Living Arts in Post Conflict Contexts Forum - Practices, Partnerships, Possibilities

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Mar 12, 2016
by Patrick Wilson
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Living Arts in Post Conflict Contexts Forum - Practices, Partnerships, Possibilities

Conflict Transformation collaboration addresses critical issues facing countries effected by genocide Tuol Sleng Museum - picture by Phalinn Ooi

A landmark collaboration with Cambodian Living Arts and Salzburg Global Seminar Living Arts in Post Conflict Contexts Forum: Practices, Partnerships, Possibilities took place between March 10 to 12 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The three day event, sponsored by the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development, connected arts activators and change makers from twenty countries and drew together insights from Salzburg Global's multi-year programs on Culture, the Arts and Society, Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention, and the Young Cultural Innovators Forum

Just over 40 years ago, the Khmer Rouge regime launched its genocidal regime in which nearly 2 million Cambodians died – including 90% of the artists working in the country. In 2016, with 60% of the country’s population under 25, Cambodia’s first post-genocide generation has the opportunity to work with and through the arts to rebuild community, renew unique cultural traditions, and foster resilience and economic innovation.

This three-day workshop addressed critical challenges faced by many countries during and after mass atrocities by exploring ways to overcome mistrust, preserve heritage and collective identity, and build supportive partnerships with government and other organizations. 

Participants created the basis for an international network of advocates using the arts to transform pre and post conflict societies, advanced the notion of culture as a vehicle for peace and promoted dialogue as a driver for inclusive development.

In addition to the workshop, Salzburg Global hosted a special evening event at Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum entitled "Place of Memory." The museum is a former high school where some 17,000 people were imprisoned and tortured during the Khmer Rouge regime from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979.

Panelists, including Salzburg Global Vice President and Chief Program Officer Claire Shine, guided discussions that were informed by Salzburg Global's highly-respected work on Holocaust and Genocide education and remembrance, through which we have built a major international network to foster dialogue, promote tolerance, and share knowledge and resources.

Both Salzburg Global and Cambodia Living Arts will be posting more information on our respective sites and are proud to have partnered together to create a means of dialogue and networking to aid conflict transformation and avoid the mistakes of our pasts.

For more information see: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/Fellow56