HCPB Blog

Imagining a different reality: Filmmaking and Research

Imagining a different reality: Filmmaking and Research

by Nicky Armstrong and Dr Evelyn Pauls

Scholars of the “aesthetic turn” in International Relations have broadened the scope of not only how to study international politics but also what to study (art forms, such as literature or film; aesthetic practices of states, such as military parades or national holidays; and visual material, such as photographs from Abu Ghraib). Bleiker and others have shown how “aesthetic sensibilities can help us rethink some of the most serious problems in global politics” and to find new ways of thinking, seeing, hearing, and sensing the political.

Drawing on the research project “I Have to Speak”, that used participatory documentary filmmaking to explore the long-term reintegration of female ex-combatants as both a method and a dissemination tool, we can look at filmmaking, its potential, and its challenges from three different perspectives: (1) Film as data; (2) film as method and (3) film as output.

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Developing the Media Sector in Peacebuilding Contexts

The role of media in peacebuilding environments is critical, yet difficult to put in practice and to be coordinated. How could journalists and media houses they work for be better equipped to report in a way that enhances the prospects of peacebuilding?

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Graphic novels: Drawing on peacebuilding

Fair laws and legitimate, accessible, effective legal institutions are crucial to peacebuilding. They define appropriate social behaviour, protect rights, limit power, and hold accountable those who abuse it. Laws and legal institutions provide frameworks and mechanisms for non-violent dispute resolution and address underlying grievances. They prevent the re-emergence of violent conflict, further reconciliation and incentivise peaceful collaboration.

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Peacebuilding and communication: ‘We Are Many: Hybrid Resistance to Absolute Singularity’

Of all the different reactions to difference two distinct possibilities emerge like forking paths after encountering the unknown. The first is fascination, stimulating curiosity and a catalyst for learning and appreciating those who are not like us. The second path however is fear, triggered by initial uncertainty, often emotionally stirred up by myths about ‘the other’ and potentially escalating into hate and anger. While a singular conception of identity may seem to offer safety and security it can also shut down perspectives, sending us further down the path of fear. How then can embracing hybridity open up to us that first path which is conducive to the practices of peacebuilding? Furthermore how can we best communicate such hybridity? I’ll be referencing two community relations approaches— single identity work (SIW) and contact hypothesis—as a summation of this contrast. Although this comparison will be situated in the context of my current research (Northern Ireland) the core argument bears relevance to other post-conflict societies.

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