UNESCO's Initiatives on Social Cohesion through Artistic Interventions among Refugees and in Post-conflict Areas

By: Amina Hamshari  

Artistic interventions through their transformative power contribute to human rights and dignity. On 11 December 2018, ‘Art Lab’s first event celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in cooperation with the Théâtre national de Chaillot in Paris, France. Eight international artists shared their experience with the most vulnerable persons, refugees or displaced persons, in deeply fragmented societies damaged by war. They demonstrated how their artistic practice can "repair" the human beings from traumas. UNHCR, for instance, has been working with artists in refugee camps to develop art as a therapy and positive narrative around refugees. The project wishes to go one step further by providing guidelines for planning artistic interventions to foster human rights and dialogue, reporting on good practices based on research and developing advocacy tools. By encouraging resilience, art participates in transitional justice and memory processes for the consolidation of peace and human dignity, as underlined by the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Karima Bennoune in her report on ’Cultural initiatives fostering right respecting societies’ issued in January 2018. ‘Art Lab’ will contribute to repositioning the human being at the center of humanitarian aid programs. It will highlight the contribution of artistic practice to the resilience of the most disadvantaged populations, focusing on refugee populations and post-conflict societies. At the time of submission of the proposed paper, the Art Lab project document is in the process of being finalized for fundraising purposes.

Art, Human Dignity, Social Cohesion, Peace, Resilience, Post-conflict, Refugees, Rights
The Arts in Social, Political, and Community Life
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Amina Hamshari

Programme Specialist in Intercultural Dialogue, Social Human Sciences Sector, UNESCO, France