Raising Silent Voices [Seminar]

How cultural expression of conflict can inform analysis and intervention strategies in Myanmar

14 March 2017 |University of Bath



Dr. Rachel Julian [Leeds Beckett University]

Civilians living amidst violent conflict, like everyone experiencing conflict, know who is involved, the history, what makes it worse or lessens the impact on them. They have knowledge that those outside the conflict do not possess. The dominant peace and conflict intervention strategies of international agencies and NGOs begin with assessing the conflict situation using models based on western understanding of conflict trajectories, community resilience, and peacebuilding, with an outsiders understanding. Although local people may be involved, their knowledge is rarely informing intervention and support strategies. This paper will show the importance of placing local, contested, knowledge in the centre of nonviolent protection strategies, empowering and enabling local people and potentially making interventions more effective. This paper will set out how this approach is being studied in Myanmar in 2017 with Nonviolent Peaceforce as the local partner, and using cultural expressions of conflict knowledge as the fabric through which local understanding will be explored.

About the Speakers:

Dr Rachel Julian is Senior Lecturer in Peace Studies at Leeds Beckett University. Her research focuses on the development of unarmed civilian peacekeeping and includes a current AHRC-ESRC grant to research nonviolent protection in Myanmar. Rachel has spent twenty years working in peace and conflict organisations in the UK and internationally and continues to support local peace initiatives.