- Arts-based peacebuilding
- Functions of Theatre in Uganda, Kenya, and Zimbabwe
- Award date
- 12 December 2016
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
Individuals and communities that have been subject to protracted violent conflict seek ways to move out of a cycle of violence, toward healing and reconciliation. Affected people need tools to critically understand their context and to participate in creative problem solving, thus allowing them to move from victim to survivor, from violence to peacebuilding. Through this dissertation I examine the role of theatre as one form of creative expression and how it can contribute to the process of healing and reconciliation, leading to peacebuilding.
Using a qualitative research approach I observed theatre performances and interviewed theatre participants, audiences, and facilitators in three different locations in Africa whose communities have experienced violent conflict: Uganda, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. Since I was able to return to each research site two to four years after primary data collection, this research uniquely includes a longitudinal perspective.
Concepts of forgiveness, healing, reconciliation, and resilience arose as precursors of peacebuilding. I identify positive as well as negative effects of participating in theatre projects Finally, conditions by which theatre would be better positioned to make a positive contribution to healing and reconciliation are outlined. I conclude that theatre as one type of arts-based peacebuilding provides a venue for storytelling which contributes to reclaiming one’s identity, healing relationships, and thus moving affected persons from being victims to survivors, and moving communities from violence to peacebuilding.
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