SAM Seminar: Communicating for Peace through Art

When:9 Aug 2016, 5pm - 6:30pm
Venue:Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Kensington
Who:Valentina Baú
SAM Seminar

Using participatory communication and art to work with internally displaced adolescents in Mindanao.

Within a framework of Communication for Development (C4D) in peacebuilding, the study presented at this seminar sheds light on the outcomes that participatory art and media such as puppetry and photography can lead to when employed as communication channels among youth affected by conflict and displacement. In situation of emergencies, not enough attention is being paid to adolescents, who are often regarded as mere recipients of aid and are not targeted as a specific group in the humanitarian response. This failure in recognising young people as active responders represents too often a missed opportunity for planning their participation in rebuilding peace and facilitating development in their communities. UNICEF has adopted an Adolescent Development and Participation Approach in its programming, which involves the implementation of activities that aim to provide young people with a safe space and with opportunities to participate and create networks.

This talk introduces an experience from the Mindano region of the Philippines, an area affected by long-term conflict between the Filipino government and the insurgent groups that fight to gain control of that territory. The study presented assesses the UNICEF Art For Development programme, which was implemented with adolescents living in an internally displaced people’s camp in the city of Zamboanga in 2015. Rather than focusing on the therapeutic effect that these activities have on individuals, this investigation has looked at the programme’s ability to provide adolescents from different ethnic groups with a safe space to participate and collaborate in art and media production, to communicate and express themselves in the context of community conflict such as that of a displaced people’s camp.


Valentina Baú works as a lecturer and researcher in the School of the Arts & Media at UNSW. With a professional background in international development, Valentina’s academic work focuses on the use of Communication for Development (C4D) in peacebuilding. She has completed a PhD at Macquarie University on the role of participatory media in conflict transformation and reconciliation after civil violence. Through her doctoral project she has looked at the use of media stories and other communication approaches (such as video, theatre and photography) to create a shared narrative between opposing groups, working in Kenya with communities affected by the 2007/2008 ethnic conflict.

Her present research explores different approaches and evaluation methodologies on the application of Communication for Development to engage citizens in processes of peacebuilding after civil violence. Valentina has worked in various countries in the Global South and has collaborated with international NGOs, the United Nations and the Italian Development Cooperation, both in a research and communication capacity. Her experience involves the implementation of both research and media projects with victims and perpetrators of conflict, displaced people, refugees and people living in extreme poverty.

Visit Valentina's research profile page.


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