Changing the Story Working Papers

Working papers informing and deriving from the Changing the Story project.

"Dark pasts – brighter futures? Mobilising histories of discrimination, persecution and genocide to make progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals". The legacy of traumatic pasts – including internal displacement, war and genocide – is one of the most serious obstacles to development in post-conflict states. The Mobilising Histories workshop, which was organised by the University of Leeds and the South African Holocaust and Genocide Foundation, and supported through the UK Global Challenges Research Fund, brought together academics and practitioners (from NGOs and civil society organisations), to learn from each other, and share their experience of devising arts interventions that mobilise ‘dark pasts’ to promote social justice agendas.
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"Arts-based research practices and alternatives: Reflections on workshops in Uganda and Bangladesh" by Ruth Kelly and Emilie Flower. "In July 2017, two groups of academics, artists and activists held research workshops in Kampala and in Dhaka to explore how art could help us imagine and inhabit new ways of being, feeling and knowing, opening space to begin to articulate alternatives. We worked from the premise that imagination is not just something we have; it's something we generate together, through shared experiences, languages and ideas; through image, stories, dance, and music. Tapping into the rich cultural and artistic heritage of the places we come from, participants used art to experience the world differently and to dream up visions of a more just and sustainable world. [...] In this working paper, we (Emilie Flower and Ruth Kelly) situate, describe and reflect on the two three-day workshops in Kampala, Uganda and Dhaka Bangladesh. We explore whether and how arts-based research practices can disrupt dominant ways of knowing and performing ‘development,’ allowing activists and practitioners to explore different ways of knowing and to identify and articulate alternatives".
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"Mobilising the Past to Support Human Rights and the UN Sustainable Development Goals" This literature review, authored by Emma Parker (University of Leeds) has been compiled as part of the AHRC-funded project, ‘Mobilising Multidirectional Memory to Build more Resilient Communities in South Africa’ (Taberner and Boswell, 2017). It offers a selective annotated bibliography of scholarship, projects and literature examining how memories of dark pasts intersect with both the arts and international development goals. With a particular focus on recent developments in memory studies, it includes discussions of literature and human rights, film, photography, the performing arts, heritage sites and digital memory. While being by no means extensive, it reflects some of the current research in these intersecting areas, demonstrating how efforts to understand difficult or traumatic pasts may be mobilised to shape better futures.
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As a starting point for the work Prof. Paul Cooke will be doing on the network, along with at least some of the other colleagues involved, we are working on the first of a series of ‘#ChangingTheStory working papers’ on the website that explores the relationship of participatory art within the context of development. This first paper, entitled " 'Post-Participatory' Arts for the 'Post-Development' Era" is co-authored with our project manager Inés Soria-Turner, and is aimed at framing a set of papers which will appear as the result of the initial work that was undertook during an international seminar in Leeds in February 2017 and subsequently during a series of participatory video projects in South Africa, Brazil and India as part of the University of Leeds' previous GCRF grant 'Voicing Hidden Histories: Troubling the National Brand'. Image credit: Members of the young women's filming group in Codó, Maranhão taking a break from filming as part of the Brazilian strand of 'Voicing Hidden Histories'.
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