Strategic Arts-Based Peacebuilding



The arts offer peacebuilders unique tools for transforming intractable interpersonal, intercommunal, national, and global conflicts—tools that are not currently prevalent or available within the peacebuilding field. The task for peacebuilding practitioners is to find strategic ways of incorporating the arts into the work of peacebuilding and to create a space where people in conflict can express themselves, heal themselves, and reconcile themselves through the arts. There is very little solid theory, research, or evaluation of arts-based peacebuilding. This article seeks to move beyond a simplistic approach that asserts the “arts are powerful” to a richer articulation of how they function in peacebuilding, when to use them, what they can do, and how to evaluate their usage. This article provides examples of and the conceptual frameworks behind strategic arts-based peacebuilding.