TRANSFORMATION - CONFLICT


artistic peace- and conflict research

I am collaborating with artists, activists and scientists, researching potentials of artistic activity in conflict situations.
How can art be a way of approaching situations that otherwise seem to be contradictional or too complicated to relate to, and in which way would it make sense? This certainly interests many artists and political conscious people, but many are giving up or turning their back towards it when meeting difficulties, ethical dilemmas, getting confused or scared by the complexity of the issue, facing the potential to fail with their statements or work.

My suggestion would be to take contradictions, doubts and appearing questions within account, allowing them being part, or if necessary even being center of their reflection and work. Why should we expect ourselves coming with answers or solutions concerning such a complex issue, before even investing a serious amount of work in it?
  
From 2017-19 I have been working around that with an educational program on the island of Lesbos, Greece, in context of the ongoing humanitarian crisis (known as "refugee-crisis"), see the description below. I am still working in the same environment with an ongoing research and documentary film project, offering lectures and screenings internationally. 

To continue developing a new branch of the educational program, I am now looking for new producers and partners. Recommendations are welcome.  





















background of my educational work in Lesbos, Greece

In March 2017 I was asked if I could imagine to work with an art-workshop on Lesbos. In the end of June I went there together with a group of 14 young artists and two coordinators* from Trafo.no, a university related network for young Norwegian artists, who have been commissioning that workshop.
From the very beginning it was clear to me that we couldn't just go and work as usual, ignoring the actual ongoing political and humanitarian crisis, the drownings in the sea around us and the situation of thousands of refugees who stuck on the island.

The question was if and how our presence could make sense at all, when meeting refugees, locals and NGOs on Lesbos in a difficult situation, or if we better should stay away.
After communicating with locals and deciding to go there, I was still expecting ethical dilemma, conflicts, and contradictions we might face.
Would it be possible to relate to the tragedies happening on the sea between Turkey and Lesbos, on the shore and around the refugee camps at all?
What motivations would drive us and the participating artists, what would we achieve? How would locals react and what motivations would we find among those who are trying to help? Does art make sense when it comes to the point of beeing confronted with human suffering? Should we put our work with art aside, contributing with basic volunteer work instead, or does art actually has a potential to approach otherwise hopeless situations? What could that be, and how would it work in practice? Those questions have been continuously discussed and each participant had to face them.
Since then many approaches have been made. The picture got more and more nuanced while working and learning and we could continue our research with following workshops in 2018 and 19, these times as part of an university program introduced by researcher and educator Lisbet Skregelid and Tormod W. Anundsen. 
Me, the new participants and Lisbet I was running the workshops together with, where able continuing the work around those and other questions. Parallell to that I have been working with an independant documentary film project around the same issues.

* many thanks to Inger Marie Stoveland and Adrian Førde Anderssen