Arena: Community Theatre and Public Art
2016 | Armenia
Peace Dialogue NGO and its German partner OWEN started a new project called "Arena: Community Theatre and Public Art" in the beginning of 2015. The aim of the project is to develop and enhance appropriate and effective Community Theatre and Public Art strategies for peace building and human rights activists from various former Soviet countries, including the Russian Federation, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Ukraine. Today the work of peace building and human rights activists in these regions has become more and more difficult. Apathy, fear and an underdeveloped level of critical thinking mark the mentioned conflict affected societies. The civil society groups and NGOs need greater public support to initiate a sustainable peace process. The work of the involved civil society groups in this project aims at empowering the society and creating a safe space for mutual dialogue across the conflict lines.
The concept of using art, films, and theatre in peace and human rights activism is not new. Various civil society groups in different parts of the world use media as a way to enable people to talk about human rights, democracy, and peace even in countries where free voices are restricted. Thanks to the ambivalence of aesthetic language, artwork is always open to interpretations and, in this way, it offers a democratic, flexible manner to set dialogical conversations in motion.
Two short animated cartoons "Stop Sniper" made by the project participants and local actions aimed at stressing out importance of the ceasefire:
Consequently, the project consists of various components: supporting civil society actors in the Post-Soviet-Era, providing tools for learning and analyzing their own experience, providing a safe, secure, and creative space for mutual dialogue and learning. The project implementation team believes that the experience, knowledge and creative skills, gained during the project will help in getting community support for the civil society actors’ efforts towards achieving justice and peace.