Drawing the line: a Media Analysis of the Relationship Between Art and Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution in Colombia
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Art has been used as a means of resolving conflicts, building peace, and mitigating the aftermath of trauma and violence all over the world. This is no different in Colombia, a country that had one of the longest and most brutally violent civil conflicts in the world, which resulted in the death of thousands and the displacement of millions. Although the conflict officially ended in 2016, extreme violence and lingering trauma that stems from the conflict still persist across the country. The role of art in Colombia has not only contributed to helping citizens cope with their traumas but has also played an important role in sustainable and ethical peace building, conflict resolution, and has helped raise awareness of different conflicts and pressing social issues in the country. This study examines the role of art in Colombian society in the framework of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. A qualitative research method was used in this research, which resulted in a better understanding of the role of art and art-based initiatives in Colombia. The research includes a media analysis of 6 media sources that reported on art as a peacebuilding tool in Colombia. The objectives of this research were to garner a better understanding of how and why art is used to promote healing and social change in Colombia and to explore if art is incorporated into formal and informal conflict resolution efforts. Through the application of 3 of the 5 questions in a method known as Lasswell’s Model of Communication (Who? Said What, In Which Channel) it was found that art: 1) helps preserve memory and represent stories of victims by making a tangible visual representation 2) helps heal individuals and communities by transforming pain and trauma into power and control 3) enables any Colombians from all walks of life to participate in peacebuilding efforts 4) initiatives were also more common and impactful in communities with extreme violence and trauma, which resulted in collective healing and social rehabilitation through art and artmaking 5) serves as powerful tool for many communities to pursue peace and engage the community members, beautifies and uses walls to convey a powerful message, and bringing to the area tourism as well as domestic and international attention 6) servings as a means for reconciliation aimed at preventing violence and other atrocities, and keeps morale high for what the future holds 7) serves as an accessible and compelling tool in peaceful activism to hold the government and other actors accountable for their actions and draw attention to pressing social issues. This research is also an attempt to shed light on informal conflict resolution methods that can help conflict resolution practitioners as well as government and social leaders from all levels in their conflict resolution efforts.