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Art as Activism?Educ-actors: from context to text. Rethinking education on peace, conflict transformation, social justice and global citizenship through the lens of the arts

March 28 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


March 28
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Seminar Room G010, Hardiman Research Building











A seminar/workshop with Daniel Fernandez, Visiting Research Fellow, Moore Institute.

Education is at the centre of the ethical, socio-political and environmental crisis we are currently experiencing. As expressed by UNESCO in its Program of Action for the Creation of a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence, the hope of emerging from this global crisis lies in imparting values, attitudes and behaviours through education that reflect and inspire sharing through social interaction and fostering the distinctive faculties of the human species: commitment, reflection, imagination, creativity and facilitating intercultural communication. UNESCO’s vision would seem to be a world at peace. Yet the meaning of peace is often assumed to be settled by those who advance the cause of peace, even if this entails appropriating the narratives of the oppressed, and even though – as argued by Oliver Richmond and J. P. Lederach – many attempts at conflict resolution have ended in co-optation, i.e. attempts to forcibly abolish disharmony in situations where people are raising legitimate issues about social justice, reconciliation, identity, gender, culture, or development among others.

In my practice I approach peace as an agonistic process, and have been developing a methodology based on the exploration of how people effect change through the imbrication of art, protest, dialogue and activism in Mexico (performance and peace education through dance), Egypt (street art in Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring), Catalonia (site-specific art installation), and Colombia (indigenous, gender-based, audiovisual sovereignty). In this seminar/workshop I will screen my short documentary entitled “EDUC-ACTORS: FROM CONTEXT TO TEXT”, filmed in Tahir Square, Egypt with participants of the Arab Spring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKgzZxH841I&t=39s. I also discuss how the learning derived from this fieldwork has been incorporated into a pedagogical programme piloted at the Autonomous University of Madrid and the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and I present feedback from academic and students who participated in the pilot phase of the project.

Daniel Fernández is a Rotary Peace Fellow and holds an MA in Peace and Conflict Resolution from the International University Tokyo, Japan. He also holds a post-graduate Diploma in Integrative Coaching processes. Daniel’s work is at the cutting edge of socially-engaged art, and the concerns at the heart of his practice traverse the arts, humanities and social sciences.  He has worked extensively in conflict zones including Palestine, Columbia and the Western Sahara. His work focuses primarily on the importance of Memory and Intercultural Dialogue in diverse locations including Spain, Mexico, Japan, Bolivia, Colombia and Egypt. He is interested in learning from non-western perspectives in dealing with the past and envisioning present and future global coexistence based in processes of decolonization of knowledge and cultural paradigms. He is a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University, USA.  He is currently developing the educational project “Educ-actors: from context to text. Rethinking the education on peace, conflict transformation, social justice and global citizenship through the lens of the Arts”, with the Fundación Cultura de Paz under the mentorship of its president, Dr. Federico Mayor Zaragoza, former General Director of UNESCO. The educational project has been funded by the Catalan Department of Foreign Action and Institutional Relations through its Catalan Agency for Cooperation and Development.