandeis Hoot

"Arts and Building Peace: The Basics and Envisioning the Future"
Essay by Cynthia Cohen
Peace in Progress Magazine

Interview with Lee Perlman about the
book “But Abu Ibrahim, We’re Family!”

Read more News from the Field.

Acting Together Documentary

holding hands

Watch the preview!

Find "Acting Together" screenings near you.

News - Archive


Reflections from IPRA's 25th General Conference

Cynthia Cohen traveled to the IPRA 25th General Conference in August in her role as convenor of the IPRA Arts & Peace Commission. A number of our colleagues from around the world who work at the intersection of the arts and peacebuilding also attended the conference, and have provided us with reflections about their experiences at that convening. The formats range from general reflections on the overall conference, to reflections on specific conference sessions, to poems, to photo essays. Thanks to Ellen Frank, Eva Rodriguez Riestra, Paola Helena Acosta Sierra & María Elisa Pinto García, and Sara Dobbs. We invite you to read the reflections below. Read Cynthia Cohen’s reflections here.

Gathering of Acting Together, IPRA Arts & Peace
Commission, and Turkish theater colleagues at Kadir
Has University, Istanbul. Photo credit: Bilge Gulturk

Eva Rodriguez Riestra: A Photo Essay, IPRA 2014 Istanbul - Impressions from an Arts + Peace Commission Delegate


Tower of Light, Kapalicarsi
(Grand Bazaar)
Photo credit:
Eva Rodriguez Riestra

“This post tries to capture the conference experience from the point of view of a member of the Arts and Peace Commission, which has a reputation for being diverse, entertaining, challenging and inspiring. Starting at the very beginning, [a photo of] group of IPRA delegates from all corners of the world: Philippines, Nigeria, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Uganda, Pakistan and Australia found each other at Ataturk airport on a sweltering hot day…” Read more and view Eva's photo essay

Paola Helena Acosta Sierra & María Elisa Pinto García: Panel on Art-based peacebuilding activities in Colombia at IPRA 2014
“During the 25th General Conference of the International Peace Research Association –IPRA– ‘Uniting For Peace: Building Sustainable Peace Through Universal Values’ held in Istanbul, Turkey on August 11-15 2014, a panel about art-based peacebuilding activities in Colombia took place within the Arts and Peace Commission. Paola Helena Acosta from Politecnico Grancolombiano University, María Elisa Pinto from Prolongar Foundation and Santo Tomas University, and Gloria Patricia Zapata from Juan N. Corpas University presented three papers related to the armed conflict in Colombia with three different art-based initiatives aiming to overcome this conflict. The studies focused on the link between art and peace, stressing on the opportunities but also limitations that music and theatre entail for war-torn contexts, and specifically, for Colombia….” Read more. Download the full papers by Paola Helena Acosta and María Elisa Pinto Garcia, and the abstract of a paper by Gloria Patricia Zapata.


Attendees & panelists at Panel about art-based
peacebuilding activities in Colombia within the
Arts and Peace Commission. Pictured left to
right: Kitche Magak, María Elisa Pinto, Paola
Helena Acosta, Olivier Urbain and Gloria Zapata.
Photo credit: Sinthya Rubio

Sara Dobbs: Reflection on the IPRA Conference
“The IPRA conference in Istanbul was a hit. Although the opening was daunting with a late start, long line-up and other organizational and technical inefficiencies from the hosts, the Arts and Peace presentations, with the collegial connections and shared experiences made the lack of effectiveness feel like a distant memory. The Plenary talks by Prof. Johan Galtung and Kevin Clements were exemplary, providing attendees with a well-rounded view of the condition of peace globally. Clements spoke of “the need to shift from carnage to creation” and that the fall of global peacefulness is largely driven by internal peacefulness…” Read more.

Ellen Frank: Reflection on the IPRA Conference
"I am not alone in my devotion to peacebuilding. There is a world of people so devoted. The so-dedicated gathered in the auditorium of the first day to hear the Plenary speakers. Nesrin affirmed numbers! 500 IPRA members! She named the elephant in our room: this conference was being held at a “perfect” time, during the escalation of wars in Gaza, Ukraine, Syria, Baghdad. And in a perfect place: Turkey, as a link between 3 continents and armed conflict. We are necessary. We have more work on our hands, non-violent action….” Read Ellen's full reflections.  

Learn about and view Ellen’s collection “Cities of Peace.”


"Monrovia: In Constellation," from "Cities of Peace"
 collection. Image courtesy of Ellen Frank
Illumination Arts, Inc.

Letter from Cynthia Cohen to students of the independent study course of spring semester 2014, “Cultural Work and Social Transformation"

During the course, students learn about the cultural work and the 40 years of experience of Jane Wilburn Sapp, a distinguished African American musician, educator activist and cultural worker, in communities struggling for social justice. Students have the opportunity to reflect on Jane’s work and its meaning in their own lives in writing and in an intimate, small group format.
 Read Cindy's letter, which includes powerful excerpts of reflections from students. 

Drum circle fosters new approach to peace
By Emily Wishingrad, Justice Editor
The Justice, Brandeis University
February 11

"The beat of 10 drums filled the Alumni Lounge of the Usdan Student Center on Tuesday evening as musician and educator Toussaint Liberator led a group of Brandeis students in a drum circle. In a collaborative effort by Brandeis Beats and ’DEIS Impact, the event Beats of Peace aimed to enlighten students about the power of drum culture and how drumming can be used as a tool for peace. During the first half of the event, Cynthia Cohen, the director of Peacebuilding and the Arts, a program affiliated with the University’s International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, spoke about how music, and in this case, drums, can be and have been used for peacemaking. Cohen told a story of two drummers, one of the Hutu tribe and one of the Tutsi tribe, both living during the Hutu-Tutsi conflict...." Read more.

drum circle

PEACE TALKS: Cynthia Cohen spoke about how
communal drumming can be used to assist
peace talks between groups in conflict.
Photo credit: Josh Horowitz/the Justice

Photos from "Seeking Lives of Purpose"
Photographer Don West unveiled his new portrait of Jane Wilburn Sapp and Hubert Sapp during “Seeking Lives of Purpose: Images, Songs and Stories that Challenge and Inspire,” part of ’DEIS Impact 2014. Read about the event series and view additional photos from two of the events: "Ain't You Got a Right to the Tree of Life: Spirituality and the Quest for Justice in the African-American Musical Tradition" and "Meet and Greet Artists Don West and Jane Sapp: Reception."


Photographer Don West unveils his new portrait of
Jane Wilburn Sapp and Hubert Sapp 

Acting Together short film accepted into
Culture Unplugged film festival

“Dijana Milošević: Performing Truth in the Face of Denial,” one of the short films from the Acting Together toolkit, was accepted to the online film festival Culture Unplugged! Culture Unplugged aims to integrate disparate parts of the self and the global human society, primarily by leveraging the power of new media and extending the effort to offline events and actions. The organization is committed to contemplate and contribute to personal as well as collective spiritual need of the time by focusing on inner and intercultural expression. View the film.

Reflection on a national meeting on documenting,
archiving, and communicating in the field of
community cultural development

virgtechartsA small national meeting on documentation, archiving, and communication in the field of community cultural development was hosted December 6 - 8, 2013 by the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts & Cinema, Center for the Arts, Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, and Institute for Policy and Governance. Dr. Cynthia Cohen and Jane Wilburn Sapp participated in the meeting. Read a blog post by another participant Jamie Haft, Assistant Director of Imagining America. The post reflects on learnings from the meeting and explains five misconceptions about documentation, archiving, and communication in the field that the meeting helped to debunk.

Beyond Words
By Erica Granor '15
Exploring Ethics: Ethics Center Leadership Council Blog
"I’ve always loved to draw. The margins of my chemistry notebooks are dotted with doodles, my dorm room walls are plastered with sketches of landscapes and flowers. Until I became a member of the Ethics Center Leadership Council, art had always been about the aesthetic. Art took on new meaning when outreach for Peacebuilding and the Arts became my semester project for the ECLC...." Read more.

Applications now being accepted for
Composing Our Lives Together:
Song-Writing Workshop with Jane Wilburn Sapp
Sunday, February 2, 2:00 – 5:00 pm
Slosberg Recital Hall
Application deadline: January 27 (Download the application)
Part of ‘DEIS Impact 2014: The weeklong "Festival of Social Justice" at Brandeis University

Join the dynamic activist, musician, educator and cultural worker Jane Wilburn Sapp to create an original song that will inspire us to compose lives devoted to social justice. We will draw themes from Portraits of Purpose and from our own experiences and aspirations. Musical background welcome but not required. Participation limited. If you wish to attend, please download and complete the application and email it to David Stiefel deisimpactby January 27.

This event is part of the "Seeking Lives of Purpose" event series featuring Jane Wilburn Sapp and photojournalist Don West as part of 'DEIS Impact in February 2014. View the program brochure page.