The arts mirror conflict, pain, resistance, and impact, with potential to stimulate non-verbal – and non-violent – communication that can often be the most powerful. This plenary gives audiences a chance to experience it for themselves, with music and dance from the talented young artists and peace activists of Contact Inc. to open the day.
At IPRA 2010, artists and scholars from the Arts and Peace Commission stage brief peace-building performances bridging Australia, South Africa, Peru, Serbia, the Netherlands, and Cambodia. In a plenary session on Creative Agency and Peace, Chair Paul Dwyer, along with Cynthia Cohen, Mary Ann Hunter, and Nosindiso Winnifred Mtimkulu discuss the possibilities, dilemmas, and theoretical frameworks emerging from reflections on creative agency and peace.
Dr. Cynthia Cohen, Director of Programs in Arts and Society at the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis University, leads an ongoing inquiry into creative approaches to coexistence and reconciliation.
She facilitates international action/reflection projects, including Recasting Reconciliation through Culture and the Arts, and currently, Acting Together on the World Stage: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict, a video collaboration with Theatre Without Borders.
Dr. Paul Dwyer heads the Department of Performance Studies at the University of Sydney, where he teaches courses on aspects of theatre architecture, theatre design, site-specific performance, new media art and community cultural development.
Mary Ann Hunter
Tasmania-based Mary Ann Hunter, author of The Peace Initiative Resource (which documents the work of Contact Inc.'s work in Brisbane's communities) and an honorary research adviser with the Faculty of Arts, University of Queensland, is coordinator of an arts mentoring program for Aboriginal young people in the juvenile system.
Nosindiso Winnifred Mtimkulu
Mtimkulu, a musicologist, musician and artist engaged in arts-based reconciliation work in South Africa, is the project leader of the Memory, Arts and Culture Program at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town.
She leads Ensemble Uthingo, which is actively involved in the teaching and promotion of traditional African music and dance through educational workshops and live performances in schools.
Queenie Pelesa is a dynamic young musician and community cultural development practitioner of Samoan and German descent. She was involved as a Musician/Artist in Youth Arts QLD YAMP program mentored by acclaimed cabaret/jazz singer Barbara Fordham and launched an original EP at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. She has performed at for QLD's Premier Suncorp Queenslander Awards and other venues all over Brisbane and National.
Pelesa is currently Creative Producer for youth arts and cultural development company Contact Inc. She has been involved with Contact for almost 7 years and has managed projects, mentored young people and emerging artists and delivered several CCD projects and programs with young people and artsworkers. She was instrumental in establishing a three year initiative program called "Each one Teach one" for young emerging youth arts and cultural workers to be trained up to deliver ccd arts programs that address community concerns through arts and performance outcomes.
As well as producing work with Contact she is also producing and delivering arts and cultural projects with a crew of artsworkers aimed at engaging with young people for local service providers and community organizations as part of developing business and ccd crew called "Decisive".
Lana Tukaroa has been involved with Contact Inc since 2004. Born and raised in the Cook Islands she has a passion for young people, music and Cultures. Tukaroa is an Arts Facilitator and Cultural Youth Worker. She coordinates Peace Programs with young people for Brisbane City Council's Youth Team. She has worked on Common Ground: Reality for Contact Inc creating songs and slam poetry for young people that was presented at the ICON Creative Summit in Nov 2009. She was an arts worker on MutiCultures, a young leadership project at Sunnybank State High School.
In 2009 Tukaroa initiated a new project ‘Decisive’ a performance and cultural project with young people from all over Brisbane creating performances that uses vocals, song writing, dance and other elements fusing Culture and Hip Hop. Tukaroa aka MC Lyanama has performed at festivals and events across QLD. She collaborates with female beatboxer, Hopeyone to perform at festivals. Tukaroa attended JMC Music Academy where she has formed a new Jazz/Soul and Hip Hop band creating original conscious music.
Nosindiso Mtimkulu, project leader of the Memory, Arts and Culture Program at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, discusses the lessons she has learned from using art to aid reconciliation in South Africa.
She argues that the first step towards reconciliation is to address one's own pain.