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FRIHUMSAM-Fri prosj.st. hum og sam

Inspirational creative practice: the work of artists in times of war and violent conflict (INSPIRE)

Alternative title: Inspirerende kreativ praksis: kunstneres arbeid i krigstid og voldelig konflikt (INSPIRE)

Awarded: NOK 12.0 mill.

How do artistic expressions inspire and move others into action for social justice? What inspires and motivates people to engage in such creative practices? INSPIRE studies the role of artists and creative practice in and after war and violent conflict. The project introduces inspiration as a new and important field of research through studying the intersections between artists, art and activism during and after war and conflict. The project focuses on the role of local and transnational creative practices in Sudan and Myanmar, and studies artists and activists in exile in several European countries. INSPIRE draws on work on inspiration in the humanities and psychology, combined with insights from research on artists and activism in anthropology, sociology, political science and conflict studies. The project is implemented by Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO). The kickoff workshop for the project took place with the research team at PRIO in January 2020. In July, the project obtained the NSD data management and protection clearance. On 15th of September, 2020, an online advisory board meeting took place. The board includes artists, academics and representatives of cultural institutions worldwide. The second meeting of the board was on 7th of September 2021 also online. Between October 2020 and September 2021, we held several workshops for the research team, including on methods/methodology (10.2020), on digital methods (11.2020), on ethics (02.21). As one of the important outputs, an MA thesis related to the project was completed by Sara Christophersen (research assistant), entitled: Embodied Possibilities: A study of dance as an artistic, everyday practice in Palestine. Since, March 2021, we have established regular monthly meetings of the research team. INSPIRE draws on multi-sited ethnography, (creative) life history interviews with artists, collaborative arts-based workshops, qualitative interviews and focus group discussions, and a virtual platform. The project explores collaborative arts-based methods to develop ways of co-creating knowledge that draw on a combination of scientific and artistic methods with artists, activists and general practitioners. Due to the pandemic there have been some adjustments made to the fieldwork, including developing online methodology. Fieldwork began in different research sites, including doctoral research fieldwork with artists from Myanmar (mainly online due to Covid as well as coup d'état in Myanmar), research with other artists in Myanmar (online), fieldwork with exiled artists in Norway, France, Switzerland and Germany (both online and in person). Workshops with artists took place in Oslo in the spring of 2021. As part of doctoral fieldwork, an art exhibition was organised with Myanmar artists in Oslo (summer 2021). The INSPIRE (https://inspire.gallery/) website was developed and successfully launched in June 2021. This is both a methodological tool as well as a collaborative platform that enables artistic practice, research and dissemination for artists and researchers. Initial research was also presented at three international academic conferences held online in Vienna (Vienna Anthropology Association - November 2020, London (African Studies Association, May 2021) and Ghana (International Association for the Study of Forced Migration, July 2021). A Special Issue with 6 articles was submitted to Conflict and Society and awaiting publication (foreseen in 2022). The project also initiated a monthly INSPIRE Seminar Series that started in September 2021. It is an open space for artists, researchers and cultural institutions to reflect on the core themes that we work on in the research project. An MA student at the University of Neuchâtel working under the supervision of the INSPIRE project leader joined the INSPIRE team in September 2021. Her MA thesis will be look at the link between art and humanitarian action. Further, the initial results from the project were integrated into teaching at the PRIO International Summer School (July 2021). While the primary objective is to develop a comprehensive theory of creative inspiration and thus contribute scientifically, the project is expected to have a strong societal impact as well. This potential lies in understanding the ways in which artists, through their art, move the intellect and emotions of others, especially activists and peace-makers. During and after war, representations and narratives play a substantial role in shaping the basis for a post-war future. New knowledge on how these representations and narratives are shaped by artists, art and their audiences can help practitioners working with reconciliation processes after war.

How do artistic expressions inspire and move others into action for social justice? What inspires and motivates people to engage in such creative practices? INSPIRE studies the role of artists and creative practice in and after violent conflict. The project introduces inspiration as a new and important field of ethnographic research through studying the intersections between artists, art and activism during and after war. The project will focus on the role of local and transnational creative practices in and after wars in Sudan and Myanmar, and study artists and activists in exile in four European countries. INSPIRE draws on work on inspiration in the humanities and psychology, combined with insights from research on artists and activism in anthropology, sociology, political science and conflict studies. It will particularly focus on spatial and temporal dimensions of inspiration in times of war. INSPIRE will draw on multi-sited ethnography, (creative) life history interviews with artists, collaborative arts-based workshops, qualitative interviews and focus group discussions, and a virtual platform. The project will explore collaborative arts-based methods to develop ways of co-creating knowledge that draw on a combination of scientific and artistic methods. While the primary objective of INSPIRE is to develop a comprehensive theory of creative inspiration and thus contribute scientifically, the project is expected to have a strong societal impact as well. This potential lies in understanding the ways in which artists, through their art, move the intellect and emotions of others. During and after war, representations and narratives play a substantial role in shaping the basis for a post-war future. New knowledge on how these representations and narratives are shaped by artists, art and their audiences can help stakeholders working with reconciliation processes after war, especially those who use arts-based methods.

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FRIHUMSAM-Fri prosj.st. hum og sam