Conflict Transformation Art
Practice Led Research examining the role of socially engaged art in resisting urban segregation, using Nicosia Cyprus as a case study
Evanthia Tselika, Birkbeck College, University of London
Through this practice led research I argue the emergence of conflict transformation art as a practice that was developed through the applied exploration of the role of socially engaged art in segregated urban environments, using Nicosia, Cyprus as a case study. The emerging method was enabled through three projects which demonstrated that in Nicosia social art practice in relation to urban segregation is shaped by conflict resolution art due to the condition of Nicosia as an ethno-nationally divided city. Conflict transformation art is distinct to conflict resolution art as it moves beyond the element of peace-building and ethno-national divisions. As a method of practice it highlights elements of conflict, difference, citizenship, and representation and it addresses these through an arts practice which focuses on dialogical, pedagogical and situational structures.
This practice led research project reflects through the conflict transformation art model on how difference is handled within the urban environment and argues that if we are to resist segregation, conflict must be accepted as an inherent part of human relations, and contexts must be created so that differences and antagonisms are addressed. This critical method of working was built from the bottom up through the organic nature of the practice led research process and it resists imposed orders that destroy the complexity of the city and which try to impose a structure of segregation, be that ethnic, racial, cultural, economic, religious or ideological. I chose to conduct my research through a place where the models of what has prevailed as a socially engaged art methodology are largely absent. Due to this I hope that it provides an alternative narrative to the prevailing Northern European and Northern American debates of how social publics become involved through the arts.
Some links to practical projects developed as part of my practice-
Re Aphrodite – http://www.reaphrodite.org/
Public Works 2010/2011- http://publicworks2010.blogspot.co.uk/
Unconscious Architecture- http://unconsciousarchitecture.blogspot.co.uk/
Booklets Documenting the Practice
Re Aphrodite meets Alice Wang- https://evanthiatselika.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/booklet_no2_digital.pdf