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Research at St Andrews

Arts and conflict transformation in Myanmar’s minority areas

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Matteo Fumagalli - Speaker

The paper investigates about how artistic interventions can transform conflicts in Myanmar’s minority areas.
Since attaining independence in 1948 Myanmar has experienced a high number of domestic conflicts and armed insurgencies. The 2017 Rohingya crisis and the 2018 crackdown in Kachin state serve as stark reminders of the challenges the country is confronted with and their seemingly intractable nature. Building peace remains a tall order.
Efforts at reconciliation and conflict resolution in Myanmar have typically been top-down and have focused on high-level political dialogue, with limited social reach. Drawing on extensive fieldwork in Myanmar since 2013, including in Mon and Kayin states in 2019, the paper complements such approaches by exploring the potential of bottom-up participatory initiatives by local artists to promote dialogue, reconciliation and social justice. Empirically the paper discusses how different types of art – from painting to traditional dancing to modern music and street performances - target and engage different social groups.
Myanmar has a vibrant arts scene, and many initiatives and blur the lines between arts and active citizenship and social reflection. As it emphasizes the importance of local context and local experiences at reconciliation, the paper cautions against rather abstract macro-level approaches.
1 Dec 201831 Dec 2020

External organisation

NameInternational Studies Association (ISA)

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