Call for Proposals: Participatory Arts for Epistemic and Social Justice in Post-Conflict Setting. DEADLINE 1 OCTOBER 2019

Provisional Title: Participatory Arts for Epistemic and Social Justice in Post-Conflict Settings (to be Submitted to Palgrave)


Melis Cin, Lancaster University UK

Faith Mkwananzi, University of Free State,

South Africa

Overview of the Book

The book aims to bring together two areas of interest to us (Participatory arts and social justice) and places them in conversation with each other conceptually and empirically in post-conflict settings. We understand socially engaged art interventions as a way of enhancing human development for social inequality and well-being. It can potentially transform the individuals and society through raising critical consciousness, promoting social change, introducing political and social issues to the public sphere, and even fuelling a social movement at large. The different cases in this book will highlight how participatory arts have a great potential to identify and document the local (indigenous) knowledge to create sustainable and peaceful communities; face injustices and create a platform for community resilience. We expect that the cases will touch upon the methodological processes of participatory arts methods in co-production of knowledge and the ways in which these socially engaged art interventions can enhance well-being, lives and opportunities of communities and individuals. But these cases will also illustrate the difficulties and limitations involved in participatory arts and will contribute to reflect on the constrains and possibilities to create peaceful communities working for social change.

The first strand of the book looks at the methodological contribution of participatory methods and showcases the use of socially engaged art intervention in post-conflict settings to raise critical consciousness and to promote social transformation, and to introduce political and social issues to the public sphere. The second strand is a theoretical contribution on the use of arts methods in developing well-being of the individuals and communities and engaging youth in addressing social inequalities within their communities (and themselves). The book aims to draw on multiple contexts and demonstrates how arts-based methods have been used with the youth to disrupt various post conflict inequalities, stereotypes, marginalisation, social violence and exclusion. The intended aim is to demonstrate how youth, through arts, can be political actors of the communities and drivers of social change.

We are inviting CTS authors to submit an abstract that highlights one or both of the following aspect of their socially engaged art interventions.

The two areas the book takes up are:

1) Participatory process of arts: Through personal and collective creative expression participatory art methods provide an environment that builds opportunities to challenge and disrupt long standing biases and stereotypes about or own lives and the lives of others. Processes that involve expressions of individual experiences and aspirations often draw from traumatic pasts or undesirable experiences. Thus, we understand the participatory process to be a complex and multi-layered operating on an emotional, creative level (Wheeler 2018). So, while the use of participatory arts may provide democratic spaces for collective engagement on social issues and expressions of the desired change, they involve a lot of self-exploration. In so doing, the participatory process provides opportunities to voice and express concerns that are often internalised, often leading to social powerlessness- which is in line wine with changing the story projects. Involving youth as co-producers of knowledge in these projects not only provides democratic spaces for participation, but also addresses the complexities of the flow of knowledge within generations in relation to what the youth know, how they know, what they know and what they desire to know more of. As such an essential methodological contribution of the book is to highlight how participatory processes evoke the different social and cultural knowledge that exist among individuals and groups. Therefore, this strand also seeks to demonstrate the elaborate nature of participatory art processes in knowledge production and epistemological diversity. This process is viewed to have potential to yield maximum benefits for those whom the knowledge is created with, and who it is intended for. In consequence, participatory arts methods become a creative engagement tool with various stakeholders to deconstruct any stereotypes associated with inequalities and incapacities held about certain groups. Thus, the process is committed to social justice.

2. Individual/Community Wellbeing and Social Justice: Socially engaged art intervention can offer a significant contribution to equality and justice claims in higher education by giving “political voice” to youth to reveal their multiple ways of displaying resilience and agency in fighting against the challenges and inequalities, and to explore what they value in their lives and communities to inform policies. We argue that being able to speak up against perceived injustices is a fundamental freedom that is integral to one’s well-being (Sen, 1993). Our understanding of wellbeing draws on Amartya Sen’s (1999) conceptualisation of human development and capabilities and refers to the opportunities of individuals and groups have to realise their desired wellbeing. This aligns with the upholding of rights in pursuing social justice and striving to address social inequalities through collective communication and cooperation (Young 1990). Therefore, we expect that the chapters addressing this strand should seek to show how arts and participatory methods can contribute to youth’s or communities’ quest for seeking social justice or theorise and evaluate the social justice and arts.


Submitted abstracts should:

Be at least 250 words but should not exceed 500 words in the main body of the abstract, excluding references, figures, and tables. · Please send your abstract to Melis at ( and Faith at ( by 1st October 2019.

Following review of abstracts, authors will be notified 15th of October 2019 of whether a full paper will be invited for submission.

Submission of Chapters: April 2020

First round of feedback: June 2020

Submission of Revised Chapters: September 2020.