The Arts of Inclusion (TAI): Examining the Role of Performing Arts for Peace Education in Conflict. A UK-Latin American Countries Network.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Education


This interdisciplinary network of academics (education and performing arts) and peace education advocates will critically explore the contribution made by the performing arts in developing peace education with - and the welfare of - individuals affected by violent conflict, beginning with Mexico, Colombia and Brazil. Beyond the benefits that the network will have for participants from these three countries and eventually the countries surrounding them (Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Bolivia), the network activities will benefit practitioners and NGOs working with conflict-affected individuals as well as local communities by helping to develop research-informed practices.

Examples of social arts programmes abound, but developers in conflict settings do not appear to comparatively and systematically study how and under which conditions individuals benefit from participation. This network will begin to address this gap. The proposal emerged through a collaboration between academic and non-academic colleagues in Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and the UK facilitated with an ESRC Impact Acceleration award that explored the participants' research needs. The network's initial theoretical framework is based on previous international research by the PI that investigated the uses of preforming arts for inclusion in post-conflict Northern Ireland. Nevertheless, the network will allow participants to identify key areas for further collaboration, research and capacity building to address the needs of individuals affected by conflict in their own countries. The three overlapping phases of activity during the 24-months time-frame focus on relationship building (through links among collaborators); capacity strengthening (through critically co-evaluating and sharing best practices and policies), and international development and outreach (through KE links with potential partners in other ODA countries).

The connections between academic and non-academic collaborators will be strengthened over the course of a series of 2-day workshops in Bogota, Chihuahua and Glasgow, where participants will share best practices, theories, and methodologies to support peace education activities built around the use of performing arts. The links created during these workshops will be further sustained through wide-access social media such as a dedicated Blog and Twitter. The network will expand its outreach through sharing a suite of multimedia resources developed throughout the project. These resources will include recorded practices of using performing arts for peace education, discussions and key presentations conducted during the workshops along with images of practices in situ, one policy briefing (from comparatively scoping the literature) and one practice briefing (from 9-month critical ethnographies conducted in the three countries, which will become an edited book). These resources will be shared with potential partners in other ODA countries identified through network participants, academic partners and advisory board members who already have links in these countries. To address the issue of access to resources, the materials will be available in a number of formats: video recordings via YouTube (key workshop videos will have subtitles in English and Spanish), press releases, blog posts, and through the high-visibility webpages of our collaborators, as well as through our own website. We will broadcast some of the KE activities developed during the network events and will also develop short toolkits (such as "How to" mini-tutorials and "Top 5 Strategies") for high circulation and visibility across the social media sites mentioned above. A professional media company will be commissioned to prepare a short film of network highlights for BBC pitch as an idea for a primetime documentary.

Planned Impact

Who might benefit from this research, and how might they benefit?
Our engagement and knowledge exchange (KE) will target (a) Relationship-building, (b) Capacity-strengthening and (c) International development and outreach:

(a) Relationship-building: The network partners will have the opportunity to develop long-term relationships through scoping policy and practice in Colombia, Mexico and Brazil (and neighboring low-income countries) and through international workshops. Members from the above countries will establish links in-situ through field visits in each location, to connect with non-academic collaborators such as program coordinators and leading practitioners. In Colombia, with two social arts programs: Music for Reconciliation, a program for displaced families, and Colombia Transforma, a USAID program managing 300 grants in communities greatly impacted by the conflict that are now at the forefront of the peace process, for example a peace building project Saravena led by Fundacion Prolongar. In Mexico with the NGO ConArte, responsible for the arts program Redesearte Culture of Peace that helped placate the ravaging effects of gang-war in Juarez City. In Brazil with the Playing for Change Foundation's work with children at risk/affected by gang-war. Connections with non-academics will be strengthened at workshops, and the links created sustained through wide-access social media such as a dedicated Blog, Twitter and website. The PI and Co-Is will regularly invite non-academics, for instance at the International Peace Research Association, to use these platforms as a way to share their own ideas, challenges and experiences.

(b) Capacity-strengthening: We will strengthen the capacity of non-academic collaborators by providing them with two days of workshops in Bogota, Chihuahua and Glasgow. These workshops will include structured support through presentations of previous projects using arts activities to develop peace education and social inclusion and other KE activities developed with and for members of the network. For instance, we will invite the Co-Is' students to participate: over 200 students and graduates of the Master's on Arts, Education and Peace Studies coordinated by Zapata will be invited to the workshop in Bogota, and over 200 students/graduates to the workshop in Mexico. Sharing models of best practice and developing new strategies across contexts in ODA countries will strengthen the network's capacity to cascade and implement these strategies in their own contexts. Best practices and initiatives will be shared with policy and practice leaders in the form of briefings. Links with the ministries of education and culture in Mexico, Colombia and Brazil already exist; and we will welcome the input from a prominent Latin American NGO: the International Centre for Education and Human Development (CINDE). Pineda and Acosta, CINDE regional and general directors, will provide us with insights from their 'Children and Young Peacebuilders' programme. CINDE has strong interests in arts for peace education in conditions of vulnerability in Colombia, Honduras and Bolivia, through work with families, communities and institutions. Our interdisciplinary network further adds value by providing its members with a model of networking and partnership-building inclusive of non-academics from the outset, for example developing a collaborative bid.

(c) International development and outreach: The network will expand its outreach through sharing a suite of multimedia resources, including recorded practices of using performing arts for peace education, discussions and key presentations from the workshops, images of practices in situ, and briefings. These resources will be shared with potential partners in other ODA countries identified through network participants such as CINDE, and academic partners and advisory members who already have links in these countries (for example Hulme's contacts in Honduras and El Salvador).
Description The Arts of Inclusion started in 2019 as a network of academics and practitioners aimed at building expertise to critically assess the role of performing arts practices for peace education and inclusion in conflict settings. Initially with members from the UK and Latin America, the network has grown ever since, recently with more music specialists with interdisciplinary expertise who are currently based in ten countries. At the time of writing (March 2022) an edited book for Routledge with 16 chapters by network members is being finalised by the network Principal Investigator (Odena). The book is titled 'Music and social inclusion: International research and practice in complex settings' and is due to be published by the end of 2022. The increasing number of publications focussed on the social impact of musical engagement evidence the topic's contemporary relevance. However, this increase in publications does not seem to provide a clearer understanding of how such impact may develop or of its value across settings. How is music and music education for social purposes understood and facilitated across complex community and education settings? What is the power of music in enhancing individual inclusion, social cohesion and cross-community work in post-conflict environments? How can we research the interactions of those engaged in musical activities aimed at other-than-musical purposes? These are just some of the questions addressed in this book, aimed at offering fresh insights from theory, practice-based research and methodological analyses, drawing on meticulous investigations focussed on complex education and community settings across fourteen countries, of which ten are in the Global South.

Although there are studies on the social purposes of music making for example in youth orchestras, available investigations tend to focus on self-reported positive outputs of programmes seen as successful and on their reach (i.e. counting heads). This has reinforced the view that music is somehow a 'magic' tool that works across contexts, without further interrogating the how, why and when, leaving the process of musical engagement as if existing in a separate realm. This view is unfortunately still prevalent amongst the general public and is often reinforced in academic publications that focus at best on the romantic aspects of social arts projects, and at worst on their self-reported 'positive impact' without considering how the music processes may have worked. This book challenges this view by offering new empirical investigations and methodological analyses that will advance our understanding of social music project development. More thorough analyses of this topic are required if the public perceptions of an academic approaches to social music activities are to change. The chapters in this book shed light on young and adult participants' inspirational dynamics and creative processes, which are assuming increasing importance in the field of the social impact of making music. This field, and the authors in this book, include researchers with backgrounds in Education, Music, Psychology, Human Geography and Political Sciences, with an interest on social music project development in formal and informal settings. The methodical investigations and analyses offered in this volume, such as the research of the social uses of music by displaced children and ex-combatants deploying sound ethnography and life history in chapters 15 and 16, are innovative because for the first time social methods are applied to interrogate an arts phenomenon in need of interdisciplinary work. This research will increase our understanding of social music programmes and their development, contributing a primary reference in the field.
Exploitation Route The ideas discussed in the book and on the projects' website might be taken forward and put to use by other users working in social music projects and programmes internationally.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Other

Description Changed practice in arts programmes for other-than-artistic purposes (peace education, social inclusion) by introducing activity adaptations to address participants' needs and context. Changes triggered by in-depth engagement with programme leaders. Changes included introducing tailored support activities depending on the psychosocial needs of children participating in Batuta's Music for Reconciliation programme in Colombia.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

Description Building expertise on arts practices for peace education and inclusion
Geographic Reach South America 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Until recently Batuta's focus was to provide musical activities, leaving 'reconciliation' to work out by itself--relying on the romantic aspects of musical creativity I challenged in my book Musical Creativity Revisited (Routledge, 2018). Following Rodriguez-Sanchez 3-month visit to Glasgow in 2015 to learn about my work and her subsequent appointment to lead Batuta's new Psychosocial team, she changed their practice to include tailored support activities depending on needs and context, e.g. whole family activities for those recently displaced (see revised programme components, in Spanish, at Rodriguez-Sanchez, an active member of TAI from its inception, is now the National Coordinator of Batuta's Psychosocial team.
Description Policy input on the British Embassy Science & Innovation strategy in Colombia to build a bilateral bridge for communication around GCRF projects
Geographic Reach South America 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Description TAI Co-Applicant Professor Patricia González-Moreno, Faculty of Arts, Autonomous University of Chihuahua, Mexico 
Organisation University of Chihuahua
Country Mexico 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The contributions by the research team are detailed in the proposal to the AHRC and further developments incorporated into on the project's website.
Collaborator Contribution The contributions by partners are detailed in the proposal to AHRC and further developments incorporated into on the project's website.
Impact The outputs and type of collaboration are described in the project's website.
Start Year 2019
Description TAI Co-Investigator Professor Gloria P. Zapata, Juan N. Corpas University Foundation, Colombia 
Organisation Juan N. Corpas University Foundation
Country Colombia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The contributions by the team are reported on the project's website.
Collaborator Contribution The contributions by partners are detailed in the proposal to the AHRC and further developments incorporated into on the project's website.
Impact The list of outcomes and the type of collaboration are described on the project's website.
Start Year 2019
Title Open Access repository at TAI website 
Description Open Access repository available on the TAI website 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2020 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact The repository allows interested users to download TAI presentations and documents. 
Description 1st TAI Workshop in Bogota July 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The 1st The Arts of Inclusion (TAI) Workshop was successfully held in Bogota' 28-29 July 2019 hosted by Gloria P. Zapata at Fundación Juan N. Corpas (FUJNC), following the 4th SIMM-posium, 27-29 July, 2019. Participants included TAI members/advisors M.E Pinto (CEO Fundación Prolongar), G. Howell (TAI Advisory), A. Cabedo (Jaume I University, Spain), S. Figueiredo (UDESC, Brazil), G. Baker (TAI Advisory), S. Niño (PhD student at Edinburgh), H. Vázquez (PhD student at Victoria, Canada), A. Rodríguez (Fundación Batuta), P. González (Co-Investigator, Autonomous University of Chihuahua, Mexico, on Skype), G. P. Zapata (Co-Investigator, FUJNC), O. Odena (Principal Investigator, Glasgow). The smooth running of the event was supported by L. Rico (Global Initiatives, FUJNC).

On Monday 29 July we had seven presentations, most of which are available in the Repository of the TAI website. Presenters were advised to discuss context, theoretical framework and practice - or findings if presenting research. After the presentations, the group considered the driving research questions of the TAI network and considered whether the 1st question may need revising in light of the ideas discussed. As suggested at the first Advisory meeting in March, we discussed the meaning of 'conflict', for example, the difference between conflict, confrontation and war, and the concepts of cultural and symbolic violence.

We also considered the related concepts of 'conflict transformation', 'creative transformation of conflict' and 'strategic creativity for peace-building'. We agreed to share further readings and to work collaboratively and remotely until the 2nd TAI Workshop in Glasgow in May 2020 (postponed due to Covid).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019