Connective Memories (Rwanda)

Connective Memories: Intergenerational Expressions in Contemporary Rwanda is a Changing the Story Phase 2 ECR project.

Drawing on arts-based methodologies, the Connective Memories (CM) project will break new ground by exploring the ways that memories are made, mediated and negotiated by Rwandan young people to create new social imaginaries, in contexts where narratives of trauma and violence dominate. While there has been increasing attention to intergenerational transmission of trauma, this is largely framed by theory and practice from the Global North and there has been far less consideration about how children themselves approach the concept and practice of memory and how this may act as a resource to create cultures of their own making. 

CM is an interdisciplinary project, which will be co-designed, undertaken and evaluated with young people in Rwanda to address three questions. First, what are the characteristics and dynamics of memory among children and youth? Second, how are memories constituted and mediated intergenerationally? Third, how might arts-based methodologies open up possibilities for a) understanding and exploring memories and how these are mediated in transgenerational spaces and b) for creating more locally-grounded and culturally sensitive approaches to envisaging alternative futures in addressing past legacies of violence? This collaborative project will seek to learn from, and build on, the knowledge and capacities of local actors to extend, elaborate and reimagine responses to the legacies of violence by adapting the Mobile Arts for Peace methodology to a participatory action research project undertaken by youth trained in MAP with their peers to design and perform a creative output to engage in intergenerational dialogues. 

The overarching intended impact is to foster space for marginalised young people, to allow hidden stories to emerge and create new future imaginaries. Via written and creative outputs, the project will generate: new theoretical insights; offer a preliminary evaluation of the MAP methodology to inform the development of the National Arts Curriculum; and consider the higher-level policy implications of findings for development agencies.


Understandings of childhood and trauma are based on bio-psychological frameworks emanating from the Global North, often at odds with the historical, political, economic, social and cultural contexts in which interventions are enacted, and neglect the diversity of knowledge, experiences and practices. This paper explores these concerns in the context of Rwanda and the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi. We reflect on two qualitative case studies: Connective Memories and Mobile Arts for Peace which both used arts-based approaches drawing on the richness of Rwandan cultural forms.

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Written by Chaste Uwihoreye and Kirrily Pells, in collaboration with Eric Ndushabandi and Ananda Breed. A common trope oft repeated...


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Connective Memories: Intergenerational Expressions in Contemporary Rwanda is a Changing the Story Phase 2 ECR project