2023 News From the Field
Kyiv Biennial is an international forum for art, knowledge, and politics that integrates exhibitions and discussion platforms. It adopts an interdisciplinary perspective at the intersection of the humanities, socially engaged art, and political activism in order to reflect on the crucial issues of the contemporary world. Kyiv Biennial is organized by the Visual Culture Research Center.
The fifth edition of the Kyiv Biennial will take place across Europe at locations in Kyiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Uzhhorod, Berlin, Warsaw, Lublin, Antwerp and Vienna.
See this review of the event, “Kyiv’s Exiled Biennial Is the Most Energizing Exhibition of the Year.”
A play that shares the words and experiences of Ukrainian youth as they navigate the chaos and catastrophe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be presented in Spingold Theater at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, on Oct. 1. Through heartbreak, fear, and compassion for one another, we learn of separation and loss, of violence and cruelty, and of kindness and dreams. "The Clear Blue Skies" was created by Oleksandra Oliinyk, of Kyiv, and Scott Illingworth, of New York. Information about tickets and resources for learning and action will be posted online soon. For immediate inquiries, contact Toni Shapiro-Phim.
Online discussion with Cambodian theater artist Morm Sokly
Morm Sokly has been nominated for the 2023 Gilder/Coigney International Theatre Award by her collaborator, playwright Catherine Filloux, and will participate in an online panel in mid-October 2023 about her important theater work and that of other nominated artists. The discussion will be moderated by Catherine Filloux. A video of Morm Sokly's theater work in Cambodia will also be featured. The only award of its kind, the GCITA honors the exceptional work of theater women around the world who are making a difference in their communities and in the lives of women.
"A dynamic gathering of changemakers, scholars, and artists committed to building inclusive and democratic futures in Europe, the US, and around the world. Share and learn new ideas and practices to strengthen democracy and belonging — with the urgency this moment requires, and the joy and hope our movements need. Find out more details.
"An exhibition of video and performance art, curated by Ellada Evangelou and Keith Miller, begins with … the impossibility of being in two places and times at once and with this idea of the origin of trauma as embedded in diasporas. The artists participating in the exhibition are suspended between these two realities, which they have deconstructed through their work."
Creating Rights “The book brings together experts in the fields of art, cultural heritage, social justice, human rights, international law, and transitional justice, and builds bridges between the notions of art and aesthetics, human rights, universality, and dignity. It explores a world in which art and justice enter a discussion to answer questions such as: can art translate the human experience? How does humanity link individuality and community building? How do human beings define and look for their identity?
How do artistic and cultural productions and rights contribute to answering these questions?”
"A site specific phantasmagoria from celebrated Ukrainian documentary playwright and director Sasha Denisova. Developed through first-person interviews with refugees and officials, and inspired by world events, 'The Gaaga' is a darkly funny, haunting and fantastical trip through the consequences of war. Set in a bomb shelter, a Ukrainian girl dreams Vladimir Putin and his cronies into a trial for crimes of war."
"This third edition of the festival is inspired by Martin Niemoller's poem 'First they came …' hoping to encourage and empower citizens to react against injustice, to take an active role inciting positive change in their communities, as well as to connect artists and human rights activists with each other, and with the wider community. A subtopic is Standing up for Another, emphasizing empathy and compassion, bringing humanity back to the forefront before personal (selfish) needs, glorified in our times of radical individuality. The program includes theater productions, workshops, installations, concerts, talks, films, as well as the creation of an original mural. Artists and activists are coming from Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Kosovo, Norway, Italy, Serbia and the U.S.”
"Communities hit by Nigeria's worst recorded floods are at the centre of an exhibition by photographer Gideon Mendel. He took portraits of people standing amid their drowned homes in the southern state of Bayelsa."
One of the Festival's many partnerships this year is "with Femme Frontera, a Latinx-led film organization made up of, and founded by women and non-binary filmmakers from the U.S.-Mexico border regions of Texas and Mexico."
"Pikene på Broen will stage the 19th edition of Barents Spektakel in Kirkenes, Norway — an international festival consisting of contemporary art, theatre, music, debates, film, performances and a bar concept. Through these different elements the festival will again become a meeting place for everyone with an interest in the cultures and contemporary issues related to the High North. In 2022, the festival theme formed a question: Where do we go from here? For Barents Spektakel 2023 we aim to discover some answers through the exploration of one deceptively simple concept: TRUST. What does it mean to trust a friend, a family member, a stranger, a politician, a government, or different types of information and media? How do we express this trust? What happens when trust is broken, and how can it be repaired or remade? Finally, what role does trust play in the contemporary moment, as our societies attempt to deal with the rising costs of food and energy, as they navigate the climate crisis, and as they approach the planet’s continuing geo-political uncertainty?”
"The conference aims, as does IPRA and the field of peace studies itself, to promote dialogue across disciplines. Diverse formats and activities are encouraged, and ongoing relationships will be nurtured. In so doing, [IPRA 2023] promises to be a site of critical dialogue, reflection, and action—a truly unique and urgently needed opportunity to advance progressive justice and peacebuilding strategies.”
Call for papers: Journal of Peacebuilding and Development special issue on Peacebuilding, Development, and Freedom of Religion and Belief
Deadline for receipt of abstracts: December 8, 2023
Call for nominations: The Justice Brandeis Practitioner-in-Residence Limited Series
Hosted by The Samuels Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Engagement (COMPACT) and ENACT, both at Brandeis University, in celebration of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life
Deadline for nominations: February 24, 2024
The newly announced Justice Brandeis Practitioner-in-Residence Limited Series will highlight the knowledge and experience developed by the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, and will expose the Brandeis University campus community to spheres of activity that have only become more critical to our interconnected world over recent years.
On or around Justice Brandeis’ birthday of November 13, COMPACT and ENACT will host a practitioner whose life and work exemplify Justice Louis Brandeis’ values of justice and truth as applied to community engagement activities, global or local. During the one-day residency, the visiting practitioner will interact with students, faculty and staff through class visits, workshops, lectures, and other opportunities. Each residency will produce an output which can be shared afterwards, for example a written document, short documentary film, a podcast, or an exhibit.
This limited series will be hosted from 2024-25 through the 2027-28 academic years. Practitioners will receive a $10,000 honorarium.
Deadline for nominations for the inaugural residency: February 15, 2024
Submit a nomination online.
The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and the INSPIRE Project are proud to present the five nominees for the first edition of the INSPIRE Art Award. Close to 100 applications were received and 35 countries represented.
"Método Cuba: Independent Artists' Testimonies of Forced Exile," amplifies the stories of artists who have suffered repression due to their artivism firsthand. ARC, PEN International, and Cubalex, share the testimonies of 17 exiled artists, documenting the repressive and sometimes violent tactics employed by the Cuban state to force them out of the country.”
“People with personal experience of migration and forced displacement across different migration contexts contribute diverse strengths, expertise and wisdom to their new countries and communities. In other words, they bring seeds in their pockets — seeds planted with great determination and resilience, in the hope of a better, safer future… In this report, we [at Porticus] are sharing key learnings and recommendations from the pilot and our resulting reflections and commitments as a funder in this space.”
"The report spotlights the stories of artists around the world who have used their creative talents to uplift, sustain and mobilize social and political movements globally. The report draws on ARC's insights from its work with artists, art organizations and human rights organizations."
Report — DEFENDING CREATIVE VOICES: Artists in emergencies
Learning from the safety of journalists
"Artists and cultural professionals lack the same opportunities and safety nets of protection [as journalists], despite facing many of the same threats to their safety and livelihoods that journalists endure. What further actions could be taken to guarantee their protection in emergency contexts and recovery periods?"
"The 9th World Summit on Arts and Culture brought together leading policy makers, researchers, managers and practitioners from the arts, culture and related sectors from around the world to explore artistic freedom as a fundamental pillar of cultural policy and examine how we can — and why we should — safeguard artistic freedom."
"The magazine contains remarkable stories and achievements by Culture of Solidarity Fund grantees, and portraits of the remarkably diverse spaces libraries are. You can explore what CrAFt sandbox cities do to become carbon neutral and what culture can do to make this transformation happen. Common Ground presents updates on The European Pavilion, re-publications from SHIFT bookazine, a poignant collection of stories and images that challenges preconceived narratives of migrants in European media. You can dive into interviews, read about Eurovision, find out how European sentiments flourish in these times of war, and how the Cultural Deal for Europe campaign wants to contribute to a future Europe we all share. Photo essays capture the essence of our continent rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, reminding us of the diverse tapestry that makes up Europe. And much more!"
" 'Moving Narratives' amplifies artistic and creative practices that move our understanding of the past and drive our visions of the future in new directions through the affective, discursive, and transformative power of culture."
"Following on the success of last year’s edition, the Culture of Solidarity Fund is now launching another special call looking to promote the visibility and embeddedness of Ukrainian culture across Europe, in partnership with EUNIC (the network of EU National Institutes for Culture)... "
"The new edition of the Culture of Solidarity Fund welcomes European transnational collaborative initiatives that address the theme of just transition and environmental sustainability from a specific cultural angle."
"ECF invites legal entities from all cultural and creative fields in Europe and neighbouring countries to submit an ambitious curatorial proposal that will ensure the visibility, accessibility and positioning of the European Pavilion as a major European cultural event in 2024. We are looking for proposals that explore, discuss, interpret and visualise Europe in fresh and imaginative ways: cutting-edge concepts and programming that encourage transnational collaborations between creators, thinkers, doers and communities, leading to a large-scale public event in 2024. Through the creative outcomes of these collaborations, we hope to inspire Europeans to envision a forward-looking Europe, one that contributes to building fairer, more sustainable societies for all."
"Change the Story/Change the World is a chronicle of art and community transformation across the globe. Episodes 69-72 comprise a mini-series highlighting leading practitioners, and innovative strategies emerging from the growing creative aging movement."
"The global nature of the authoritarian threat continues to animate our work... Registration is now open for the next Othering & Belonging Conference, taking place in Berlin in October. Please join Horizons and others as we reflect on global strategies for countering the far-right and bolstering democracy... [See] this summer reading list and overview of the listening arts [along with job announcements and more...] The 22CI conference came to a close earlier this month with a joyful performance of a brand new song crafted during one of the sessions, 'Developing a Collective Poetic Voice to Address Authoritarianism Thru Songwriting,' under the direction of Jane Sapp, a musician and cultural worker at Let's Make a Better World and Cindy Cohen, Emerita of Brandeis University and former Director of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts. Special thanks to the members of the 'This is Real Ensemble' - Destiny Williams, Jeralyn Cave, Penny Rosenwasser, and Molly O'Connor. You guys rocked it."
Watch This is Real! Premiere Performance at the 22CI Conference: Forging a People Powered Democracy.
Resources in Peacebuilding and the Arts Now e-newsletter
Open Call Summer School — Divided Societies Exploring the Dialogical Potential of Art
"In late August 2023, artasfoundation will invite artists, activists and cultural practitioners working within the field of socially engaged arts to explore the chances and limitations of artistic interventions in contexts of deep differences in worldview. Taking diverging views within Eastern European societies and within different social groups in Switzerland as starting points, artasfoundation dives into a week full of inputs, exchange of experience, shared learning, inspiration, and networking. The 7-day summer school brings together artists located in Zurich and artists from Eastern Europe and beyond, who, despite their respective social and cultural contexts, share similar basic concerns. The programme itself will be partly developed jointly with the participants. The summer school will be held in English.”
"The Global Campus of Human Rights and the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities, in collaboration with the Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention at Binghamton University (USA), announce a call for applications for the first edition of their Joint Annual Engaged Artivist Award on Atrocity Prevention and Human Rights. The purpose of the Joint Annual Engaged Artivist Award is to recognize the work of Artivists (artist-activists), highlighting the original ways in which they respond creatively to large-scale identity-based violence and mass atrocity in varying conflict contexts and geographic regions across the globe. The concept of “Art as Atrocity Prevention” is related to the role of the arts in mitigating risk factors associated with genocide, other mass atrocities, and identity-based violence, as well as the use of the arts as a powerful tool to contribute to the transformation of post-atrocity societies.”
"Every year, the Build Peace conference explores emergent challenges to peace in a digital era, and peacebuilding innovations to address these challenges. It holds an interdisciplinary space to address the most pressing topics and transformative practices in peace, conflict, and innovation. This year, the conference will focus on ‘How technology and the arts influence identities relevant to peace & conflict.’ Whether it is your 10th time attending, or your first, we warmly invite you to bring your questions, ideas, and experiences as we chart the future together.”
Call for Applications: Mentorship Building Beyond
"Building Beyond brings together 12 experienced designers, creatives, and artists over the course of a year to foster conversation, collaboration, and exchange within the cohort; to support each participant in their own individual practice; and to facilitate exchanges between the cohort and relevant external practitioners. We support practices that engage with challenges related to your city’s public space and communities to propose alternative ideas and methods that align the physical city with the realities and imaginations of the lived city. We seek to foster locally-rooted, critical design practices, and cultural productions that challenge our ideas of space and citizenship, reaffirm agency, and restate ownership. Building Beyond is an alternative educational structure where you come together with your peers to reflect on your practice, activate your practice within your local context, and gather ideas and universalities from different urban contexts - aimed at reimagining the future of your contexts and continent.”
In honor of International Jazz Day, Jamie Metzl of OneShared.World had a conversation with the jazz artist Arturo O'Farill, which was recorded as part of the OneShared.World Interdependence Summit. Arturo is a ground-breaking pianist, composer, and educator, and director of the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. He is also a Global Arts Ambassador for OneShared.World.
Watch the video.
"Artists at Risk Connection and PEN International issued a joint statement at the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of 186 artists and cultural rights organizations. It called for the immediate protection of migrant artists and cultural professionals on the international level. The ARC network and PEN America also expressed ongoing global solidarity with Ukraine, more than a year into Russia’s full-scale invasion. In the wake of a new anti-LGBTQI+ rights law passed in Uganda, ARC and the Amani: Africa Creative Defence Network issued a joint statement condemning the government’s attack on freedom of expression."
“Residencies for artists and curators at the Art Prospect Network partner organizations in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus/Germany, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine/Poland, and Uzbekistan.”
"Each year, we grant Seed Awards to 100 emerging artists working in contexts where cultural expression is under pressure to support their personal and artistic development, amplify their talent, and ultimately spark a new wave of changemakers. Each Seed Award recipient will receive an award of €5000 to invest into the development of their artistic and cultural practice on their own terms — be it through experimentation, fostering new perspectives and connections, or pursuing a dream project."
"Forecast offers artists and creative thinkers from anywhere in the world the chance to work with accomplished mentors toward bringing their projects to fruition. As an international mentorship program with annual editions, Forecast transcends neatly defined disciplines and genres to provide insight into creative production processes, and carve out space for the questions on the minds of the next generation of trailblazers. The mentors in Forecast's eighth edition engage with practices that highlight the autonomy of creative endeavors and emphasize the significance of independent art-making in today’s deeply politicized climate of cultural production and its reception."
"Ever since the Peace Research Grants Fund was created in 2002, the IPRA Foundation has awarded grants to help fund peace research projects in places as diverse as Argentina, Bosnia, inner city communities in the United States, the Middle East, the Philippines, the Punjab and Uganda."
"The BlackStar Film Festival is an annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global Indigenous communities, showcasing films by Black, Brown and Indigenous artists from around the world."
"EIT Culture & Creativity, an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) invites applications for expert evaluators… [The program is] designed to strengthen and transform Europe's Cultural and Creative and Industries (CCSI) by connecting creatives and organisations to Europe’s largest innovation."
"The 1-year extra-occupational training brings together an international group of participants: professionals in arts practices, peace building activists, project managers from internationally operating organizations and visionary people, all from the Global North and the Global South."
"The 12th annual Ocean Awareness Contest is a platform for young people to learn about environmental issues through art-making and creative communication, explore their relationship to a changing world, and become advocates for positive change. Students ages 11-18 from around the world are invited to participate."
Explore residencies, fellowships, and workshops, grants, open calls, and commissions, our monthly list of opportunities for artists, writers and art workers.
“In the plaza outside the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Jewish and Israeli organizations have created a stark reminder of the over 200 hostages taken by Hamas on October 7: a Shabbat table, with a place setting for each confirmed missing person.”
Art Organizations Around the World Go on Strike in Support of Gaza
Maya Pontone/Hyperallergic, Oct 20
“Artists and arts organizations around the world are on strike today, October 20, in a show of solidarity with Palestinian people as Israel continues its deadly bombardment of Gaza. Across New York City, Amsterdam, Santiago, Berlin, London, and beyond, dozens of art galleries, museums, and individuals are closing their spaces and studios to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, where Israel’s air raids have killed upwards of 4,200 Palestinian people.”
8,000 artists and cultural workers warn of genocide in Gaza and call for ceasefire
Fred Mazelis/World Socialist Web Site, Oct 20
“Eight thousand artists, writers and other cultural workers have signed an open letter warning of ongoing genocide of the Palestinian population of Gaza and demanding an immediate ceasefire.
The letter follows other statements, including one from more than 2,000 British filmmakers, artists, actors, curators, playwrights and others that surfaced a few days ago. The latest open letter includes names from all over the world, and reflects the anger and outrage of many millions, indeed most of humanity, in the face of the Zionist siege of Gaza and the preparations for a ground assault that is predicted will claim tens of thousands of lives.”
Israeli Art Community Responds to 2,000 Cultural Leaders Demanding Ceasefire in Gaza
Francesca Anton/ARTnews, Oct 21
“Amid ongoing conflict in the Middle East, an open letter demanding an immediate ceasefire circulated online earlier this week, receiving signatures from more than 2,000 visual artists, writers, and actors. On Saturday, an Israeli response to that open letter began circulating…
…It ends with an appeal for unity among groups that have been impacted by the conflict, with ‘no contradiction between staunchly opposing the Israeli occupation and the crimes in Gaza, and unequivocally condemning brutal acts of violence against innocent civilians in Israel.’”
On the Cusp of Invasion, a Poet in Gaza Reflects on Trauma
Mosab Abu Toha/The New York Times, Oct 14
“It had been a long day for all of us, especially parents. We have to be responsible not only for our own lives during Israel’s military attacks but also for the safety of children and the old around us. It’s been five days since I last had a shower. It’s been four days since I last left my house for the shop or the barber’s.”
"This article explores the experiences of Sudanese artists who have been affected by the violent conflict in their country that erupted in April of this year. In this piece, a group of contributors, including researchers Katarzyna Grabska and Azza Ahmed Abdel Aziz and artists Alaa Sherif, Yasmin Abdallah, Galala Yousif, Reem Aljeally, amongst others, provide firsthand accounts and reflections on the impact of the ongoing conflict on the emerging art scene."
"As fighting between rival military factions intensifies in Sudan, a report published at the end of last month by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) raises alarm that the country’s cultural institutions and their extensive collections are at risk of irreparable damage."
"The 'Sponsor a Sudanese Artist' campaign is a grassroots initiative aimed at supporting and empowering talented artists from Sudan in the midst of political and economic turmoil. This campaign recognizes the immense artistic potential present in Sudan and seeks to support artists’ work and survival by offering an avenue through which they can continue to develop their work, skills, and connect with global networks."
"At SAF, we wholeheartedly believe in the power of art and artists to chronicle the history of the Sudanese people’s unwavering fight for democracy. With your support, SAF strives to award $500 (or whatever we can collect monthly) to one Sudanese artist. The award is not to fund a project. But to invest in the artist to keep working."
"Sudan has become a battleground. But it is not the war of the people who live there, say exiled Sudanese writers Stella Gitano and Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin… [Sakin explains]: 'This is not the Sudanese people's war. It's a couple of generals fighting for wealth and power!' "
"A group of prominent French cultural figures is asking French authorities to issue visas to their Sudanese counterparts, who are at the forefront of the country's liberation movement."
"Khalid Kodi's participatory art projects in his native Sudan and South Sudan aim to bring rival groups together, resolve conflicts and look to a better future. The Northeastern University professor is a mentor to many young Sudanese artists and activists."
"Khartoum-set drama Goodbye Julia will make history in Cannes this year as the first Sudanese film to play in the festival... Director Mohamed Kordofani belongs to a wave of filmmakers that emerged in the wake of Sudan's 2019 revolution, ending the 30-year rule of dictator Omar al-Bashir."
"In times of tragedy, we are thrust into darkness. Our emotions, sentiments, and perceptions grow dull. Our souls get trapped in the dusk. We remain caught between the past and the present, grappling with loss and grief. Yet, times of tragedy also bring to light our resolve and our resilience, our voice and our valor… We rediscover what binds us to our community, our nation, and our land. We find purpose in love, hope and light. We find sunrise.” Sunrise Stepanakert — a multimedia art festival involving photography, digital art, film, and music — used to be held in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh, but Azerbaijan's blockade made the travel of artists from Armenia impossible. Organizers found creative ways to address the situation. The 2023 festival programs have taken place at multiple venues in Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia proper.
Read Astrig Agopian's (Namak Newsletter) interview with one of the young festival artists from Stepanakert Vanik Meljumyan.
Photos of and by Knar Babayan and her family. "For over four months my 3.5-year-old niece has been asking me 'Hibs ton kilakan?' (When are you coming home?). I have no answer to the question. I can only see my family in Artsakh (Karabakh) online, and I don't know when I will be able to return to my home. The road has been blocked by Azerbaijani 'eco-activists' for more than four months."
"Many may find my painting visually pleasing, but I did not paint this to win or to have a beautiful piece of art to decorate a wall. I painted this to get an important message across — and it's up to the average citizen to help accomplish this. Your tax money funds Azerbaijan and Turkey's military, and it’'s contributing to the ethnic cleansing of indigenous Armenians." — Shakeh Hagopian
"In this timeline, Town & Country documents repatriation news in 2023 — covering stolen antiquities, war crimes, and disputed archeological finds. Repatriated objects and artwork can originate from a wide variety of sources, ranging from private collections to national museums. In addition, repatriation doesn't just mean returning to a country — it can be artwork returning to families, or remains returning to ancestral burial grounds."
“The Netherlands is handing back hundreds of valuable artefacts it removed from Indonesia and Sri Lanka during the colonial period, including the cache of precious stones, gold and silver jewellery looted by Dutch troops from a Balinese royal palace.”
"A ceremony in Nigeria [at the end of 2022] was the culmination of a yearslong process that upended Germany’s approach to museum items looted during the colonial era."
"New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art holds over 1,000 objects that once belonged to people who have been accused of or convicted of antiquities crimes, according to a report published today by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Of the 1,109 objects in question, 309 of them are currently on display throughout the museum, including artifacts linked to disgraced art dealers such as Subhash Kapoor and Douglas Latchford."
"The ivory cosmetic spoon, which dates to between 800 and 700 BCE, was seized from the ancient art collection of hedge fund billionaire Michael Steinhardt, who has come under investigation in recent years for possession of nearly 200 stolen artifacts from 11 countries."
"The ancient statue, a 'key piece for investigations of Olmec iconography,' is being repatriated by the United States."
"Cambodian artifacts were often looted out of the country beginning in the 1970s, [when the country was] under the control of the Khmer Rouge. At least 13 antiquities have been returned this month amid a push in the art world from artists and scholars to return looted works to their countries of origin."
"For Cambodians, including myself, the idea that spirits can inhabit objects is commonplace. They can be found in religious statues or in nature — a tree, a mountain, or the intersection of rivers."
Review of Dynamite Doug podcast series focusing on "how Douglas Latchford and his collaborator Emma Bunker illegally removed hundreds of sculptures from Cambodia, often by faking provenance records and export licences, to fill the galleries of museums in the West… Although the research in 'Dynamite Doug' is not new, this method of storytelling is still fresh enough to compel… [I]t makes sense that we will see more podcasts about colonial theft, and hopefully a broader audience for the campaigners and researchers driving repatriation."
"The [Metropolitan] Museum’s curator of Native American Art reflects on the lesser-discussed everyday challenges of repatriation work."
"Two new books by Nigel Biggar and Adam Kuper advocate for wilful amnesia and collective repression of British colonial brutality."
Recent publications and reports engaging with creativity in the face of violence, human rights abuses, and the climate crisis
Books and articles
The Routledge Companion to Applied Performance (Volumes One and Two)
Tim Prentki and Ananda Breed, editors
“These volumes offer insights from within and beyond the sphere of English-speaking scholarship, curated by regional experts in applied performance. The reader will gain an understanding of some of the dominant preoccupations of performance in specified regions, enhanced by contextual framing. From the dis(h)arming of the human body through dance in Colombia to clowning with dementia in Australia, via challenges to violent nationalism in the Balkans, transgender performance in Pakistan and resistance rap in Kashmir, the essays, interviews and scripts are eloquent testimony to the courage and hope of people who believe in the power of art to renew the human spirit.”
L’empreinte. Une archive d’artiste soustraite au terrorisme d’État
[The footprint. Artist Archive Safeguarded From State Terrorism]
Chile, 1973 — Geneva, 2023. This is an intimate story of a daughter (visual artist Marisa Cornejo) dedicated to the memory of her father. In it, a discovery of photographs leads to a revelation about the repercussions of Augusto Pinochet's military coup (in Chile) on a family of artists and teachers on the roads of exile.
Afghanistan Dispossessed: Women, Culture and the Taliban
“How does normal social, cultural, religious life survive in constant turmoil? How can the people flourish? These basic questions are examined and answered by Razia Sultanova's academic analysis and deep fieldwork, with extensive eye-witness and personal contacts and conversations with a wide variety of Afghan men and women. She looks at basic questions of gender, identity, nation, tradition, history, popular culture and especially the role of music - classical, popular, modern and contemporary - as a vital element for survival.”
Music, Dance and the Archive
Amanda Harris, Linda Barwick and Jakelin Troy, Editors
Part of the Indigenous Music, Language and Performing Arts series from Sydney University Press, “Music, Dance and the Archive interrogates historical practices of access to archives by showing how Indigenous performing artists and community members and academic researchers (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) are collaborating to bring life to objects that have been stored in archives. It not only examines colonial archiving practices but also creative and provocative efforts to redefine the role of archives and to bring them into dialogue with contemporary creative work… Music, Dance and the Archive highlights the necessity of relationships, Country and creativity in practising song and dance, and in revitalising practices that have gone out of use. As contemporary Australia reckons with its past, this volume is both timely and urgent. We readers are challenged to critically reflect on how history lives on in the present – with implications not only for creativity, heritage, and the arts, but also for prosperous and equitable societies and thriving cultures, now and into the future.”
Art in a Democracy: The Plays of Roadside Theater
“This 2-volume work tells the story of a rural Appalachian theater company’s 45-year search for a form of artistic expression that advances the project of American democracy… [It] includes 9 award-winning original play scripts, a critical recounting of the theater’s history from 1975 through 2020, and 10 essays by authors from different disciplines and generations exploring the plays’ social, economic, and political circumstances.”
How to Stand Up to a Dictator
In this recorded interview, Filipino journalist, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and UNESCO World Press Freedom Prize awardee Maria Ressa speaks about her new book, How to Stand Up to a Dictator, and why she thinks the world is facing a sort of doomsday related to information and democracy. “Live on stage at The Conduit and livestreamed, Maria joins co-founder of The Conduit, Paul van Zyl, to tell the story of how democracy dies by a thousand cuts, and how an invisible atom bomb has exploded online that is killing our freedoms.”
All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis
Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K Wilkinson, editors
“All We Can Save is an anthology of writings by 60 women at the forefront of the climate movement who are harnessing truth, courage, and solutions to lead humanity forward.There is a renaissance blooming in the climate movement: leadership that is more characteristically feminine and more faithfully feminist, rooted in compassion, connection, creativity, and collaboration. While it’s clear that women and girls are vital voices and agents of change for this planet, they are too often missing from the proverbial ‘table.’ More than a problem of bias, it’s a dynamic that sets us up for failure. To change everything, we need everyone. Intermixing essays with poetry and art, this book is both a balm and a guide for knowing and holding what has been done to the world, while bolstering our resolve never to give up on each other or our collective future. We must summon truth, courage, and solutions, to turn away from the brink and toward life-giving possibility. Curated by two climate leaders, this book is a collection and celebration of visionaries who are leading us on a path toward all we can save.” This anthology is part of the All We Can Save Project.
Care Aesthetics: For Artful Care and Careful Art
“What if the work of a nurse, physio, or homecare worker was designated an art, so that the qualities of the experiences they create became understood as aesthetic qualities? What if the interactions created by artists, directors, dancers, or workshop facilitators were understood as works of care? Care Aesthetics is the first full-length book to explore these questions and examine the work of carer artists and artist carers to make the case for the importance of valuing and supporting aesthetically caring relations across multiple aspects of our lives.Theoretically and practically, the book outlines the implications of care aesthetics for the socially engaged arts field and health and social care, and for acts of aesthetic care in the everyday. Part 1 of the book outlines the approaches to aesthetics and to care theory that are necessary to make and defend the concept of care aesthetics. Part 2 then tests this through practice, examining socially engaged arts and health and social care through its lens. It makes the case for careful art exploring the implications of care aesthetics for participatory or applied arts. Then it argues for artful care and how an aesthetic orientation to care practices might challenge some of the inadequacies of contemporary care. This is a vital, paradigm-shifting book for anyone engaged with socially engaged arts or social and health care practices on an academic or professional level.”
The Language of Languages (The Africa List)
Ngũgĩ’ Wa Thiong’O
“This volume brings together for the first time Ngũgĩ’s essays and lectures about translation, written and delivered over the past two decades. Here we find Ngũgĩ discussing translation as a conversation between cultures; proposing that dialogue among African languages is the way to unify African peoples; reflecting on the complexities of auto-translation or translating one’s own work; exploring the essential task translation performed in the history of the propagation of thought; and pleading for the hierarchy of languages to be torn down. He also shares his many experiences of writing across languages, including his story The Upright Revolution, which has been translated into more than a hundred languages around the globe and is the most widely translated text written by an African author. At a time when dialogues between cultures and peoples are more essential than ever, The Language of Languages makes an outspoken case for the value of literature without borders.”
Visualizing Genocide: Indigenous Interventions in Art, Archives, and Museums
Yve Chavez and Nancy Marie Mithlo, editors
“The ‘G’ word is often omitted in mainstream conversations about Native American and Indigenous art. Yet, how Native artists grapple with this tragic legacy is one of the important and foundational aspects of contemporary art in the United States and elsewhere. The art of Native American and Indigenous artists challenges, among other things, the way history is taught and understood. From myths of extinction to contemporary difficulties to Native sovereignty, contemporary artists are addressing all these issues in fascinating ways. This book charts some of the recent projects that continue to supplement (or change, when they are allowed the opportunity) our contemporary art history in new and interesting ways.”
Images of Class: Operaismo, Autonomia, and the Visual Arts (1962–1988)
“Italy is quickly sliding into fascism once again, emboldening far-right groups to plot attacks and threaten any critics voicing opposition. Jacopo Galimberti’s Images of Class therefore feels essential to this moment. Hundreds of rare photos and artworks from the midcentury operaismo and autonomia movements reveal that Socialism with Italian characteristics was alive and well in the postwar era. Looking beyond Gramscian notions of ‘cultural hegemony,’ collectives like Archizoom and Gruppo Femminista Immagine produced rhetorical designs that blurred distinctions between image and text. Much of the agitprop presented here was widely disseminated across cities and provinces, so much so that the Italian state cracked down on anyone making art against the grain. Galimberti dutifully weaves a tapestry visualizing the two movements, from their early political cartoons to blueprints for social housing, while also critiquing the limits of their Eurocentrism. Through it all, this title illuminates how artists adeptly connected science and technology with class consciousness, drawing a through line to art workers’ organizing efforts today.”
Lastgaspism: Art and Survival in the Age of Pandemic
Anthony Romero, Daniel Tucker, and Dan S. Wang, editors
"Collecting interviews, critical essays and artist portfolios, Lastgaspism considers matters of life and death in relation to breath, both allegorical and literal. Bringing into mutual proximity the ecological, political, public health and spiritual crises of our time, this book considers the compounding nature of these events and their impact upon one another, illuminating how the act of gasping for breath is starkly exposing the either/or that stands before us: either we breathe or we die. Through aesthetic and socially engaged strategies of all kinds, cultural workers are responding to the most urgent issues in contemporary life. Lastgaspism offers a framework to help us make sense of the interlocked crises of the unfolding present and asks with critical optimism what can happen in this time of transition."
Katarzyna Grabska and Christina Clark-Kazak, editors
“Innovative in its use of arts-based methods, Documenting Displacement invites researchers to explore new avenues guided not only by the procedural ethics imposed by academic institutions, but also by a relational ethics that more fully considers the position of the researcher and the interests of those who have been displaced.”
Women in Wildfire Crises: Exploring Lived Experiences of Conflict through Forum Theatre
Lorenza B. Fontana, Angelo Miramonti and Caleb Johnston
A publication that emerged from the Playing with Wildfire “action-research project situated at the interface between theatre-based artistic practice and social science research. [Playing with Wildfire] uses a popular community theatre method called Forum Theatre to conduct social research and generate community-based responses to multi-layered conflicts (cultural, political, distributive, environmental) in communities most affected by recent extensive wildfires in Bolivia.”
Issue #2, 2023
“In this issue, we delve into the Rohingya community’s relationship with nature and their resilience in the face of harsh living conditions in the refugee camps. Forced to flee their homeland due to persecution and violence, the Rohingya had to quickly adapt to life in the camps, facing challenges with limited resources.”
Iran’s Cinema of Resistance
In this article in the Winter 2023 issue of Dissent, Kosravi traces ways in which Iranian cinema “captures the pulse of civilian life under the traumatic duress of dictatorship, and… reveals how close the people always are to revolution.”
Time is a Mother (poems)
“In this highly anticipated second poetry collection, Ocean Vuong ruminates on time. It becomes a character of its own, both an obstacle and motherly, something that can nurture and hold. Written in the aftermath of his mother’s death, Vuong’s poems are raw with grief and darkness, but there are radical moments of joy and resilience even through that. Through these poems, Vuong sings loud and clear of everything worth living for and discovering—just as vividly as he did in his critically acclaimed titles On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and Night Sky With Exit Wounds.” Review by Jeevika Verma, National Public Radio, “Books We Love.” Also, listen to an interview with poet Ocean Vuong on the radio program, “Fresh Air.”
Brotherless Night (novel)
“Jaffna, [Sri Lanka], 1981. Sixteen year old Sachi wants to become a doctor. But over the next decade, a vicious civil war tears through her home, and her dream spins off course as she sees her four beloved brothers and their friend K swept up in the mounting violence. Desperate to act, Sashi accepts K’s invitation to work at a field hospital, for the militant Tamil Tigers who, following years of state discrimination and violence, are fighting for a separate homeland for Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority. But after the Tigers murder one of her teachers and Indian peacekeepers arrive only to commit further atrocities, Sashi begins to question where she stands. When one of her medical school professors, a Tamil feminist and dissident, invites her to join a secret project documenting human rights violations, she embarks on a dangerous path that will change her forever. Set during the early years of Sri Lanka’s three-decade civil war, Brotherless Night is a heartrending portrait of one woman’s moral journey and a testament to both the enduring impact of war and the bonds of home.”
The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida (novel)
“Colombo, [Sri Lanka], 1990. Maali Almeida – war photographer, gambler, and closet queen – has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the serene Beira Lake and he has no idea who killed him. In a country where scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers, and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long, as the ghouls and ghosts with grudges can attest. But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to the photos that will rock Sri Lanka.”
At the Hour Between Dog and Wolf (novel)
“A story of a twelve-year-old Parisian Jewish girl in World War II France, living ‘in hiding’ as a Catholic orphan with a family in a small village. When Danielle Marton’s father is killed in the early days of the German Occupation, her mother sends her to live in a quiet farming town near Limoges in Vichy France. Now called Marie-Jeanne Chantier, Danielle struggles to balance the truth of what’s happened to her family and her country with the lies she must tell to keep herself safe. At first, she’s bitter about being left by her mother, and horrified at having to milk the cow and memorize Catholic prayers for church. But as the years pass and the Occupation worsens, Danielle finds it easier to suppress her former life entirely, and Marie-Jeanne becomes less and less of an act. By the time she’s fifteen and there is talk amongst the now divided town of an Allied invasion, not only has Danielle lost the memories of her father’s face and the smell of her mother’s perfume, but her very self, transforming into a devout Catholic—and an anti-Semitic, fervent disciple of fascism. A hauntingly beautiful novel about identity, At the Hour Between Dog and Wolf shows how a vulnerable mind can be tragically reshaped under the influence of extremist ideologies.”
Buffer Fringe Festival 2020: An Artist-Based Conflict Transformation Festival on the Fringes (January 2023)
Lee Perlman, PhD, and Meropi Moiseos
Although on the fringes of Cyprus' political and arts scenes, the Buffer Fringe Performing Arts Festival attempts to culturally dismantle the walls and barriers between the island's north and south. This study examines how the 2020 festival provided artists and live and online (global) audiences a platform to question sensitive historical grievances during the challenging first year of the global pandemic. The study questions how contentious the festival might or could be in its quest to transform the Cyprus conflict.
Art in Turmoil: Artistic Freedom and Human Rights in Latin America and the Caribbean (December 2022)
Artists at Risk Connection
“Art in Turmoil shares personal insights from key stakeholders in the field of artistic freedom on the main challenges artists and human rights defenders in the region face today, from repressive state and non-state actors to COVID-19. The report also provides tools and recommendations intended to help artists – and the organizations that support them – continue to create and defend artistic freedom, even in the face of growing adversity.”
We Have Always Had to Fight: African Artists on Human Rights and Artistic Freedom (November 2022)
Artists at Risk Connection
“African artists and human rights defenders face a troubling rise in restrictions on artistic freedom, exacerbated by recent military coups, political crises, flawed elections, and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those artists who push back, critique the status quo, or explore themes deemed social taboos are regularly targeted — forcing some to make the impossible choice between continuing their work in forced exile or remaining silent within their own communities.”
Imagining Better Futures for American Democracy (2022)
Suzette Brooks Masters and Ruby Hernandez
“Building a robust, high functioning pluralist democracy in the U.S. capable of ushering in better futures for Americans requires us to think boldly and move away from reaction, apathy, and surrender. The extraordinary times we live in, full of rapid change, uncertainty and possibility, call upon us to identify and lift up positive disruptors who dare to dream and imagine what could be.”
Communities Richer in Diversity
“The African Council of Religious Leaders-Religions for Peace, in joint partnership with the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) and Faith to Action (F2A) is implementing an EU funded program dubbed Communities Richer in Diversity (CRID). The objective of CRID is to promote cultural diversity and respect for equal dignity of all people. The project is being implemented in six countries i.e. Burundi, Egypt, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Its specific objective is to enhance understanding, tolerance and respect for cultural and religious diversity among 24,400 youth and women at risk of radicalisation. ACRL is documenting and cataloguing religious, cultural and educational and artistic experiences, methodologies, materials and tools with the aim of identifying available practices for scale-up and experience sharing. The end products are information and knowledge products packaged for dissemination in print and electronic channels including the Multi-Media Toolkit. The objective is to catalogue both the documented and un-documented practices.” See documentation of the work done by the Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance, as part of CRID, in promoting intergenerational and interfaith tolerance and understanding in Rabai, Kilifi County, Kenya.