April 2020 Learning Exchange
Imagining Together/Acting Together
In partnership with Peace Direct, IMPACT hosted Imagining Together/Acting Together, a 48-hour virtual Learning Exchange conducted in both English and Spanish. The exchange was co-convened by seven organizations: Artasfoundation, Crear Vale la Pena (CVLP), Fundación Cambio Democrático (FCD), Humanity United (HU), Free Culture Invisible, International Community Arts Festival (ICAF), International Teaching Artist Collaborative (ITAC); with the help of seven additional partners: Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College, DAH Theatre, Howlround Theatre Commons, Maasai Mara University, Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute, Theatre Without Borders, and Visual Art Network of South Africa (VANSA). It attracted 729 participants from more than 56 countries. Participants included artists, cultural workers, NGO leaders, peacebuilding scholars and practitioners, funders and policy-makers, all engaged in work at the nexus of arts, culture and conflict transformation. Eighty-five people served as facilitators, each working one or more two-hour shifts.
The purpose of the Learning Exchange was to connect people from regions around the world in "conversations" about core concepts in the conflict transformation field, such as resistance, re-humanization and reconciliation. In addition, it created opportunities for exchange about a framework new to many in the field -- re-enchantment -- and about the pandemic and its effects on the arts, culture and conflict transformation ecosystem.
The Learning Exchange took as a starting point the documentary film, "Acting Together on the World Stage: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict," and its new website. Short film clips from Serbia, Australia and Peru served as prompts for the virtual discussion. In the period prior to and during the Learning Exchange, more than 750 people downloaded the full 54-minute documentary, which was made available for free both in the original English and with Spanish subtitles.
As this issue of Peacebuilding and the Arts Now goes to press, IMPACT is coordinating a participatory, multi-stage process of summarizing the Learning Exchange. Each of fourteen discussion boards (seven in English, seven in Spanish) are being summarized, and soon the authors of the English and Spanish summaries on the same topics will compare their summaries. After that, this diverse group will meet together to identify what topics should be shared with the larger arts, culture and conflict transformation (acct) ecosystem, and through what media formats. Any reports and related links will be shared in upcoming issues of Peacebuilding and the Arts Now.
Meanwhile, the Office of the High Commission on Human Rights at the UN requested input on how the pandemic is affecting artists and cultural workers, and how artists and cultural workers are finding creative ways to support their communities. Since this had been an important topic during the April Learning Exchange, we were able to share a preliminary report to the special rapporteur on cultural rights. This early version summarizes comments only on the English discussion board; we will be sending a more complete report when we finish comparing and integrating what was learned from discussions in each language.
To get a sense of the substance of the virtual Learning Exchange, and, as a follow-up to our documentation of creative responses to the pandemic in the April 2020 issue of Peacebuilding and the Arts Now, check out our early summary of the Coronavirus discussion board in Spanish (pdf) and preliminary report to the special rapporteur (pdf) in the field of cultural rights.
Following the Imagining Together/Acting Together virtual Learning Exchange in April 2020, IMPACT coordinated a participatory, multi-stage process of summarizing the Learning Exchange. Each of fourteen discussion boards (seven in English, seven in Spanish) were summarized by a diverse group from Argentina, Iran, New Zealand, Serbia, Switzerland, and the USA. The authors of the English and Spanish summaries on the same topics compared their summaries. After that, the group met together to reflect on the experience and to think together creatively about possible report(s) that can come out of the summaries and in which media formats they might be shared.
The summaries of the discussion boards are available in English and Spanish by completing the online publication request form.
- Resistance (pdf)
- Rehumanization (pdf)
- Reconciliation (pdf)
- Re-enchantment (pdf)
- ACCT Connections and Reflections: Coronavirus (pdf)
- The Power of the ACCT Ecosystem (pdf)
- Creative Spaces (pdf)