As Criminalization of the Arts Intensifies in Cuba, Activists Organize (Hyperallergic) By Jasmine Weber — "Cuban artists are approaching a moment of reckoning as the country’s government takes a firm legal stance on 'vulgar' audio and visual displays in the Republic. On April 20, newly instated president Miguel Díaz-Canel signed a proposal for a new regulation, Decree 349, surrounding artistic freedom and institutional censorship in the Republic. The vague parameters of the decree essentially regulate any and all artistic and cultural activity in Cuba. A group of Cuban visual artists and curators have taken a vehement stand against the government’s criminalization of the arts through a series of protests, performances, and even a rogue biennial. Their actions have amounted in a number of artists’ arrests... "
- artasfoundation - Swiss Foundation for Art in Regions of Conflict - artasfoundation was founded in 2011 and initiates and supports art projects in regions of conflict and in times of crisis. Based in Switzerland, it's center of competence for art in the context of conflict mediation and peace building with a mission to initiate art projects in affected regions in the aftermath of wars in processes of reconstruction and democratization, and to supplement established humanitarian work with art. artasfoundation is an independent and impartial operating foundation that is financed by public grants and private contributions. As of early 2018, the organization has been mainly active in the Southern Caucasus region of Switzerland and successfully conducted 36 art projects in 12 different cities and villages in the region.
- Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD) - The mission of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD) is to promote a systems-based approach to peacebuilding and to facilitate the transformation of deeply-rooted social conflict. The Institute is based in Arlington, VA, and has more than 1300 members in 31 countries. IMTD approaches peacemaking as a living system. Since 1992, we have worked to improve the web of interconnected relationships that operate together for a common goal: a world at peace.
- "Aesthetic Perspectives: Attributes of Excellence in Arts for Change" - A report by John Borstel, Pam Korza, Andrea Assaf; Chris Dwyer; Mark Valdez, Denise Brown, and Barbara Schaffer Bacon. A framework to enhance understanding and evaluation of Arts for Change developed by Animating Democracy.
Theme: Arts and Social Change in Kenya: Past and Present
Research by Beth Kawira
Art lives in the hearts of people. It's in music videos, it's in photos, it's everywhere. — Boniface Mwangi, an activist.
Art gives voice to the voiceless. It helps in communicating and expressing what people are afraid of expressing under normal circumstances. In Kenya, individuals, civil society and the government have increasingly embraced artistic forms in the process of peace building and social change. This has worked quite well in social transformation, including socio-economic development, fostering peace and reconciliation of conflicting parties.
With the just concluded 2017 General Elections, so much was done using the arts in promoting peace in Kenya. Elections have always come with tension in the country. The citizens have always been apprehensive about the outcome, which at times lead to conflicts based mostly on tribal lines, ignorance and politicians "using" young people to cause destructions in the name of campaigns. With the 2017 elections, all were hopeful that they would be peaceful, free and fair. We see now that there is still much work to do.
Training for Kenyan Artists and Peacebuilders at Juniata College
This summer, Bakers Institute For Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College held a week-long training for Kenyan peace builders, scholars, and artists on how art can and has been used a tool for social transformation in Kenya. The participants held in depth discussions with the facilitators: Dr. Cindy Cohen from Brandeis University, Prof. Kitche Magak from Maseno University in Kenya and Dr. Polly Walker from Baker institute for peace and Conflict Management, Juniata College.
The Kenyan participants explored various examples on how arts has brought positive impact to the Kenyan communities and played a great role in social transformation. Art has been embraced not only at the national level but also at the grassroots level where it has been used as a tool in settling disputes such as inter-ethnic conflicts, gender inequalities, cattle rustling, land disputes and domestic violence.
Caroline Ngesa, director of Africa Snowman Productions Company, stated that over the recent past, Kenyans have held the fact that its only through art that 'life can be well lived' and this has immeasurably improved peoples' lives.
Dr. Cohen introduced the story circle, which was well received by the participants. This suggested that to help bring peace in the society, one has to understand the people from their own point of view, learn to listen and understand their stories because they inform the basis on how issues are addressed.
At the end of the week, Prof. Kitche Magak assisted the participants come up with proposals on arts and peacebuilding initiatives.
- Kibera Walls for Peace — Kibera Hamlets (KH) is a Nairobi-based organization that has worked with various Kibera-based graffiti artists and American artist Joel Bergner and to foster cooperation, promoting peace and understanding amongst the different ethnic communities. Reflecting on two-month violence following the 2007 elections, resulting at least 1,500 deaths reported and hundreds of thousands of households internally displaced due to inter-tribal conflict,a KH worked with communities to create murals and peacebuilding workshops on issues of peace and reconciliation ahead of the 2013 general elections.
- “Heal the Nation” Documentary — The documentary was created by an organization called Picha Mtaani, Swahili for 'street exhibitions,' an initiative founded by a Kenyan activist, Boniface Mwangi. It showcases the photographs he took during his countrywide tour after the 2007-08-post election violence.
- Sponsored Arts for Education (S.A.F.E) KENYA — S.A.F.E. is a non-governmental organization that uses the performing arts and community programs to inspire and deliver social change. After the 2007-08-post election violence in Kenya, S.A.F.E began a peace program, including a play, which was made into a film titled ni sisi (It Is Us). The film explored how political campaigns divide people along tribal lines rather than unite people in building their country.
- Broadsided Press — Founded in 2005, Broadsided publishes an original literary/artistic collaboration each month for visitors to the site to download, mull, print and share.