Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate the opening of our exhibition, Reconcilations, at The Exchange, Bush House, King’s College London on 1 November 2018, and at the Knapp Gallery, Regent’s University London on 2 November 2018.
We had two wonderful evenings celebrating and discussing the work of all of the wonderful artists whose work is included in the exhibition, including Vladimir Miladinovic who managed to navigate the dreaded visa regime and come from Belgrade to help us install his beautiful series of ink drawings, Memoria Bosniaca, and Dejan Kaludjerovic, who designed a special display about his work, Marbles, for us to exhibit in London. We look forward to being able to exhibit the whole installation in Sarajevo in Reconciliations II later this year. We also saw Mladen Miljanovic’s rocket launcher in operation watering the gardens in Regent’s Quad!
Artists whose work is exhibited at the Knapp Gallery also joined us last night for a fascinating and insightful discussion about reconciliation and the artistic process. We heard from Lola Frost, Pam Skelton, Naresh Kaushai and Gunther Herbst and Emma Elliott about how they navigate contradictions and contestations in their work, and how the reconciliation of paradoxical and seemingly mutually exclusive positions could be managed but not, crucially, necessarily resolved.
We are very grateful to artist and undergraduate student in War Studies, Aryan Salazar-Volkmann, for designing a new logo for the project. Ari was recently awarded an King’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship to work with us on the Art and Reconciliation project over the summer.
“My name is Aryan Salazar Volkmann, I am currently studying International Relations at King’s College London. I grew up in Guatemala, Vietnam, Iran, Colombia, New York and El Salvador. My interest in both Art and Human Rights began in Iran; a country rich in culture and history – yet sadly also plagued by human right violations. My relationship to Art was built on rebellion there; we had friends who were artists and musicians that used their craft as political tools to express their dissent of the situation of their country. Colombia, similarly, had its own battles to pick – at the time it was still in a state of civil war. I visited many exhibitions and worked alongside various artists – and again I noticed a trend in the community using art as a language of criticism, of community and of unity. In New York I built on my experience in the development and justice sectors, whilst separately engaging in my own artwork. The two came together when I helped organise a painting exhibition orchestrated by ECPAT, aimed to raise funding for their cause. Nevertheless, El Salvador has been the first country in which I have witnessed art being harnessed as a legitimate tool within an institution I worked for: the World Food Program. It had launched a pilot project called ConectArte aimed at at-risk youth in areas of high violence.
It is only when I came to London however, that I began to see the possibility for an active academic commitment in between spheres dedicated to development, transitional justice, equity and reconciliation and the Arts. This is largely through my experiences with the Arts and Conflict Hub; and now, the Arts and Reconciliation collaborative project. I will be researching, transcribing data and documenting various cross-cultural country and institution-based case studies: my areas of focus are El Salvador, Guatemala, Turkey, Croatia and Vienna.”
You can read more about Ari’s inspiration for the design and her work on the project on her blog.
Denisa Kostovicova (Department of Government, London School of Economics) and Tom Paskhalis (Department of Methodology, London School of Economics), who is an LSE-based research assistant with the the AHRC-funded project, ‘Art & Reconciliation: Conflict, Culture and Community,’ presented the initial findings of their research investigating women’s contribution to reconciliation at the British International Studies Association (BISA) Annual Conference 2017 – 14-16th June 2017 – Brighton, Sussex, UK, contributing to BISA’s Critical Peace & Conflict Studies: Feminist Interventions.
Women Deliberators and Transitional Justice: What Kind of Voice?
The recent turn in the scholarship of transitional justice that studies how states and societies engage with the legacy of mass atrocity has been to investigate the women’s perspective on post-conflict justice. This welcome development in the field is part of an effort to investigate a paradox: transitional justice measures do not necessarily deliver either justice or reconciliation, which are their key aims, and, by contrast, often entrench injustice. The gender perspective has shone the light on blind spots in this scholarship that result in highly gendered masculinized versions of post-conflict justice. This paper furthers the study of women’s voice in post-conflict justice processes. It brings together the scholarship of transitional justice and the theory of deliberative democracy. Scholars of deliberative democracy have also highlighted inequalities in women’s participation in deliberation, concerning both the conditions for deliberation and the frequency of women’s contributions. This research tests and critiques the scholarly proposition of (in)visible women in the deliberation of transitional justice. It argues that more can be gleaned about women’s contribution to transitional justice from the analysis of the kind of voice women have and its implications for post-conflict rehabilitation. Is their contribution self-interested? Do they reach more across ethnic divides than men? Are their contributions more reconciliatory? The evidence is drawn from a comparative quantitative analysis of 1,211 statements of contributors during the deliberation of transitional justice in the Balkans.
On 7 June 2017, Henry Redwood, an ESRC-funded PhD candidate in the War Studies Department at King’s College London and as a research associate on the AHRC-funded project, ‘Art & Reconciliation: Conflict, Culture and Community,’ screened the film After the Fact, at the invitation of LSE’s Conflict Research Group, based at the Department of Government, LSE.
The film is based on a chapter of Henry Redwood’s doctoral research on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). It is a powerful attempt to present research in a new and thought-provoking way. His focus in this segment of his work how witnesses of war crimes encounter and experience international criminal justice, it means to witness an atrocity, the legitimacy of the current international criminal justice project. He argues that the process fails the witnesses, who often feel disappointed and betrayed by the entire process, as well as traumatised having to relive the abuse by retelling it.
During a discussion led by Dr Denisa Kostovicova, who is Associate Professor in Global Politics at the Department of Government, LSE, and co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project, ‘Art & Reconciliation: Conflict, Culture and Community,’ Henry Redwood elaborated on the value of art in the context of transitional justice, and the challenge of presenting academic research in an artistic form.
A lively discussion turned to questions not just about art and its role in opening a debate about difficult issues concerning the mass atrocity and violations of human rights, but also about the creative process. What is it like to translate the thesis into a film? One interesting point he made was that he felt that he had to elide lots of complexity — because of the time constraints and the medium. But, on the other hand, the medium – through sound, shots from the back, etc. also adds a different kind of subtlety and complexity. Also, Henry reflected on his work saying that his academic focus in on silences, and what is unsaid in the criminal trials — whereas he felt that through this creative process he himself was silenced as he could not express everything in such a short film — and in a way went through the same process as the witnesses he was studying.
On Monday 20 February, LSE’s Centre for Women, Peace and Security hosted a seminar by Dr Denisa Kostovicova (Department of Government) and Tom Paskhalis (Department of Methodology) on ‘Women Deliberators and Post-conflict Justice: What Kind of Voice?’
The Centre for Women, Peace and Security, London School of Economics and Political Science
20 February 2017
Women Deliberators and Transitional Justice: What Kind of Voice?
Denisa Kostovicova (Department of Government, London School of Economics and Political Science) and Tom Paskhalis (Department of Methodology, London School of Economics and Political Science)
This first exploratory paper, part of the LSE’s programme of research of the ‘Art and Reconciliation: Conflict, Culture and Community’ project, addressed the role of women in reconciliation. The recent turn in the scholarship on transitional justice that studies how states and societies engage with the legacy of mass atrocity has been to investigate the women’s perspective on post-conflict justice. This welcome development in the field is part of an effort to investigate a paradox: transitional justice measures do not necessarily deliver either justice or reconciliation, which are their key aims, and, by contrast, often entrench injustice. The gender perspective has shone the light on blind spots in this scholarship that result in highly gendered masculinized versions of post-conflict justice. This paper furthers the study of women’s voice in post-conflict justice processes, by overcoming the silence-voice dichotomy in theorising women’s contribution to peace-building. It brings together the scholarship of transitional justice and the theory of deliberative democracy. Scholars of deliberative democracy have also highlighted inequalities in women’s participation in deliberation, concerning both the conditions for deliberation and the frequency of women’s contributions. We argue that more can be gleaned about women’s contribution to transitional justice understanding the ‘kind’ of voice women have in these processes by investigating the women’s role in the RECOM, which is the unique regional civil society justice-seeking initiative in the Balkans. We combine quantitative content analysis and quantitative text analysis to answer the following questions: Can women deliberate as capably as men? Do they use more stories than men? Are their contributions more reconciliatory?
King’s College London Cultural Institute are running a series of workshops and launching a funding scheme for higher education/cultural sector collaborations in collaboration with the Faculty of Arts & Humanities at King’s College London and the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement.
Members of the Art & Reconciliation project are excited to be participating in this new scheme, which aims to support innovative approaches to co-research between King’s academics and our partners in the arts, culture and heritage sector. In distinction to collaborations that focus on extending the reach or impact of existing research, or conducting research on or on behalf of a partner, the focus here is on providing opportunities to co-develop a research agenda; co-create new research; and build and sustain a shared community of research.
A programme of workshops and themed salons will provide an introduction to the key principles and methodologies of co-research; opportunities for cross-sector networking; and a facilitated environment for collaborative ideas generation. This will be followed by a funding scheme offering up to £5,000 for up to five teams to cover a pilot project or collaborative R&D leading to a joint grant application.
The project’s official start date was 1 December 2016, and we launched with a panel discussion at the Sixth Annual Conference of the Historical Dialogues, Justice and Memory Network, NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam, December 1-3, 2016: ‘Confronting Violent Pasts and Historical (In)Justice’.
Dialogues of justice and reconciliation: the experience of the former Yugoslavia.
When the ICTY was established, in May 1993, it was with the expectation that it would contribute to the restoration and maintenance of international peace and security. Twenty-three years later, and with its work now drawing to a close, attention is focused on whether it has been successful in achieving its goals. Certainly, the ICTY can boast a record of considerable achievements in terms of the number of people prosecuted and its reach into the most senior political and military leadership; it has also made enormously significant contributions to international law through its considerable jurisprudence. But what of its contribution to processes of coming to terms in the region where the crimes under its jurisdiction were committed? In particular, to what extent is the judicial legacy translatable to a ‘historical record’? Given the contention surrounding some of its more recent judgments, the relationship between a judgment and ‘history’ is all the more acute. And what is the relationship between the ICTY and its record and the development of historical memory and discourses of justice and reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia? The panel addressed these questions by focusing on certain aspects of the historical record created in key trials, and by turning the focus around to investigate how justice and reconciliation is practiced and understood locally.
James Gow (King’s College London) presented part of his Leverhulme Major Fellowship research on ‘The Mladić Trial and the Legacy of the Yugoslavia Tribunal: Military Command and Responsibility at Srebrenica’ and Denisa Kostovicova (London School of Economics) discussed her Leverhulme-funded research on discourses of reconciliation: ‘Regional Reconciliation: Testing the RECOM initiative in the Western Balkans’. We were also joined by Iva Vukusic (Utrecht University), who presented her research on ‘Paramilitaries on trial: Examples from the former Yugoslavia’. The panel was chaired by Rachel Kerr (King’s College London).