Over the last decade, reconciliation in the aftermath of violence has evolved from being a by-word for impunity, to being conceived of as a vital element in a society’s transition to sustainable peace. Despite the confidence that reconciliation is crucial to successful transition, there is, on the one hand, little consensus over what reconciliation means and how it is to be reached, and on the other, a growing sense that reconciliation has come to be defined by the liberal peacebuilding paradigm in which it was conceived, and as such offers only limited value to post-conflict/ authoritarian societies. It is clear, then, that there is a need to re-evaluate what reconciliation does, can, has and might mean as scholars continue to search for viable ways for introducing sustainable peace. In order to challenge what it is that is meant by the term ‘reconciliation’ and how this ‘goal’ is reached, the workshop brings together academics from a range of disciplines to explore hidden and forgotten moments of (non)reconciliation from a diverse range of historical and cultural contexts and from a variety of theoretical perspectives. Papers include explorations of reconciliation practices in Ancient Greece, the longue durée of (non)reconciliation in the aftermath of the English and American Civil Wars, the reverberations of the memory of violence with the Bolshevik revolution, the dynamic role of religion in reconciliatory moments, and the role of traditional reconciliation practices in East Africa.
Whilst the workshop is principally for those presenting papers, there are a limited number of spaces left for those interested in attending. Please firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Please join us for a lecture by the award winning landscape photographer, Simon Norfolk, on the politics of remembrance after WW1, based on his forthcoming documentary series Ricochet.
After the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 soldiers’ dead bodies were simply ‘shovelled into a hole and so forgotten.’ Even in the early months of the First World War the only names on casualty lists in newspapers were those of Officers. But by the war’s end in 1919 we had shifted to building hundreds of military cemeteries where every single soldier, down to the lowest Private, would be eternally remembered, in stone like a pharaoh. Elaborate ceremonies – this thing we call ‘Remembrance’ with a capital R – were manufactured to memorialise their deaths. The sheer number of dead and the brutal, industrialised meaninglessness of their dying called forth the greatest period of British cultural creativity of which you’ve never heard. This lecture (which is based series of documentary programmes) examines how that change came about and offers a hard-hitting polemic against the standard model of Remembrance that was created after the Great War. What’s wrong with pretty war cemeteries and cenotaphs and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier? Quite a lot, this lecture argues.
The lecture is a keynote address for an AHRC funded workshop, ‘Reconciliation Histories’ as part of Art&Reconciliation: Conflict, Culture and Community. The workshop explores forgotten and hidden moments of (non)reconciliation to challenge what it is that is meant be reconciliation and how it is to be achieved in the contemporary era. To this end, papers draw on diverse historical and cultural contexts, from responses to the Athenian wars, to the consequences of the reverberations of the memory of the Bolshevik revolution for Russian culture today. Whilst the workshop is principally for those presenting papers, there are a limited number of spaces left for those interested in attending. Please email email@example.com for more information.
Simon Norfolk is an award winning landscape photographer (including Prix Pictet, 2013) whose work over twenty years has been themed around a probing and stretching of the meaning of the word ‘battlefield’ in all its forms. As such, he has photographed in some of the world’s worst war-zones and refugee crises, but is equally at home photographing supercomputers used to design military systems or the test-launching of nuclear missiles. He has produced four monographs: ‘Afghanistan: Chronotopia’ (2002); ‘For Most Of It I Have No Words’ (1998); ‘Bleed’ (2005); and ‘Burke + Norfolk: Photographs from the War in Afghanistan’ (2011). He has been described by one critic as ‘the leading documentary photographer of our time. Passionate, intelligent and political; there is no one working in photography that has his vision or his clarity.’ His work has been shown globally, from The Getty (LA) to Tate Modern (London). For more info see https://www.simonnorfolk.com/
Dr Rachel Kerr will participate in a discussion at Norwich Cathedral on Saturday 11 November 2017 (11.00am – 4.00pm) around the exhibition, ‘Art Conflict & Remembering’. The exhibition explores non-sectarian murals about the Civil Rights movement and the Troubles in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland. For more information see here.
Venue: Norwich Cathedral
Date: 11 November 2017
Artist in residence, Milena Michalski, is participating in a panel discussion after a performance of the dance project, Remember. Remember has been produced by Candoco & the Soldiers Arts Academy, and the performance was created by a cast of veterans and young people.
Remember is a unique dance to commemorate the First World War choreographed by the award winning dance company Candoco and performed by veterans from recent conflicts from the Soldiers’ Arts Academy cic, War Studies students , young people and members of Candoco’s youth group, Cando2. The dance has been created to explore experiences, stories and objects from the First World War through the experiences of veterans from more recent conflicts and non military members of the community.
The performance is aprox. 25 mins and will be followed by an opportunity to hear from the perfomers and artists involved in making the work. The discussion will cover how objects are used to remember, the study of war and the experience war and the role of the arts in transition from military into civilian life.
Location: Anatomy Museum (6th Floor) King’s Building Strand Campus:
When: 07/11/2017 (18:30-20:00)
Artist in Residence, Milena Michalski, will feature in a new exhibition ‘Art on Conflict’ at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, as part of the Wake up to Woodstock Festival, curated to complement and reflect the themes of power, conflict and activism in Jenny Holzer’s show and night time projection at Blenheim Palace, SOFTER.
Milena will be showing several works created from 2012 to 2017, including a new iteration of her ongoing sculptural installation series,‘Two Towers’ and a unique print loaned by King’s College London.
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.
The WARM Festival is taking place in Sarajevo from 28 June to 2 July 2017.
Alongside, there will be a conference organised by Paul Lowe and Tiffany Fairey:
Why Remember? Memory and Forgetting in Times of War and Its Aftermath
30 June – 2 July
PARC, University of the Arts, London
Salem State University, Massachusetts, USA
and WARM Festival, Sarajevo, Bosnia
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?