Art Can Unite. ARENA: Summer School

July 20, 2016
Video: © 2016, Peace Dialogue, “ARENA: Summer School for Peace and Art ” Film

Can artistic means be used in human rights protection?
Deutsche Botschaft TiflisThe participants of the ARENA Summer School for Peace and Art, held in Borjomi from July 7 to July 16, 2016, gave an unequivocal “yes” to this question. In the end of the summer school the participants from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Russia and Lebanon presented their products prepared during the theater, comics and video seminars. The audience, including Mónica Lenharde, Deputy Head of Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany to Georgia, was impressed by the expressiveness and social significance of the products.
The summer school is part of the three-year project ARENA: Community Theatre and Public Art initiated by Peace Dialogue NGO in cooperation with its German partner OWEN e.V. The project is supported by the zivik (Civil Conflict Resolution program) of the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa) with funds from the German Federal Foreign Office.
Embassy of Germany in Tbilisi, Georgia

The participants of the Summer School for Peace and Art organized by Peace Dialogue NGO and its German partner OWEN from July 7 to July 16, 2016 learned about how art can mobilize people for peace.

The inaugural ARENA: Summer School for Peace and Art was held this year in Borjomi, Georgia. During the Summer School a group of 47 activists, independent artists and trainers from 9 different countries including the Russian Federation, Netherlands, Armenia, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Italy, Ukraine, Georgia, and Germany worked in three groups: theatre, graphic design and video.

The Summer School was organized under the scope of the three-year project ARENA: Community Theatre and Public Art launched in 2015. ARENA aims to empower civil society representatives of former Soviet Union and Eastern partnership countries and the Russian Federation to work together to develop creative approaches, new methods and activities in the field of human rights and peace building. In other words, ARENA is aimed at strengthening the impact of peace building on both the regional and community levels.

“This is a wonderful opportunity! For many of us (participants) it was the first time we have ever met people like us but from other countries. In meeting them we learned a lot about the conflicts in their society and about the current situation and the pain people have...” – Kasem Istanbouli.

The Summer School provided an opportunity for representatives of conflict affected societies to come together to create art products aimed at building more democratic societies that present alternatives to the militarization, propaganda, injustice and the other issues in these societies.

For many participants the most important aspect of the Summer School was the opportunity of meet each other and make friends with people who share the same ideas.

“This is a wonderful opportunity! For many of us (participants) it was the first time we have ever met people like us but from other countries. In meeting them we learned a lot about the conflicts in their society and about the current situation and the pain people have. The most important thing I noticed it is very easy to communicate. There are no barriers. It was like a family, I felt very comfortable. We could understand each other even without a translator; we could feel each others’ emotions.”– Kasem, the head of the “Cinema Al Hamra” theatre in Tir, Lebanon, shared his impressions about the Summer School.

The posters, short videos, films and theatre performances made during the Summer School will be available for the communities of the participants to use as tools for organizing public discussions on their societies’ problems, developing leadership skills, and promoting and activating other community members so that they too can become more active and engaged citizens.

The participants are hopeful that the skills gained during the Summer School will be useful and effective in their daily work.

“All of the seminars we have been organizing in the past are typical and similar to others we have done. I want to organize something more interesting this time.  About 250 people apply to participate in the events of our organization, however in the end only half of these people stay and the number of really active people of the group is usually only about 10-15. For half a year this number is really small. When we look at the reason for this we ask the participants and they say that there is no diversity, nothing interesting in the seminars, therefore it does not touch them. I came here with a hope that what I learn here about the theatre will interest them more.”– says Alyona Fursova, who is responsible for the human rights education at Human Rights Open School in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The next step in the project following the Summer School will be in organizing experience sharing projects between the participants. This will take place when the representative group of one country develops a project for organizing it in another country involved in the ARENA project. The two most promising projects that fit the project goals will be funded. In this stage the participants will have an opportunity to learn and support each other, share knowledge and establish stronger ties.

Тhe videos and graphic works made during the Summer School are attached to this article.

Dana Kaveli

Dana Kaveli (Ukraine), “I will find my dad”. (pdf, Russian)

Dana Kaveli (Ukraine), “I will find my dad”. (pdf, English)

Roman Aleksandrov

Roman Aleksandrov (Russian Federation), “Achoch & Machoch”. (pdf, Russian)

Roman Aleksandrov (Russian Federation), “Achoch & Machoch”. (pdf, English)

Nikita Afanasiev

Nikita Afanasiev (Russian Federation), “Don’t foot!!!”. (pdf, Russian)

Nikita Afanasiev (Russian Federation), “Don’t foot!!!”. (pdf, English)

rostom_comic

Rostom Zarandia (Georgia), “Colorful noise”. (pdf, Russian)

Rostom Zarandia (Georgia), “Colorful noise”. (pdf, English)

andrey_comic

Andrey Lazarenko (Russian Federation), “My story is not about me”. (pdf, Russian)

Andrey Lazarenko (Russian Federation), “My story is not about me”. (pdf, English)

For more details, please contact Peace Dialogue NGO at mailbox@peacedialogue.am or call +37432221340


© 2016. Summer School for Peace and Art was held in the framework of the Project ARENA: Community Theatre and Public Art of Peace Dialogue NGO (Armenia).

owenThe Project’s German Partner – OWEN – Mobile Akademie für Geschlechterdemokratie und Friedensförderung e.V.

 

paxlogobw900The Project’s partner in the Netherlands – PAX

 

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The project “Arena: Community Theatre and Public Art” is supported by the zivik (Civil Conflict Resolution) programme of the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa) with means from the German Federal Foreign Office.

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MIC_logoThe Project’s media products have been created with the technical assistance of the Media Initiatives Centre NGO (Armenia).