In Place of War’s Cultural Entrepreneur Training Programme *
January 26 – 30 2015
Supported by the University of Manchester, UK.
This five day training programme will train a number of people in the Srebrenica region to deliver an 8-week short course exploring a diverse range of practices and models through a series of innovative case studies from around the world. The trainees will engage with and analyse real life creative models and learn skills to develop a creative project.
Participants can find out how to develop and deliver a live event, learn why the cultural industries are important, discover how networks and partnerships can enhance a creative project, explore alternative models for structuring your creative business, understand how to fund a creative project and explore how others in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America have developed their creative projects. You will also develop your own creative project and present it to industry experts.
The course itself is divided into 8 units and in the 5 days training using the online programme you will learn how to teach:-
1) An Introduction to the cultural industries
2) An Introduction to cultural business management
3) Alternative models in the cultural industries
4) Festivals, events and conferences
5) Creative spaces
6) Networks and collaborative working
7) Social media and citizen journalism
8) The Creative Challenge
The course is run in conjunction with the University of Manchester, Agencia, the Youth Council and SARA, Srebrenica with Opera Circus. There are 12 spaces maximum and the sessions will be run in the offices of SARA, from 10 – 5 every day from the 26th – 30th January.
The course is free and lunch, coffee and tea will be provided. This pilot project course will be in English. There is a possibility of providing overnight stays for those from Milici and Vlasenica for 2 people. Transport for those from these towns and from Bratunac may apply for travel expenses. All participants must complete the full 5 day training programme.
After this pilot process we will arrange for the material to be translated into Bosnian/Serbian in order that the trainers can then deliver the programme more widely. We will work with all concerned to raise funding to extend the learning to businesses, municipalities, NGO’s, colleges and individuals interested in starting their own cultural and social enterprises, extending the learning to their own organisations or institutions or young artists and creative people wanting to develop their own projects.
The project itself is accredited by the University of Manchester and the people who have been trained during this pilot project week will receive a certificate confirming the training has been completed. There will be follow on support and consultation after completion of the programme.
Further details of the pilot project will be available early in January.
If you are interested in booking a place for this training please contact Nemanja Zekic at the Youth Centre
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
In Place of War
This web site will slowly develop over the next few months. We finally had to abandon our old Wordpress site as a rather nasty Malware virus refused to budge and BT seemed incapable of dealing with it.
2014 has been a year of new partners, new projects, ideas and energy. A new humility at the amount of work that is being carried out world wide by artists who are using their creativity to help people in so many ways as well as practicing their own artistry. At the Salzburg Global Seminar on "Conflict Transformation through Culture: Peace -Building and the Arts", 60 artists from Cambodia, Rwanda, China, Kenya, South Africa, Palestine and Israel amongst many other countries exchanged practice, ideas and information. My question was just how many people are there in the world re-building societies through culture and the arts and when will we reach that moment when the power and influence of what we are all achieving together with our communities, will connect in one big moment of change. It can't be far away.
In April we led a short research programme funded by UNICEF on the uses of music in 8 elementary schools in the Srebrenica region (Bratunac, Zvornik, Milici, Potocari, Srebrenica, Skelani, Vlasenica). This we hope will develop into a larger project and more information on this under current work. Thanks to Tony Pesikan, John Moonen and Mladen Kojic for their expert skills in delivering the music and art workshops. A full report can be found under the What we do Page
In July Nigel Osborne led his Summer Music Camp for Children with Special Needs in Pula and Rovinj in Croatia and in Tuzla, Bosnia. Nigel and volunteers fund and run this camp which caters for a minimum of 150 children and young people, working with partners Los Rosales from Mostar, the School for Rehabilitation in Pula, Croatia, The Mare Centar in Rovinj, Croatia, Ulysses Theatre, Zagreb and the Universities of Zagreb, Pula and Edinburgh, and us. We managed to raise a further €31,000 from a variety of sources and with the help of Mrs. Doraja Eberle the founder of the Austrian NGO, Bauern helfen Bauern. Our aim was to take as many children from the flooded areas in the region of Srebrenica for a holiday to this camp, including a group from Leptir, the Association of Handicapped Children in Potocari, nr. Srebrenica. Over 70 children, carers and volunteers were able to participate in the Summer Camp, giving them not only a wonderful holiday by the sea but also offering musical activities and music therapy and sport, good food and rest. Our partners from the Srebrenica region were EMMAUS, CESVI, SARA, the Youth Council and our excellent project manager in Srebrenica, Milena Nikolic. A full report is available from Opera Circus on request, see the contacts page.
In August we ran a youth culture and arts pilot project at Bryanston School in Dorset, UK. These 8 days were in preparation for the development of a five year international programme of youth arts events built around equality, inclusion and Human Rights. The project was called The Complete Freedom of Truth, which comes from an original quote by Vaclav Havel, "When a truth is not given complete freedom, freedom is not complete." Full details of the project can be found on the web site and the future plans will soon be on our page Current Work.
In October international arts producer Gillian Newson, organised a meeting for us with the Director of the Ravenna International Music Festival and the Director of the Association of the Theatres of the region of Emiglia Romagna. This meeting was to discuss a partnership to develop the chamber opera Naciketa. As a result we have an "in principle" agreement to produce a semi staged concert tour of Naciketa in May-July 2016. Further information on this shortly.
In the same month I was invited to be part of a team of artists developing one strand of Siena's bid to become Capital City of Culture in 2019. Siena's bid was shortlisted but didn't succeed. It was a wonderfully complex series of inspired ideas and journeys to rebuild Siena's society through culture and the arts. Happily some of the excellent team that created the ideas are working on ways to use some of their plans through partnerships and other forms of EU funding. The Commune di Siena is also a partner with the youth project The Complete Freedom of Truth and we very much look forward to working with this beautiful city and its generous people.
Late October, I was invited to Mumbai and Rajasthan to take part in a truly inspiring process by Leader's Quest.
120 people from local and global NGO's, social entrepreneurs, artists, facilitators, corporations and businesses of all kinds came together in the deserts of Rajasthan to explore ideas and actions to change the current global inequality and to explore many new creative and fairer practices in the way we live and work. I hope that the contacts I made, the new perspectives I came away with, the energy and the friendships will contribute to the work of Opera Circus and can be shared widely and with our partners.
In November I took part in an informal workshop on Cultural Spaces during and post Conflict with the External Services of the EU. There is a full report on this on this blog. Discussions are taking place as to the follow up to this workshop possibly with the support of Salzburg Global Seminars. This is the beginning of an EU wide discussion on the importance of culture and arts to all aspects of our lives. Finally the discussion is on the table.
There were many trips to Srebrenica and Sarajevo, meetings, discussions and learning, as always. A lot of time is spent on raising funding and reporting, particularly with the overly complex EU applications. There has to be a better system that allows artists and those working in culture and the arts to contribute more easily to societies. So much time is wasted raising funds and reporting in finite detail to an economic system that isn't designed to facilitate and support the value of what artists contribute.
It has been a huge pleasure working alongside the HOME in Bridport project and seeing the development of this broad programme of community work, based on culture and the arts and food. Films have been made, in particular the beautiful Homes for Heroes, exceptional photographs and a subsequent exhibition of 17 local people's art work at the Bridport Arts Centre. HOME has worked alongside Transition Town Bridport and St. Mary's Primary School, growing food, encouraging workshops, farm visits and community events. HOME is working with Magna Housing Association and members of the Alexander and Princess Road communities in Skilling, slowly finding ways to improve the local environment for the residents of a particular part of the estate that needs some care and attention. This will include the development of a new garden space for growing food and flowers and pleasure, particularly for the children. It will also link to the St. Mary's school in sharing the growing, cooking and eating process. We are aiming to design a "sensory path" from the school to the community with mosaics designed by Rebecca Garner, community and mosaic artist, working with the children on the designs and colours, sounds and textures. In 2015 HOME in Bridport, led by Robert Golden is running a programme of work called Democracy in Bridport.
It has been such an inspiration working with all our partners in Bridport, Chennai, Srebrenica, Brighton, London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Kolkata and Tuzla; the young people who have contributed so much to the quality and power of the work; the artists and facilitators who give of their time, skills and experience so generously, to our endlessly patient Board, to all of our funders (who are all thanked in various parts of this web site,) ; in particular to Milena Nikolic, Nemanja Zekic and Nedeljko Simic from Srebrenica for their commitment and courage, to Claire Hodgson from Diverse City for her inspirational leadership for The Complete Freedom of Truth and for deeply influencing and teaching us all about diversity, to Robert Golden for his endlessly beautiful photographs and films which have enabled Opera Circus over the years to share its work with the world, to Nigel Osborne as always for his music and giving all of us hope, to Doraja Eberle for her generosity and heart, to Fabio Santos, for his fund raising skills and his vast experience of working with young people…the list is endless and if your name isn't on his list it is somewhere in this web site and embedded deep inside the work.
May we continue to work together with kindness and belief that through culture and art we can improve not only our own lives but the lives of others….Nigel Osborne said to us that economics and politics have failed and what we have left to trust is culture. Let us continue to develop it together.
"Thinking about culture as if democracy mattered"
The Parliament of Dreams, Francois Matarasso
On the 25th November, an informal EU supported workshop seminar was held in Brussels and supported by the EU's Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP). Other organisations represented were the Salzburg Global Seminars, More Europe, Council of Europe and UNESCO with other different departments from the EU.. This workshop was primarily concerned with the current troubles in the Ukraine. I was invited because of the experience I have had working in Bosnia and in particular Srebrenica. I describe myself as a sort of e.g., giving an example of how cultural activity with young people has succeeded in supporting some to become more empowered and quite a large number to have access to mobility projects and to the encouragement of their own creativity. Please see the web site and the documentary link on the first page. http://www.thecompletefreedomoftruth.com
I will be publishing some more notes from this meeting, in particular those agreed by the 5 artists/cultural operators/manager from the Ukraine and Russia and a link to the report that will be written by Clare Shine, the Director of Salzburg Global Seminars.
Here is the brief talk I gave in Brussels about my experience of the uses of music and the creative arts in areas of post conflict and with those with disability and/or trauma as a result of war or conflict.
My name is Tina Ellen Lee. My background is as an artist and performer. I co-founded the performing arts charity Opera Circus in 1991 whose broad remit is public education through the arts. We commission and produce new contemporary chamber opera and music theatre and work with all the creative art forms but in particular music and at present primarily with children and young people in Srebrenica, Bosnia.
There is now a great deal of proven research that shows how music can develop the power of the brain leading to improvements not only in mental capacity but in physical and emotional functions.
Emeritus Professor of Music at Edinburgh University and composer, Nigel Osborne, has worked with Harvard and others to provide much evidence that access to music at an early age can increase the capacity for absorbing information particularly in the sciences and mathematics and that music can help to improve the emotional and physical responses of children and young people with mental and physical disabilities and with trauma caused by war or conflict. Here is a brief explanation, taken from a theoretical paper written by Professor Osborne for us, about how music can help children suffering from trauma:-
“We use the power of music to offer support and the possibility of change to traumatised children in three overlapping domains. The first domain is the biological, and is concerned with the way music may have a significant effect on the bodies and physical symptoms of children who have experienced difficulties through trauma. The psychological domain is more commonly understood in the sense that it concerns the way that music can change the way we think and feel as individuals. The social part is concerned with how we relate to other people and our perception of ourselves in our social lives. We believe that music can work simultaneously on all these levels. I see the bio-psycho-social paradigm as a cycle, or circle, circumscribing a space within which music may operate in an entirely simultaneous and “holistic” way.”
“Music creates a number of electrochemical events in the brain and body. These are the seas of the ocean of emotion. We may have these islands we call fear, love, or anger but in music we travel the ocean between them. That is how and why we may explore emotion “safely” in music. Our children have been very damaged emotionally. Emotions like love, hate, fear, anxiety and jealousy have often become damaged, transformed or confused by traumatic experience. If you see your parents shot in front of you, how do you think about love and hate after that ? Music offers the chance to travel the ocean of emotion without having to land on these dangerous and unhappy islands – at least not until we are ready. Most important of all, we do not need words, Traumatised children are often very reluctant to talk about their experiences, but eager to communicate about them in other ways. Music is not only non-verbal. In evolutionary terms it is probably pre-verbal: evolved from the way our ancestors communicated their intentions and states of body and mind to one another.”
This is Professor Osborne speaking in a documentary we commissioned called A Gift of Culture. It was filmed at the Summer Music Camp in Bosnia and Croatia which he runs every year for children with disabilities and those suffering from trauma.
Bread, tents, medicines, water are all vital to support shattered communities after the horror of modern warfare in an environment of fear created not only by the incumbent armies but also by the corrupt politicians and others who move in after to suck up the spoils. But as the cultural commentator Francois Matarasso has written,
“Culture generally and music and the arts specifically support the creation of environments for tolerance and understanding within divided communities.”
In 2009 I was invited to Srebrenica by a local NGO to have discussions with a number of young people in the town who wanted to develop their skills in music, dance and theatre. They were 14 and 15 years old and mostly Serb. I approached the conversation in Srebrenica very carefully. It was 14 years after the end of the Bosnian war and many people had been involved in attempts to unite the community and they had mostly failed. The young people intrinsically understood that culture and the creative arts were their way to heal themselves and to work towards a more positive future for their community. They had set up a Children’s Music Theatre to which they invited young children of any ethnicity. When I met them they proudly proclaimed that in several years of working with the children in the theatre spaces, they had not had one racial or ethnic incident although these were common on a daily basis in the schools.
One young woman, Jana, who helped work with the children said it was theatre that had taught her tolerance, before she had been prejudiced against the Bosniak (Muslim) community but working with culture and the arts had taught her to understand and respect their similarities and differences.
I don’t believe there are ever any quick fixes, particularly when trying to rebuild a people after war. One young woman who had dug the Srebrenica Youth Centre out of the rubble and bodies and excrement and ran it for a number of years before depression set in said that they had rebuilt the roads and religious buildings, but they hadn’t rebuilt the people.
In Mostar another woman said that after the Bosnian war everyone felt optimistic that they could get back to work and begin to rebuild their lives, but no one rebuilt the factories and there were no jobs. There are still few, and those that exist are controlled by the political parties, nepotism and bribes.
I and others in this field provide a safe creative space bringing highly professional and skilled artists with sound practice to encourage a sharing of ideas and concerns. It takes time to be trusted. Large scale is not always the solution. You have to go and stay or be available, contactable and responsive. Young people in post conflict areas find themselves stuck and unable to move forward without support. The art forms we use allow the frozen emotional and physical states to be eased and for people to begin to express themselves.
To have an integral, moral and effective process you need to discuss with the people on the ground, the community and the young people what they themselves need. You don’t impose a process through market research. Then be honest about your own capabilities, networks and what you have to offer and then establish a working environment that consults and partners. People in Srebrenica are irritated and offended by internationals who come offering peace processes and reconciliation programmes when what they want is to live without fear, a working democracy and jobs.
I asked a young man I work with in Srebrenica what he thought about what was most important in post conflict situations:- He said, “One thing is consistency. I mean consistency of people who come to post-conflict communities to work. People survived violence, refugee camps, corruption and lies. Years of lies. The reason why people trust you and the small number of others, is that you come back. You always come back. That is the only way to make a change. To stay there, or to keep coming back. Otherwise, we are just talking about people and projects that are offending people who live in these communities. You, as a person, as an organization need to show that you care.”
He also mentioned the importance of someone taking care of children and young people with disabilities as they are low on the list of priorities and help for them has to come from outside.
Srebrenica is still a very dark place filled with fear and corruption. But I have seen the effect that the creative process has had on all the young people we have worked with and continue to do so. The most important thing to do is to keep listening and to keep creating the cultural and musical spaces.
Youth and school exchange programmes and youth mobility projects are also very powerful allowing for different perspectives and behaviours to be understood. The OSCE ran a Reconciliation Workshop in Sarajevo at the end of 2012. The report of their findings identified a number of factors relevant to reconciliation. Amongst them were the following two :-
· Culture including making music and films should be part of the process.
· Programmes, especially youth exchanges, are indispensable.
I finish with part of an interview with Darko, a 17 year old from Srebrenica, who attended a mobility project with us in the UK this summer. This is taken from a documentary we commissioned about the project, which was called The Complete Freedom of Truth and funded by the new Erasmus + grant scheme.
With thanks to Robert Golden for the film clips taken from the documentaries A Gift of Culture and The Complete Freedom of Truth. http://www.robertgoldenpictures.com
Tina Ellen Lee