•• Performing Conflict 2017

In cooperation with: the Ukrainian Catholic University of Lviv, and the Jagiellonian University of Krakow

Financed by: the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Workshop-Phase: 06th – 11th of June 2017. Facilitated by Nathalie Dickscheid (theologian, performer and specialized in theatre pedagogics). This project is at the centre of Valentyna Iziumskas doctoral research, which explores the importance of reflection in adult learning situations.

The workshop ‚performative conflicts‘ attempted to deal with cultural, religious, ethnological and political conflicts in eastern Europe. By way of example we visited and creatively worked with conflict-laden spaces and places in L’viv, Ukraine. Thereby we aimed at using performance art as a tool for sociocultural analysis and communication in order to offer an artistic involvement with old and new conflicts in the region as well as with its performative effect on people.

After some time of intensive dialogue and input on theory and methods of peace education and the performing arts, the participants visited historically, religiously and emotionally charged places in L’viv and – after intense performance training – were asked to create a performance in reaction to one of the places, which moved them most. The performances were then presented and filmed in a safe showing setting. Afterwards, the creative and social process was reflected upon in order to understand and evaluate the effectiveness of this method of conflict prevention.

In bringing together students from Ukraine, Poland and Germany we hoped to intensify the relationship between the nations and strengthen civic engagement of students regarding this region: firstly, by introducing performing art as a tool for conflict prevention and furthermore by giving the opportunity to come to terms with everyone’s conflict-laden past. This hopefully will now lead to empowerment of the participants (in their personal and social skills) who might be inspired to become ‚instruments of peace‘ (St. Francis) themselves.

Various exercises from the field of Theatre Pedagogy and Dance Education were used as a starting point to develop and broaden a personal approach to this art form, e.g. image theater/statue building , walking exercises, mirroring techniques, and translating text into movement.

Wearing labeled shirts with the stereotypes printed on them, the performers walked the runway at a steady pace while coming closer and closer to the audience. The long duration performance created an atmosphere that was positively intrusive and strong.

Prior to the performance the performers took pictures of all participants, printed them life-sized and turned them into masks. During the performance, every participant was asked to sit on stage, wearing a mask of a different person and having an improvised conversation in one’s mother tongue. The conversation was filmed by both performers who also filmed themselves. Even though different language were spoken, the conversation was surprisingly coherent and the masks seemed to melt into the body wearing it, thus questioning the singularity of (national) identity.

Reflection played an important role during the entire process. Every day the participants were asked to take some time at the end of a workshop phase to put in writing/painting what they experienced and how they felt. This intense reflection hopefully helped to understand and deepen the experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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