Introduction

Art, Violent Conflict, and Displacement

in Conflict and Society
Author:
Katarzyna Grabska Senior Researcher, PRIO Centre on Culture and Violent Conflict, Norway

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Cindy Horst Codirector, PRIO Centre on Culture and Violent Conflict, Norway

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1022-2585

Abstract

Violent conflict and displacement reconfigure societies in abrupt, dramatic, and often contradictory ways. Power relations are often shaken up, with new social hierarchies emerging. Artists play a central role in periods of uncertainty and volatility, both as commentators of events and as inspirators for change. This special section explores the role of art practice in transformation in contexts of violent conflict and displacement. The articles focus on artists that either create in the context of oppression and control or respond to these contexts by creating spaces of resistance, life in and with violent conflict, transformation, and inspiration. The articles discuss a range of initiatives and artistic practices that take place in a variety of contexts, from artists involved in societal transformation in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Syria, to artists working in Palestine, Chad, Sri Lanka, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Violent conflict and displacement reconfigure societies in abrupt, dramatic, and often contradictory ways. Power relations are often shaken up, with new social hierarchies emerging. Customs and norms may become uncertain, and futures once taken for granted may be thrown into doubt (Grabska 2014; Horst 2006; Lubkemann 2010). At the same time, in such an uncertain and turbulent situation, potential exists for creativity, innovation, and societal transformation (Horst and Grabska 2015). Artists play a central role in periods of uncertainty and volatility, both as commentators of events and as inspirators for change. As Lee Anne Bell and Dipti Desai (2011: 287) argue, “the arts are a particularly potent way to activate imagination and a broader understanding of injustice, its consequences and the range of alternative possibilities.” In general, art “plays a formative role in the constitution of social life, in the ways in which people take responsibility for creating their own histories, for participating in the management of their own social and political realities” (Heble 2000: 78). Much of the existing literature has focused on the role of the arts in fostering social cohesion and community trauma recovery (Broderick and Traverso 2013; Bergh and Sloboda 2010) and the role of popular culture as a form of representation in knowledge production (Dankoff 2011; Lewis et al. 2008). Existing research on art and artists in times of war and displacement illustrates that art can both construct or reconstruct dominant narratives, as well as question or unsettle them (Krašek 2002; Magowan and Hastings 2019; Roos 2010; Zinn 2003).

In this special section, we engage critically with the idea that art plays a role in individual, communal, and societal transformations in contexts of violent conflict and displacement. The articles discuss a range of initiatives and artistic practices that take place in a variety of contexts, from artists involved in societal transformation in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Syria, to artists working in Palestine, Chad, Sri Lanka, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The authors in this special section analyze these creative practices within the political contexts in which they emerge, historically and contemporarily. Murray Edelman (1995) argues that politics builds on art just as much as art is guided by political values and discourses. There is no form of artistic expression that does not rely on such values and discourses, even when the artist's intention is not political in nature. Thus, as Frank Möller (2016) notes, “art can be understood as a form of, or contribution to, political discourse; as a descriptive, interpretive, or explicitly critical approximation; or as a vehicle with which to transcend the political.”

In this special section, we engage with art that we see as both political and “critical.” As Möller (2016) argues, “art is political if it complicates, not simplifies,” and if it “extends the thread of recognition and understanding beyond what previously was seen and known” (cited in Elderfield 2006: 4). These reinterpretations help reveal existing power relations within society, determining what previously was known and what was deemed worthy of creative exploration in the first place and identifying what previously was not seen and therefore not known, including identification of what should be seen or known (Möller 2016). There is therefore both a critical and moral ingredient in much of creative practice. Concurrently, artistic practice and artists may also attempt to contribute to political change (Erjavec 2015). There has been much written about art for social change (Mesch 2013). Moreover, artists may be political without attempting to be political (even though art cannot but be political), whereas those artists who want to exert political influence may fail (Möller 2016).

Besides the political, the article contributors also display an interest in what Jacques Rancière (2000) referred to as “critical art”: “an art that aims to produce a new perception of the world and therefore create a commitment to its transformation.” Some creative practice creates ruptures when it introduces new sensations, ideas, and forms of life to people's perceptions and experiences, broadening the nature of societal and political discourse. For the artists and art to be engaged in transformative processes, the art needs to penetrate the veneer of certainty in a dominant social order, to open up a different way of seeing. According to Rancière, this is a relational process where the artist, the art, and the audience work out meanings through co-creative practice. The history of the contemporary artivism, especially performative forms, can be traced back to the experimental art forms developed in the 1960s, including the theater of the oppressed by Agosto Boal developed between 1993 and 1996, the situationism (Debord 1967), and the Fluxus.

We do not understand art only to refer to finished products such as painting or novels. Rather, we are looking at artistic practice that includes both the process and the outcomes. Vlad Glăveanu (2017) argues that “artistic practice opens up the space of the possible, the space of imagination and creativity, where reality becomes malleable and multiple.” We include in this discussion a variety of creative practices, such as slam poetry, paintings, drawings, hip-hop dance, music, theater, photography, and film. We agree with Glăveanu that just focusing on the product risks getting lost in normative discussions about aesthetic value and high art versus the rest. Focusing on the process of art creation, on the other hand, allows us to explore crucial moments of creativity and inspiration by asking to what extent an artistic process (or product) can open up spaces for thought, and to provide alternatives to dominant public discourses. Creative practice then carries within it the capacity to make us wonder, question, and rethink. Of particular interest are experiences of wonder that can lead audience, not only artists, to new understandings or insights about the social world, their place, and possibilities to act within it. They nurture, even if in small, sometimes unperceivable ways, the political imagination (Harrebye 2015).

To create means to act in and on the world in ways that are considered novel and meaningful by the creator and/or by other people. Essentially, creative action places in dialogue different perspectives on the world, oneself, and others. It reflects on the differences between different perspectives and uses these differences to generate new ideas, objects, practices, and so on. Creativity, according to this definition, is not about ideas but about actions that are flexible enough to articulate multiple perspectives on reality (Glăveanu 2015, 2017). This approach assumes that we are not fixed in particular positions but can reposition ourselves. While it can bring new insights, creative action requires three things: the differences in perspectives need to be (1) acknowledged, (2) valued, (3) acted on and placed in dialogue. If one is just stuck in one's own perspective or larger, dominant societal perspectives, one is likely to merely reproduce the status quo and not add anything creative and new. These ideas link directly to the ways in which artists working in conflict settings engage with societal transformations through their artistic practice. They are hence central to understanding the different ways creative practice has been employed in conflict settings, as presented by contributors to our special section.

This special section explores the role of art practice in transformation in contexts of violent conflict and displacement. The articles focus on artists that either create in the context of oppression and control or respond to these contexts by creating spaces of resistance, transformation, and inspiration. The individual articles focus on the three key themes that also structure this introduction. First, the articles explore different roles that art plays in such contexts, which include self-expression, resistance, a way of life in conflict, and a quest for ethics of recognition. Second, the articles explore how the different art forms relate to space and time. Here, themes of interest include the interlinkages with artistic practice as a space and as taking place in a specific space, as well as with history and individual and collective memory and the future-oriented potential to imagine and envision alternatives to present-day realities. Third, several of the articles analyze the alternative forms of knowing that particular art forms bring into focus, through a range of sensory experiences, embodied knowledge, and possibilities of cocreation of knowledge. By addressing these three central themes, the articles in this special section draw attention to the unique ways in which artists and creative practices can and at times do engage with resistance and transformation. They also urge us to see artistic practice as central to maintaining a sense of life and contributing to restoring humanity in contexts of violent conflict and repression.

Collective Cocreation of Knowledge and the Writing of the Introduction

This special section has been many years in the making and builds on our personal interests and research1 (Grabska 2022a, 2022b; Grabska and Aziz 2019; Horst 2020) as well as a range of inspiring exchanges that took place in 2017, 2018, and 2019, organized by the editors. In August 2017, we took part in a meeting of the Peace and Conflict Studies in Anthropology (PACSA) network in Amsterdam, with a panel on storytelling methods in studying and representing war and displacement.2 We asked in what ways these methods reveal different understandings of the temporal and spatial aspects of displacement. What are the challenges in designing such research, and what type of insights can we develop as researchers? What are the limits in using a storytelling approach? How is this approach a way of excavating both hidden agency and power hierarchies in displacement?

We built on this panel a year later, in July 2018, at the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration conference in Thessaloniki, with a panel on “Displaced Narratives: Storytelling in Displacement and Forced Migration.” We argued that stories inform the actions of human beings and impact where they are moving, individually and as a society. Individuals—including researchers and their informants—activate new stories that transport others to new points of view and can change meaning, action, and thus the future. Contributors3 used innovative artistic, visual, and narrative methods such as film and performance, photography, literature and poetry, and the traditional life history method to research and analyze displaced populations’ own experiences of inclusion and exclusion during forced migration and exile.

This panel led to the publication of a book on methods (Grabska and Clark-Kazak 2022) and an idea for another workshop that took place a year later, which focused more on the transformative potential of art in war and exile. During the next PACSA conference, held in Belfast in October 2019 and entitled Creativity, Resistance and Hope: Towards an Anthropology of Peace, we organized a panel and workshop on art, violent conflict, and displacement. We wished to explore the ways in which artists can play a central role in periods of uncertainty and openness, both as commentators of events and as inspirators for change. Presenters4 discussed a range of creative practice and arts, including slam poetry, dance, film, short stories, visual arts, theater, and music.

We followed up the panel with a one-day workshop with the panel participants to explore the themes that came out of the panel discussion through participatory methods. We used both individual reflection and collective group work to develop a shared understanding of these key themes, listening to each participant share their reflections, discuss and ask questions, and then attempt to cluster these reflections and discussions into central themes. This half-day exercise enabled us, the editors, to develop the key themes for our special section and write this introduction. Although the introduction has been written by the two of us, we wish to acknowledge the cocreated nature of the insights we present here and to thank all participants in the various panels we organized, and particularly the panel and workshop participants in Belfast, for the work we did together that helped us gain the insights we present here. It is a collective endeavor and would not have been possible without everyone's active participation and commitment.

Roles of Art in Contexts of Violent Conflict and Displacement

Artistic expressions can have a wide range of functions for the individual and for collectives in society—not least during violent conflict and oppression. Artists play a central role in periods of uncertainty and liminality as commentators of events, producers of particular certainties through folklore and propaganda, but also as inspirators for change. These issues have been widely explored in cultural studies, anthropology of arts and literature studies, but much less so in anthropology of conflict and peace. In times of war, the arts form an important part of propaganda efforts, contributing to the national story of a just cause and an evil or subhuman enemy (e.g., Basilio 2014; Roos 2010; Zinn 2003). National governments, including repressive ones, take great pride in excelling in the arts and sciences (Goldfarb 2006) as a way to build ideas of “national culture” and identity. Yet art is also a space for resistance and resilience (Magowan and Hastings 2019) during times of repression and violent conflict, and this is where our interest lies. We are, however, fully aware that these terms are contested and problematic. The contributors in this special section show the complexities of these terms and, by doing so demonstrate, a deromanticized and nuanced understanding of creative practice in such contexts as a way of life in violent conflict.

Creative practice may provide a space for individual and collective self-expression, it may be seen as the only space open for resistance in repressive contexts or the best way to bring marginalization and injustice into focus, and it can contribute to processes of individual and collective coming to terms with the human consequences of violent conflict and displacement. While we will discuss each of these functions in contexts of violent conflict and displacement here, it is crucial to highlight the aesthetic nature of art, as art is also importantly created for its own sake (Roos 2010; Schneider and Wright 2010). As Violaine Roussel (2007: 383) argues, “showing that ‘political art’ is art (and that all art is political) might have been an issue in the 1960s or 1970s too, but then it was something to fight for (Felshin 1995), whereas now committed artists tend to struggle not to be classified under that category, to prove that they just do art.” Although there is a space for the politically conscious and intellectual work of contemporary “avant-garde” in art, the antiwar “political artists” who want to reach a mass audience have more trouble finding places to show an art that is intended to be more of a way of life in conflict, a way of coping with conflict, rather than always read as resistance. Moreover, in the face of war and destruction, or maybe especially in such times, only focusing on creating something beautiful is vital. As Nancy Adler and Linda Ippolito (2016: 57) argue, “music reminds us that there is life beyond war, humanity beyond degradation, beauty beyond ugliness.” Creative practice is also for many a way of life in violent conflict and displacement, a way to deal with it and live through it.

Self-expression

Creative practice can offer a crucial space for self-expression that allows the individual to explore their individuality. It can offer a level of freedom from everyday restrictions and the limited space to move in the outside world (Christophersen 2020). It can also be a crucial space to escape hardships by moving inside oneself, going inside a safe, private, “secret floor” as explored in the movie Being John Malkovich. Whether through dancing, painting, writing, making music, or any other creative practice, it opens up a space where one can explore individuality, who one is, and what one believes in (Christophersen 2020). This sense of connecting with something inside oneself and then bringing this into expression, reconciling inward imperatives and outward constraints, according to Michael D. Jackson, (2016) is a crucial way through which our lives become meaningful.

The process of inner discovery that is enabled in this way at the same time is always intersubjective already. Both creating and “consuming” art emerge from and contribute to the fabric of social life (Manresa and Glăveanu 2017). One's unique individuality is shaped by intersubjective experiences and conventions, and exploring it can shape forms of belonging or ways of becoming. Exploring one's unique self simultaneously is about understanding where one feels belonging, and individual and collective identities thus intertwine. This is particularly evident when one's personal exploration of individuality shifts from being private to becoming public as the creative practice or artistic product is shared with others. Art ultimately serves to connect the inner world of the artist with its outer world, engaged in through intersubjective relations (Jackson 2016). This process of self-expression requires courage, as many have pointed out (Arendt 1960; Bauhn 2003).

Creative practice in the contexts of oppression, war, and conflict is a way of “becoming” through self-expression. The idea of becoming is linked to the fluidity and nonlinear becoming as explored by Stuart Hall (1991). That becoming is relational as it takes place in relation to the audience. As Sara Christophersen (this issue) highlights, the expressive space is a space for negotiation and tension. This is particularly the case in contexts where the space for expressing individuality is repressed, such as in authoritarian regimes or during violent conflict. Inserting oneself in the world this way easily obtains a political character in contexts of violent conflict and repression, where the public expression of alternative perspectives is not tolerated and often highly dangerous (Horst and Lysaker 2021). One may argue that this process is always seen as political for those who are speaking from marginalized perspectives, experiences, or positionalities (Young 1989). Ultimately, insisting on self-expression contributes to plurality: if all individuals are to express themselves freely and be able to share their creative forms of self-expression with others, a diversity of experiences, feelings, and perspectives that exists in society will become visible.

These and other ideas on self-expression are explored by the authors in this Special Section. For example, Sara Christophersen analyzes how young male hip-hoppers in Palestine stretch the social and pollical restrictions. Through dancing, the dance artists encounter a different way of expressing themselves, through their bodies. They find that connecting with oneself, tuning into the body and senses, is a way to discover who they are and find a channel to express themselves through, showing themselves to the world. In her article presenting the approach and the work of Cambodian exiled filmmaker Rithy Panh, Kasia Grabska shows how filmmaking became a way of life, a way of freedom, for him—a way to express himself in his quest to reconstitute humanity. Grabska shows how making film and multimedia installations allows Rithy Panh to express his own creativity and use it to narrate personal and collective experiences of exile and genocide. Rithy Panh says upfront that making films became the only way for him to stay alive, to be free, to demonstrate that despite the death around him during the genocide in Cambodia he is still alive.

The slam poet Djemi, in the article by Mirjam de Bruijn, celebrates slam as a way in which she finally has become the free woman she wants to be. More generally, de Bruijn describes the slam scene in Chad as a constructive force where young people can express themselves within a society that places severe limitations on free expression. She also argues that engaging in slam, as identity poetry, further shapes the artists. Cindy Horst introduces Monirah Hashemi's creative work with young women in Afghanistan, which Monirah describes in terms of her wish to enable these women to express themselves freely in a context where they are “closed into themselves” and restricted by a host of red lines and boundaries. Diala Brisly in the same article describes how the Syrian civil uprising created the space that allowed her and other artists to express themselves freely, stating that she has much to say and that her creative artwork provides her with a language to do so.

Resistance and Art as a Way of Life in Violent Conflict

Artistic interpretation can be disruptive to mainstream perceptions of realities, and in fact, we have seen much of such disruptive artistic production being closely documented by mainstream media in the Arab uprisings (Demerdash 2012; Shilton 2013), in the recent uprisings in Sudan (Grabska and Aziz 2019), and currently in Myanmar. Much of such artistic practice has been predominantly seen as resistance. Resistance to dominant representations can lead to creative acts that are a form of self-expression that oppose such dominant representations. Resistance from this perspective can be understood as a “social and individual phenomenon, a constructive process that articulates continuity and change, and as an act oriented towards an imagined future of different communities” (Awad et al. 2017). Inspired by such a perspective to resistance, social change then is understood as a process that is deeply grounded in changes in understandings of collective symbols, narratives, and meanings (Awad and Wagoner 2015, 2017; Magowan and Donnan 2019). This again shows the intersubjective and relational nature of resistance and social change: By proposing a certain (creative) vision of self, other, and world, creative processes engage the normativity of a social context and question it. In doing so, it becomes more than a personal form of creativity and opens the possibility for thinking of our social conditions and, in consequence, for social change (Felshin 1995; Manresa and Glăveanu 2017; Roussel 2007; Roussel and Lechaux 2010).

In times where there is very little space for alternative societal narratives, as is the case in authoritarian states, cultural production may offer one of the few spaces where resistance can be practiced. The interpretation of artistic expression can be multiple. Engaging with art can simultaneously connect to memories, embodied experiences, imagination, and visions of an alternative future. Artistic expression provides room for nuanced critique through “hidden scripts,” while having the potential to inspire audiences in multiple ways. In authoritarian contexts, creative practice can at times reveal a subterranean movement that challenges dominant discourse and symbolizes a culture of resistance (Adams 2002; Awad 2020; Rancière 2004). In all this, the dynamic between artist, art and audience is important.

Moreover, in more general contexts of war and violent conflict, or situations that lead up to war, art and creative practices can play crucial roles in society. One of its key functions is that it can document the human consequences of war in a range of ways, thus bringing these consequences into focus both for those directly affected and international audiences. Different art forms can do this in different ways, for example, using symbolism and indirect means that allow the audience to continue watching and engaging with themes and realities, which direct footage of war scenes at times cannot do. Art and creative practice can thus play a crucial role in not only communicating information but also fostering emotions that activate rather than leading audiences to disengage. Art can also play a crucial role in framing the narrative about war and its human consequences (Adams 2002), a fact that those waging war have made active use of for centuries.

Yet, what our articles in this special section demonstrate is the importance of careful engagement with what we as researchers read into actions in places/times characterized by oppression, where space of freedom of expression and movement is very limited. What the articles about hip-hop dancers in Palestine (Christophersen, this issue), music programs in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Sri Lanka (Howell and Korum, this issue), Chad slam musicians (de Bruijn, this issue), an exiled Cambodian filmmaker (Grabska, this issue), and an Afghan theater producer and Syrian visual artist (Horst, this issue) clearly show is that as much as art might at times be considered and read as resistance, the artistic practice for the artists themselves is also or at times only a form of persistence and coping mechanism. Put simply, art practice is a way of life in situations where individuals try to come to terms with the human consequences of violent conflict and with the remains of war. We agree with Hetty Malcomson (2019: 47), who, based on her ethnography study of women hip-hop artists in Mexico, emphasizes, “we must take an anti-essentialist approach to notions of resistance, ensuring that we neither essentialise the resistant subject nor the values attached to sites of resistance.”

This nuanced take on reading small acts as resistance comes from the critique of readings of resistance epitomized and propelled by Michel Foucault's (1979) History of Sexuality and James Scott's (1985) Weapons of the Weak. As Lila Abu-Lughod (1990) rightfully warned us, there is a danger in romanticizing resistance in looking at small acts and sites of struggle. Abu-Lughod points to different sites of resistance and effectively shows how resistance to some forms of oppressive power might at the same time maintain other systems of power (e.g., in gender relations). This point is important in entangling the alternative narratives that are being created by artists, and how they are being received by diverse audiences. Rayya El Zein, for example, developed the critique of the reading of cultural production as resistance in the Middle East, arguing that researchers often rely on the liberal conceit of the sacred rights of the individual to express, bemoaning the censorship of this expression by other powers and celebrating the creative power of individual dissent (2017: 94). We agree with Malcomson that “when interrogating the complexity of dissent, we must attend to whether universalist notions of the individual, freedom, creativity and resistance are circulating or otherwise, and what is being elided” (2019: 47).

Contributors to this special section carefully examine the acts and actions of the artists and provide multilayered readings of the meaning of their artistic practice. Christophersen's careful analysis of hip-hop dancers in Palestine demonstrates how dance becomes an everyday practice of survival and personal limited freedom of the body in the context of occupation and violence. She shows how dance offered these hip-hop dancers new ways of seeing and navigating the almost paralyzing sense of political and social restrictions they encounter in their lives. Christophersen argues that the practice of dance created a possibility for movement, both literally and symbolically in their everyday lives, providing a space where it was possible to make a difference to both oneself and others. She also emphasizes that dancing is a way to stretch the body under the occupation, to live with the occupation through the body. Similarly, for Gillian Howell and Solveig Korum, understanding creativity as a space of agency (Kappler 2014), helps recognize the individual and collective agentic qualities of music in the music programs they study in Bosnia and Sri Lanka. They also show the way in which playing music for the participants of music classes was a way of living with the everyday remains of the violent conflict.

De Bruijn carefully balances between, on the one hand, recognizing slam as a public form of resistance for youth, showing societal engagement, while at the same time illustrating the balancing act that young slam poets engage in in Chad, considering the limited freedom of expression they have and the risks involved in openly speaking up against power. Writing poems and performing slam is also a way for many young people, as de Bruijn shows, a way to live under duress of the everyday political conflict. Slam becomes a way of life for these young musicians in nuanced ways. Horst describes how Syrian visual artist Diala Brisly and Afghan theater producer Monirah Hashemi creatively engage with their art to counter political realities and social restrictions. Hashemi has written plays and produced community theater on taboo subjects, while also training young women to express themselves through theatre performance. Brisly creates beautiful artwork that expresses the human consequences of the Syrian civil war and murals that portray a sense of beauty and normality in refugee schools, while also holding creative workshops for Syrian children in Lebanon. These are all examples of how these artists civically engage through their art and challenge existing realities.

Rithy Panh's narrative presented by Grabska emphasizes how making film was a way to stay alive for the filmmaker. Artistic practice as Rithy Panh emphasizes is much more complex than political practice of raising awareness. He says clearly that “what is important in all artistic forms is to pass a message that a choice exists, that we can transform things and situations.” Thus, making films for him is an art of making possibilities and reasserting choices.

The Quest for Ethics of Recognition through Artistic Practice

The literature on the important effects on mental well-being and coping of creative practice is extensive, and squarely situated in psychological approach that draw on arts-based therapy. At the same time, a broader social science literature explores the effects of art and creative practice in “dark times.” Studies on the Holocaust, for example, have explored the crucial role of maintaining a semblance of normality under extreme and dehumanizing conditions, and the same has been observed in a range of brutal civil wars. Nechama Tec (2003) explains how cultural and intellectual pursuits were integral parts of Jewish ghetto life during World War II and enabled its residents to be transported away from poverty and hunger into a more meaningful, dignified world. These were attempts at reasserting humanity. Exploring the work of musicians, Adler and Ippolito (2016: 52) argue that for many of the individuals and collectives they describe, who continue to make music during war or collaboratively across political dividing lines in former Yugoslavia, Palestine, and Cyprus, it is true that “in these ugly times, the only true protest is beauty.” This is certainly the case when such beauty is created collectively across political, ideological, and geographical divides, irrespective of political realities.

While maintaining a sense of beauty and humanity through continued self-expression is a crucial function of creative practices in times of war and repression, providing a means of coping when there is very little else, individual and collective healing and coming to terms with during and after such times also relates to the agentic potential of creative practice. As Jackson (2016: 32) argues: “Crucial to the creative process is the existential imperative of acting upon the world to the same extent that it acts upon oneself—a process of converting what is given into what is chosen and transforming what is not of one's own making into an assemblage over which one asserts mastery.” Creative practice can be vital for the artist and their audience to process traumatic experiences and provide a space both for individual and collective coping.

However, after civil war, extreme repression, or genocide, coming to terms with and processing trauma is not at all straightforward and can take many generations, if it is achieved at all. Creative practices can provide access to memories for artists and audiences, yet in this process, borders can easily be reerected and opportunities for reconciliation further removed. The creative process may first and foremost be a way for the individual to push their own boundaries and explore traumatic memories in a relatively safe space, yet the outcome of such a process is highly uncertain. Still, the alternative is worse, as creative practice may be one of the few effective ways of challenging dominant narratives about dark periods in the history of a society and humankind.

Contributions to this special section do not look at the aspect of healing, individual or collective, by focusing on art as a tool in the process. Rather, we understand artistic creative practice for those in conflict situation who have faced oppression and violence as a way to exist, to stay alive, to stay human, in such extreme dehumanizing conditions. We refer to it, as the quest for ethics of recognition through artistic practice. We are inspired by Kay Schaffer and Sidonie Smith's (2004) book Human Rights and Narrated Lives: The Ethics of Recognition, which illuminates the centrality of life narrative to human rights campaigns. The authors emphasize the vital instrumentality of personal storytelling in the representation of those who have endured torture, genocide, rape, imprisonment, displacement, colonization, and psychic trauma. More importantly, they demonstrate how such stories demand from their shifting and multiple audiences an ethical response that recognizes the subjects narrating the accounts.

This ethics of recognition is also a quest that emerges through the creative and artistic practice presented by our contributors in this volume. Art-making becomes a form of human existence under such conditions, as our contributors skillfully show. This is also demonstrated by other artists living and working in these contexts. This drive to stay alive as an artist and as a moral human being is clearly demonstrated in the discussion of the public performances amid ruins and shelling of a famous cellist in Sarajevo in the 1990s during the Bosnian War. As Adler and Ippolito argue, “Smailovic's cello was not a tool to end war. Rather, his music reclaimed life in the face of war.” (2016: 57).

These acts of staying alive and reclaiming humanity are present in many sites of war, genocide, and conflict. Between 1940 and 1944, the famous Polish-Jewish pianist Wladyslaw Spillmann played piano in his hideout in Warsaw when the German bombs were annihilating the city. In 2015, a young pianist from the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus for weeks wheeled his piano on a trolley out into the middle of the ruins. He was helped by his friends and his students, who sometimes joined in with song. His street concerts were filmed and posted on social media; he thus became famous as a reminder that life in Syria exists in war-torn Damascus (see Leduc 2018). The ‘Palestine: Filming Is Existing’ film festival has been offering a space of meeting and projecting films of Palestinian filmmakers from Gaza, exile countries, and Cisjordanie since 2012 in Geneva and in the French-speaking cantons of Switzerland (see PFC'E 2021). Their films confirm the existence of a people and of a culture that are not otherwise recognized. This ethics of recognition is an important element in the process of staying alive. While the films often show the rather disparate reality of Palestinian lives, the filmmakers also demonstrate their way of living in and through the conflict, and thus bring the possibility of hope that exists even in the darkest hour.

These forms of staying alive and existing despite the dehumanizing conditions are particularly visible in this special section through Rithy Panh's narration about his work presented by Grabska. As Rithy Panh says, “Fiction film is a way for me to tell myself that I'm not completely destroyed. I can make a fiction. It means I can imagine, I can transcend, I can direct people, I can think. I'm alive. They cannot destroy me.” He shares with other survivors the sense of being dead, even though he survived. As he expresses in one of the interviews, filmmaking makes him feel alive; it gives him proof that he is alive. Similarly, Diala Brisly describes in detail how she balances her creative work and her emotional struggles, and how crucial it is for her to express herself artistically (Horst, this issue). At the same time, explaining how tough it is to work with deeply traumatized Syrian children, she discusses the need to really take care of herself and balance all her artistic engagements with the conflict, with living “a normal life,” with “normal people.” Teaching both herself and the children to creatively express not just the trauma they left behind but also the magic and wonder of balloons and flying books.

Hip-hop dancers on the streets of Nablus stretch the social and bodily spaces in order to stay alive, in order to create a place to exist; as they say, dance gives them freedom. Dancing bodies and identities and individual transformation—spaces and oppression—dance and body as embodied agency. Similarly, the young participants in the Bosnia and Herzegovina music program talk about how the experiences in the music school provided them with a space to be, to breathe, to exist (Howell and Korum, this issue). As one of the participants phrased it, “It's like in the Narnia books. You have that closet and then you open it and you enter another world.” In Sri Lanka as well, one aspect that was so appreciated about the program that was offered was the fact that a safe space was created where instead of talking about the complications of everyday life, the young people were able to discuss and explore music together.

De Bruijn discusses the slam festivals created by Croquemort in Chad as an important space that allows young people not only to be free from the restrictions of their own world but also to express their feelings in ways that heal them from experiences in the past and create social community. What emerges from these diverse contributions is a nuanced way of seeing and reading art as a space but also creative practice to stay alive and human. This process reveals the complexities and historically changing systems of power and the artists’ careful agentic ways of addressing those.

Art Practice and How It Relates to Space and Time

Artistic practice has a great potential to relate to space and time, and to transform them both. In this special section, we understand art and artistic practice as a space, both individual and collective, as well as relational. The importance of space in which the artistic practice is taking place is acknowledged by all the contributors in this section, and creative practice is clearly located in this specific geographical context, but it also is influenced by a set of transnational and global connections (see, e.g., de Bruijn, this issue). This is particularly visible in Christophersen's contribution. As a trained geographer and a choreographer, she reads and experiences spaces in an embodied way. In her contribution, she argues that in the physically, geographically, and politically confined suffocated and limited space of Palestine, “dance as an artistic, everyday practice stretches the social and political space, creating an alternative space for the artists to live, act and imagine their lives differently, and by extension, showing trainees, audience members and others that this is possible”. She, for example, refers to the experience of Ayaan, a dancer from Nablus, who describes dancing as a space where he can escape from difficult issues in his life—in a sense, a free space where he can leave grievances and challenges at the door and just be himself. Dancing is a space he can turn to when life gets challenging and he is overwhelmed with emotions. For Ayaan, the expressive space is about having a space to be himself, and being himself is closely linked to the emotional, embodied aspect of dancing.

De Bruijn shows in a nuanced way the maneuvering and navigating of the limited political space through artistic practice with her focus on how slam artists deal with it, and counter-use it. For example, slam artists in Chad, although under a constant threat of arrests, are allowed a space to express themselves. De Bruijn quotes Croquemort saying: “There is space for the art in the nonstate space; as long as we do not publish on their radios, it will be OK.” But it is also important that he noted: “I never accuse people directly. I use polite phrases and honest words to tell people what injustice is.” De Bruijn further shows how international connections in the slam circles are important for securing often needed protection. The artists join the international scene to gain not only recognition but also protection. The role of French media and international cultural centers in Chad is very important in this process, even though they do not openly support critical engagement.

Artistic practice can also be a space of social recognition within a safe context, as vividly described by Howell and Korum. Howell shows how music classes in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina shaped individual trajectories and spaces of becoming for the young people who attended them. As she argues, it provided them with a space to play and explore, and through creative processes that were experiential and improvisatory, gain new experiences and self-knowledge. Similarly, Monirah Hashemi (Horst, this issue) describes how she has wanted to create a safe creative space for the young women she works with in her film and theater company. Noting how theater had changed her own life, Hashemi wanted to offer the same experience to others: “I wanted to create a space for women, for young girls, where they can come and practice art, do whatever they want, express themselves in any way they want, without being harassed by any man.” Several of the artists in this special section express a similar wish of sharing this experience of art as a particular creative, safe space with others.

Memory: Remembering Otherwise

Art practice relates time and space in important ways. The politics of representing the past in the present appears in the artistic practice of all the artists whose work is discussed by the contributors to this special section. This theme is linked to the way in which art provides not only a temporal link between the past and the present but also a spatial link between the different geographical sides in which the artistic practice takes place. Much of creative practice of artists working in the context of violent conflict has served to deal with the past, in different ways (Lindroos and Möller 2018, Yazir and Grunebaum 2005). The issues of remembering the past, witnessing it, and bringing a testimony to it in the present have also been widely discussed in cultural studies, including literature and cinema (e.g., Grassilli, 2005; Grunebaum-Ralph 2011a, 2011b;; Torchin 2012). In anthropology and sociology related to war and violence, much has been written on the topic of memory, violence, and reconciliation (Castillejo Cuéllar 2005; Halilovich 2013; Kleinman et al. 1997; Mamdani 1996, 2000; Yazir and Grunebaum 2005). The theme of linking time and space through art has been explored by the literature focusing on art as a political tool of witnessing. Here, for example, Kia Lindroos and Frank Möller's (2018) book Art as Political Witness and in particular the chapter by Sally Butler and Roland Bleiker (2018) explore the concept of embodied witnessing that is present in the indigenous performance art in Australia. Some of our contributors to this special section also explore this embodied witnessing, through the hip-hop dance and the embodied occupation on the streets of Nabulus (Christophersen, this issue) and through the art installations and filmic approach of Rithy Panh that provokes certain bodily experiences while watching the erased narratives of Cambodian genocide (Grabska, this issue).

What our contributors also stress is how through artistic practice there is a possibility to remember otherwise and hence, create through artistic process and outcome a different link between the past and the present. Inspiration to explore this theme has been taken from the work of Kay Schaffer and Sidonie Smith. They refer to ways of “allowing marginalized people to narrate their trauma and to “remember otherwise”: “Through acts of remembering, individuals and communities narrate alternative or counter-histories coming from the margins, voiced by other kinds of subjects-the tortured, the displaced, the overlooked, the silenced and the unacknowledged-among them” (2004: 16–17). As Grabska shows in her discussion of the film by Rithy Panh, The Missing Picture, the colorful childlike clay figurines juxtaposed against black-and-white archival images of Khmer brutality bring to life the everyday life of Cambodians. They narrate the memories, individuals, and families that were all eliminated in 1975, thus “allowing to remember otherwise, and enable new forms of subjectivity and radically altered futures” (Schaffer and Smith 2004: 17). As Grabska argues, “the films represent the struggle to recuperate some form of memory in the politically difficult setting of Cambodia where formal evidence relies mainly on testimony and witness.” This particular genre of film is part of the cinema of witnessing (Hamilton 2003), constituting the missing visual archives that connect the temporally and spatially the interrupted (hi)stories of genocide survivors.

Connecting the past to the present in art is also present in the ways in which the young slammers engage with the political and historical issues of change in the Chadian society. De Bruijn shows it well with her nuanced analysis of the lyrics. While coming from personal experience, these voices become voices of a young generation speaking in a collective voice.

Howell and Korum's contribution focuses partially on experiences of the Bosnian research informants that occurred 15 years ago. This particular contribution shows how speaking from the present about the past offers a longitudinal perspective on participants’ experiences, drawing conclusions about outcomes and impact that might not have been evident at the time due to their youth or the fact that some outcomes connected to arts participation can take time to be revealed. As they show, the process of remembering, recalling and temporally connecting different places and times, introduces a different take on the way conflict was experienced.

Future and Alternatives

Cultural production through arts plays a particularly important narrative role in society. Artistic expressions are often deeply embedded in present-day societal realities, but one important societal contribution is that such creative expressions have the freedom to envision and imagine far beyond such realities in the here and now. The imaginative and creative aspects of arts are crucial for the artist's and audience's ability to imagine alternatives, which is particularly important in dark times. Creative practice and arts engage social change through imagination, play, innovation, and skills. Art can be part of cocreating images of an alternative future by forming a truly public space of engagement; producing civic conscience through open debate about models of cultural and social reconstruction (Arsenijevic 2010). Artistic expressions offer both a commentary on the past and the present, as well as acting and projecting change for the future.

As Glaveanu (2017) argues, “artistic practice opens up the space of the possible, the space of imagination and creativity, where reality becomes malleable and multiple.” The arts and creative practice enable individuals to question the existing order of things (Horst, this issue). “Its transcendence of what is ‘given’ or ‘already there’ makes it psychologically, socially, and politically potent—a valuable tool for those who are unsatisfied with the way things are and a considerable threat for those who want to maintain the status quo” (Manresa and Glaveanu 2017: 46). We are particularly interested in the conversations the arts and creative practice can inspire, which are “relational, temporal, dynamic, power-based, and changing through time” (Awad and Wagoner 2017: 8). The arts can play between the familiar and unfamiliar by representing existing realities while communicating something new that violates these realities (Markova 2003). Thus, the dialogue between artist, art, and audience can create a range of bodily tensions that may take time to manifest themselves and that can continue to have ripple effects long after a particular interaction took place (Awad and Wagoner 2017).

One crucial aspect in this interaction is that the arts enable both artists and audiences to envision. The role of vision—in the sense of an individual's or group's imagining of the future—has been explored within the arts and humanities (Bell and Desai 2011) and future studies (van der Helm 2009). In a conceptual overview article, Ruud van der Helm (2009) identifies three key aspects. First, “visions” refers to expressions about something not (yet) existing. Second, these expressions about the future are at once idealized and conceivable. And third, vision is vital to converging actions by a group of individuals in one (desired) direction, generating change. The potential to envision that the arts provide, is of interest for its action-driving and inspirational potential and can thus be a key driver of transformative practice (Muir and Dornyei 2013; Pereira et al. 2018). At the same time, in situations in which individuals feel powerless due to repressive political circumstances, and “transformative action” seems naive and impossible, focusing on the next generation—as many artists do—offers the opportunity for thinking about future change even when the present offers little hope (Christophersen 2020).

In Howell and Korum's article, participants of music programs explore visions of alternative futures through art activities, which enable both ideas and practices about peace and peaceful interethnic relations to grow. Likewise, Christophersen argues that dance created an alternative space for the hip-hop dancers to imagine, act, and live their lives differently from what they thought was possible before they started dancing. Croquemore (de Bruijn, this issue) believes in the educational function of the festivals he organizes and the necessity to create a youth movement that embraces ideals for a better future for the youth. And both Diala Brisly and Monirah Hashemi (Horst, this issue) attempt to give shape to new ways of imagining the world by encouraging others to dream, envision, and ultimately believe in the opportunity of a different future. At the same time, and equally important, such visions are explored practically, by creating space for others to learn to express themselves critically and authentically. Thus, they create the possibility of both telling and living a new story. The missing images and narratives being created by Rithy Panh in his films, and especially in The Missing Picture (Grabska, this issue) demonstrate the power of artistic practice not only to imagine and envision but to make it possible for the erased voices and images to come back to life. In this way, the historical and temporal process of reconstitution of humanity can take place individually and collectively through and thanks to artistic practice.

Alternative Forms of Knowing

The third key theme that emerges through the articles is the type of alternative forms of knowing that particular art forms bring into focus, through a range of sensory experiences, embodied knowledge and possibilities of cocreation of knowledge. Art as a form of knowing as well as art-based research approaches have recently gained popularity, especially in studies related to migration and conflict. The contributors in this issue, engage with the question of knowledge production slightly differently, from the perspective of sensorial ethnography. Much of the sensorial ethnography has been developed based on Maurice Merleau-Ponty's The Phenomenology of Perception (1962), published first in French in 1945 and then in English in the 1960s. He placed sensation at the center of human perception, and his ideas became relevant to the development of sensory ethnography. His approach has been especially important for social and visual anthropologists concerned with the body (e.g., Csordas 1990; Turner 2000; Wacquant 2000, 2005) and those working with the senses, especially those concerned with different sensory modalities (Pink 2009; Stoller 1989, 1997, 2004). Tim Ingold has further developed this work using Merleau-Ponty's assertion that “my body, is not a collection of adjacent organs but a synergic system, all of the functions of which are exercised and linked together in the general action of being in the world” (1962: 234). For Ingold, therefore, “sight and hearing, to the extent they can be distinguished at all are but facets of this action” (2000: 268). Sarah Pink also recalls the filmmaker and anthropologist David MacDougall's point that “although seeing and touching are not the same, they originate in the same body and their objects overlap,” they “share an experiential field” (quoted in Pink 2009).

Some of the contributors not only add embodied sensory ethnography perspective to the study of the art and conflict but also work through their own bodies as professional dancer or amateur photographer and filmmaker. For example, as a professional contemporary dancer and choreographer, and a trained geographer, Christophersen describes in a nuanced way the bodily experience of the political, social, and physical restrictions that she felt in the streets of Nablus. She also is able to produce a thick description of dance experiences through the sensations felt in the body.

Sensory research has also been central in doing research through artistic practice with people in marginalized contexts. This way of knowing and doing research is what the feminist anthropologist Maggie O'Neill and colleagues (2002) termed “ethno-mimesis.” She developed this idea based on Theodor Adorno's Aesthetic Theory and his concept of “mimesis.” She argues that “mimesis” refers to feeling, sensuousness, and spirit, a type of a sensuous knowing. Here the dialectic of art and society is key, in that mimesis and rationality are irreconcilable. Grabska (this issue) develops the idea of mimesis further with the example of employing sentipensar in her research, a dialectic way of interacting with the artistic production of Rithy Panh in her research. As she demonstrates, as a viewer and as a reader of art products, and adopting a deeply reflexive approach, she accessed other ways of knowing rather than mainly the interviewing and observational methods.

In adapting this embodied approach to knowledge creation, our contributors recognize the importance of engaging with art practice and its different forms through sensory experiences. In this way, they follow the suggestion that such methods will allow us as researchers to “to start to understand such images not as visual objectifications of experiential realities, but as texts that suggest or invite routes through which other people's multisensory ways of knowing in movement might be imagined or imaginable” (Pink at al. 2010: 3). The dialectic aspect of knowing through arts is key in this process. The reflexive relationship between the art, the artist, and the audience, including us as researchers, opens up the possible of multiplicity of meanings, of unsettling meaning. This idea is embedded in Arjun Appadurai's (1986) discussions about the social life of things, objects, and their embeddedness in the historical context.

Moreover, as Allen argues, artistic representation often produces knowledge which already exists. She argues that the knowledge artwork brings forward is not a neutral one as the artists ideology play a crucial role, it is influenced by the artist's knowledge about the issue: “Artist's gaze is influenced by what is known, knowledge is thus influenced by how one sees the world” (2008: 6).

Both Christophersen and Grabska engage in detail in the embodied, sensory, and corporal resonance of their own bodies as researchers and audience of the art, but also the bodies of the artists with whom they are working. Working through the body during the research process, both in the fieldwork and in the writing phase, reveals the type of embodied sensual knowledge that is being produced, and opens up ways of knowing about the experience of war, conflict, and exile. These contributions build on work that has been done in anthropology of arts, adding new perspectives to how war and conflict are studied. In this way, as Austin Harrington argues, an anthropology of art reveals “how aesthetic frames of perception enter into textual aspects of metaphor, analogy, and vignette, into sensuous media of data analysis such as visual images and life-story narratives; and into conceptions of theatrical qualities in social action” (2004: 6). Here, as Grabska's discussion of Rithy Panh's films and installations shows, what emerges is the importance of truly engaging with art in the research process, rather than mainly describing the materiality of art. She shows how the research and writing, while engaging senses and the body, becomes a deeply embodied experience, with the visual and sensorial experiences shaping the type of knowledge the emerges as a result of these encounters.

Howell and Korum are both professional musicians as well as academics and researchers, and through their careful analysis of the music initiatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sri Lanka, they add a nuanced reflection on the positionality and the importance of reflexivity in the process of knowledge production that emerges from their involvement as practitioner musicians, development workers, and researchers. Similarly, de Bruijn's long personal engagement with the slam scene allows her to develop what she calls an inclusive ethnography, based on her emersion in the artistic and practical aspects of this artistic scene.

Concluding Thoughts

As the articles in this special section demonstrate, local histories, geographies, and politics are of importance in understanding how artistic practice is intertwined with violent conflict and potential social transformations. While each article brings its own ethnographic and theoretical specificity and richness, as a whole these contributions attest to the importance of research on artistic practice to better comprehend contexts of violent conflicts, war, and displacement. By addressing three central themes—the roles of the arts and creative practice in contexts of violent conflict and displacement, how it relates to space and time, and how it provides us with access to other forms of knowing—the articles in this special section draw attention to the unique ways in which artists and creative practices can and at times do engage with resistance and transformation in contexts of violent conflict and repression.

They simultaneously provide an anti-romanticized view of what artistic practice means in such context, which moves beyond a one-dimensional view of art as resistance. The collection does this through its focus on art as a way of life with conflict and in conflict. The articles urge us to see artistic practice as central to the processes of coming to terms with violent conflict and the remains of it, and conceptualize artistic practice as employed by some artists as a call for the ethics of recognition. Artists creating under situations of great duress show that art practice is also about restoring humanity and recognizing their own ways of staying alive despite the dehumanizing conditions they experience. In general, artistic practice as presented by the different contributions can at times be understood as a critical dynamic behind “a will to social justice” (Spivak 2012, quoted in Magowan and Donnan 2018: 8). These contributions show that the analysis of artistic practice in times of violent conflict and displacement can offer rich ways of theorizing about time, space, resistance, and recognition.

Notes

1

Kasia Grabska has been working with artists and arts-based methods in research in conflict and exile settings since 2002, in Cairo, Khartoum, Geneva, and Lyon and researching and teaching these issues since 2016. Cindy Horst directs the PRIO Centre on Culture and Violent Conflict, which since its launch in 2017 has hosted a range of brown bags, seminars, and conference panels of relevance to this special section.

2

The panel was conceived and organized by Kasia Grabska and Cindy Horst. Participants included Jacob Høigilt, Cindy Horst, Wael Toubaji, and Azza Aziz.

3

Participants included Sebastian Bachelet, Mariangela Palladino, Giorgia Dona, Marie Godin, Susan Banki, Nicole Philips, Rumana Hashem, Paul Dudman, Kasia Grabska, and Cindy Horst.

4

Mirjam de Bruijn, Sara Christophersen, Kasia Grabska, Cindy Horst, Solveig Korum (presenting a paper cowritten with Gillian Howell), Andrea Rodrigez, and Tani Sebro.

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  • Mamdani, Mahmood. 2000. “The Truth According to the TRC.” In The Politics of Memory: Truth, Healing and Social Justice, ed. Ifi Amadiume and Abdullahi An-Na'im, 176183. London: Zed Books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Manresa, Gemma Argüello, and Vlad Glăveanu. 2017. “Poetry in and for Society: Poetic Messages, Creativity, and Social Change.” In Poetry and Imagined Worlds, ed. Olga V. Lehmann, Nandita Chaudhary, Ana Cecilia Bastos, and Emily Abbey, 4362. New York: Springer.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marková, I. 2003. Dialogicality and social representations: The dynamics of mind. Cambridge University Press.

  • Mesch Claudia. 2013. Art and Politics: A Small History of Art for Social Change since 1945. London: I. B. Tauris.

  • Möller, Frank. 2016. “Politics and Art.” Oxford Handbook. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935307.013.13.

  • O'Neill, Maggie, Giddens, Patricia Breatnach, Carl Bagley, Darrren Bourne, and Tony Judge. 2002. “Renewed Methodologies for Social Research: Ethno-mimesis as Performative Praxis.” Sociological Review 50 (1): 6988. https://doi.org/10.1111%2F1467-954X.00355.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pereira, Laura, Tanja Hichert, Maike Hamann, Rika Preiser and Reinette Biggs. 2018. “Using futures methods to create transformative spaces: visions of a good Anthropocene in southern Africa.” Ecology and Society, 23(1): doi: 10.5751/ES09907-230119.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pink, Sarah. 2009. “The Future of Sensory Anthropology / The Anthropology of the Senses.” Social Anthropology 18 (3): 331340. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8676.2010.00119_1.x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pink, Sarah Dylan Tutt, Andrew Dainty & Alistair Gibb. 2010. “Ethnographic methodologies for construction research: knowing, practice and interventions.” Building Research & Information 38:6, 647659. DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2010.512193.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • PFC'E (Palestine Filmer C'est Exister). 2021. “PFC'E, Necessary in the Cultural and Political Landscape of French-speaking Switzerland?” Updated 11 December. https://palestine-fce.ch/ptite-info/pfce-necessaire-dans-le-paysage-culturel-et-politique-romand.

    • Search Google Scholar
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  • Marková, I. 2003. Dialogicality and social representations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Phenomenology of perception. Vol. 22. London, 1962.

  • Muir, Christine and Zoltan Dörnyei. 2013. “Directed motivational cur-rents: Using vision to create effective motivational pathways.” Studies in Second Language Learning & Teaching. 3(3): 357375.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rancière, Jacques. 2000. Le partage du sensible: Esthétique et politique [Sharing the sensible: Aesthetics and politics]. Paris: La fabrique.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rancière, Jacques. 2004. The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible. Trans. Gabriel Rockhill. New York: Continuum International.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roos, Henriette. 2010. “Art and/as Anarchy: Portraying the Artist during Times of Turmoil and War.” Journal of Literary Studies 26 (4): 3656. https://doi.org/10.1080/02564718.2010.529306.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roussel, Violaine. 2007. “Occupational Logics and Political Commitment: American Artists Against the Iraq War.” International Political Sociology 1 (4): 373390. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-5687.2007.00027.x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roussel, Violaine, and Bluewenn Lechaux. 2010. Voicing Dissent: American Artists and the War on Iraq. London: Routledge.

  • Schaffer Kay, and Sidonie Smith. 2004. Human Rights and Narrated Lives: The Ethics of Recognition. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Schneider, Arnd, and Christopher Wright. 2010. Between Art and Anthropology: Contemporary Ethnographic Practice. Oxford: Berg.

  • Scott, James. 1985. Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

  • Shilton, Siobhán. 2013. “Art and the ‘Arab Spring’: Aesthetics of Revolution in Contemporary Tunisia.” French Cultural Studies 24 (1): 129145. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0957155812464166.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. 2012. An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization. Harvard Universtiy Press.

  • Stoller, Paul. 1989. The Taste of Ethnographic Things: The Senses in Anthropology. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

  • Stoller, Paul. 1997. Sensuous Scholarship. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

  • Stoller, Paul. 2004. “Sensuous Ethnography, African Persuasions, and Social Knowledge.” Qualitative Inquiry 10 (6): 817835. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1077800404265727.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tec, Nechama. 2003 Resilience and Courage. Women, Men and the Holocaust. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

  • Torchin Leshu. 2012. Creating the Witness : Documenting Genocide on Film, Video, and the Internet. Minesota University Press.

  • Turner, Aaron. 2000. “Embodied Ethnography: Doing Culture.” Social Anthropology 8 (1): 5160. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8676.2000.tb00207.x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Van der Helm, Ruud. 2009. “The vision phenomenon: Towards a theoretical underpinning of visions of the future and the process of envisioning.” Futures 41(2): 96104.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wacquant, Loïc. 2000. Body and Soul: Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Wacquant, Loïc. 2005. “Carnal Connections: On Embodiment, Apprenticeship, and Membership.” Qualitative Sociology 28 (4): 445474. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-005-8367-0.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yazir Henri and Grunebaum-Ralph Heidi 2005. “Jenseits der Regenbogennation: Reflektionen uber Gewalt und Erinnerung im heutigen Kapstadt.” Trans. Franziska Pommer. Im Inneren der Globalisierung: Psychosoziale Arbeit in Gewaltkontexten. medico-Report 26. pp: 8291.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Young, Iris Marion. 1989. “Polity and group difference: A critique of the ideal of universal citizenship.” Ethics 99 (2): 250274.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zinn, Howard. 2003. Artists in Times of War. New York: Seven Stories Press.

Contributor Notes

KATARZYNA (KASIA) GRABSKA is a feminist anthropologist and a senior researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). Her current research focuses on artistic socially engaged practice in conflict and exile settings. She has also researched issues of gender, youth, access to rights for refugees, and social transformations in the contexts of displacement and forced migration. She works with visual media, feminist methodologies, and collaborative and transformative methodologies. In her commitment to engaged and co-creative knowledge production and sharing, she often collaborates with artists and engages with art-based research to understand issues of civic engagement, social justice, belonging, displacement, mobilities, and identities. She is also a filmmaker.

CINDY HORST is Research Professor and Codirector of the PRIO Centre on Culture and Violent Conflict. Her current research focuses on how individuals, including artists and academics, can challenge the status quo and effect societal change in (post)conflict settings. She is interested in innovative research methodologies that foster a critical and ethically conscious study of the human consequences of violent conflict, through shared anthropology and multisited ethnography. Her most recent methodological explorations have taken place with visual and performing artists through art residencies that explore creative expression during and after violent conflict and oppression. ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1022-2585.

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  • Malcomson, Hetty. 2019. “Contesting Resistance, Protesting Violence: Women, War and Hip Hop in Mexico.” Music and Arts in Action 7 (1): 4663.

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  • Mamdani, Mahmood. 1996. “Reconciliation without Justice.” Southern African Review of Books 46: 35.

  • Mamdani, Mahmood. 2000. “The Truth According to the TRC.” In The Politics of Memory: Truth, Healing and Social Justice, ed. Ifi Amadiume and Abdullahi An-Na'im, 176183. London: Zed Books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Manresa, Gemma Argüello, and Vlad Glăveanu. 2017. “Poetry in and for Society: Poetic Messages, Creativity, and Social Change.” In Poetry and Imagined Worlds, ed. Olga V. Lehmann, Nandita Chaudhary, Ana Cecilia Bastos, and Emily Abbey, 4362. New York: Springer.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marková, I. 2003. Dialogicality and social representations: The dynamics of mind. Cambridge University Press.

  • Mesch Claudia. 2013. Art and Politics: A Small History of Art for Social Change since 1945. London: I. B. Tauris.

  • Möller, Frank. 2016. “Politics and Art.” Oxford Handbook. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935307.013.13.

  • O'Neill, Maggie, Giddens, Patricia Breatnach, Carl Bagley, Darrren Bourne, and Tony Judge. 2002. “Renewed Methodologies for Social Research: Ethno-mimesis as Performative Praxis.” Sociological Review 50 (1): 6988. https://doi.org/10.1111%2F1467-954X.00355.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pereira, Laura, Tanja Hichert, Maike Hamann, Rika Preiser and Reinette Biggs. 2018. “Using futures methods to create transformative spaces: visions of a good Anthropocene in southern Africa.” Ecology and Society, 23(1): doi: 10.5751/ES09907-230119.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pink, Sarah. 2009. “The Future of Sensory Anthropology / The Anthropology of the Senses.” Social Anthropology 18 (3): 331340. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8676.2010.00119_1.x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pink, Sarah Dylan Tutt, Andrew Dainty & Alistair Gibb. 2010. “Ethnographic methodologies for construction research: knowing, practice and interventions.” Building Research & Information 38:6, 647659. DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2010.512193.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • PFC'E (Palestine Filmer C'est Exister). 2021. “PFC'E, Necessary in the Cultural and Political Landscape of French-speaking Switzerland?” Updated 11 December. https://palestine-fce.ch/ptite-info/pfce-necessaire-dans-le-paysage-culturel-et-politique-romand.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marková, I. 2003. Dialogicality and social representations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Phenomenology of perception. Vol. 22. London, 1962.

  • Muir, Christine and Zoltan Dörnyei. 2013. “Directed motivational cur-rents: Using vision to create effective motivational pathways.” Studies in Second Language Learning & Teaching. 3(3): 357375.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rancière, Jacques. 2000. Le partage du sensible: Esthétique et politique [Sharing the sensible: Aesthetics and politics]. Paris: La fabrique.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rancière, Jacques. 2004. The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible. Trans. Gabriel Rockhill. New York: Continuum International.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roos, Henriette. 2010. “Art and/as Anarchy: Portraying the Artist during Times of Turmoil and War.” Journal of Literary Studies 26 (4): 3656. https://doi.org/10.1080/02564718.2010.529306.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roussel, Violaine. 2007. “Occupational Logics and Political Commitment: American Artists Against the Iraq War.” International Political Sociology 1 (4): 373390. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-5687.2007.00027.x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roussel, Violaine, and Bluewenn Lechaux. 2010. Voicing Dissent: American Artists and the War on Iraq. London: Routledge.

  • Schaffer Kay, and Sidonie Smith. 2004. Human Rights and Narrated Lives: The Ethics of Recognition. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Schneider, Arnd, and Christopher Wright. 2010. Between Art and Anthropology: Contemporary Ethnographic Practice. Oxford: Berg.

  • Scott, James. 1985. Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

  • Shilton, Siobhán. 2013. “Art and the ‘Arab Spring’: Aesthetics of Revolution in Contemporary Tunisia.” French Cultural Studies 24 (1): 129145. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0957155812464166.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. 2012. An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization. Harvard Universtiy Press.

  • Stoller, Paul. 1989. The Taste of Ethnographic Things: The Senses in Anthropology. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

  • Stoller, Paul. 1997. Sensuous Scholarship. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

  • Stoller, Paul. 2004. “Sensuous Ethnography, African Persuasions, and Social Knowledge.” Qualitative Inquiry 10 (6): 817835. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1077800404265727.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tec, Nechama. 2003 Resilience and Courage. Women, Men and the Holocaust. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

  • Torchin Leshu. 2012. Creating the Witness : Documenting Genocide on Film, Video, and the Internet. Minesota University Press.

  • Turner, Aaron. 2000. “Embodied Ethnography: Doing Culture.” Social Anthropology 8 (1): 5160. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8676.2000.tb00207.x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Van der Helm, Ruud. 2009. “The vision phenomenon: Towards a theoretical underpinning of visions of the future and the process of envisioning.” Futures 41(2): 96104.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wacquant, Loïc. 2000. Body and Soul: Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Wacquant, Loïc. 2005. “Carnal Connections: On Embodiment, Apprenticeship, and Membership.” Qualitative Sociology 28 (4): 445474. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-005-8367-0.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yazir Henri and Grunebaum-Ralph Heidi 2005. “Jenseits der Regenbogennation: Reflektionen uber Gewalt und Erinnerung im heutigen Kapstadt.” Trans. Franziska Pommer. Im Inneren der Globalisierung: Psychosoziale Arbeit in Gewaltkontexten. medico-Report 26. pp: 8291.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Young, Iris Marion. 1989. “Polity and group difference: A critique of the ideal of universal citizenship.” Ethics 99 (2): 250274.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zinn, Howard. 2003. Artists in Times of War. New York: Seven Stories Press.

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