A Review of the Contribution of Arts & Culture to Global Security & Stability

Gayle McPherson, Sophie Mamattah, Allan Moore, Greis Cifuentes, Yara Moualla

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


While acknowledging the relatively neglected status of the contribution of the arts to processes of reconciliation and peace building (i.e. Cohen, 2005, Garcia, 2014; Zelizer, 2003), the review examines the ways in which both governmental and non-governmental institutions have discussed and analysed leveraging arts and culture in furtherance of security and stability agendas (it should be noted, that many projects do not address security and stability explicitly. Rather, it is clearly a potential benefit of the greater community understanding and cohesion, confidence building and increased resilience resulting from work being undertaken, i.e. Grattan, 2018). It is increasingly recognised that culture plays an important role in contemporary conflict (Naidu-Silverman, 2015) and, that conflict prevention, as well as post-conflict reconstruction, benefits states, communities and individuals socially, culturally and economically (Albrecht & Jackson, 2014; DfiD, 2011). Context specific interventions which successfully account for local context and culture and include the people they are intended to reach in their design and promulgation are most likely to have positive outputs (i.e. Chu, 2010; Kalisa, 2006). Examples of post-conflict reconstruction and peace building through art and culture are widely recognised in Colombia, which is emerging from a 50 year conflict, seeking to re-build communities, individuals and its global relations. Having negotiated the Havana peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2016, processes of rebuilding of peace, tolerance and reconciliation using culture as the transformative factor in peace and capacity building (Galtung, 1996; Lederach, 2005) is now being attempted. This review of literature presented here is followed a trio of case studies in which the mechanisms and impacts of projects undertaken in three countries will be examined more closely. The case studies focus on the contribution of culture and heritage in Syria and the contribution played by the arts in post-conflict Colombia and post-genocide Rwanda. Finally, a number of arts and culture focussed projects are mapped, providing a brief overview of the initiative and the contribution to security and stability on local and international scales.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of the West of Scotland
Commissioning bodyBritish Council
Number of pages76
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2018


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