Bournemouth University leads the Kosovo-strand of a major four-year AHRC ‘Global Challenges’ project titled ‘Changing the Story‘. This project aims at supporting the building of inclusive civil societies (CSOs) with, and for, young people in five post-conflict countries. It asks how the arts, heritage, and human rights education can support youth-centred approaches to civil society building in Cambodia, Colombia, Kosovo, Rwanda and South Africa. The Kosovo strand benefits from an established track record of collaboration with University of Prishtina (Co-I) and Stacion: Centre for Contemporary Arts in Prishtina as well as several arts-based civil society organisations in the country. The BU-led strand focuses on formal and informal civic education through the arts in Kosovo, to be explored locally by a Postgraduate Research Assistant, attached to University of Prishtina, through a critical review and proof of concept exercise during the first year. In support, BU is contributing a fully-funded PhD scholarship under the title ‘Imagining New Futures: Engaging Young People Through Participatory Arts in Post-Conflict Kosovo‘, which is currently being advertised.
International collaborative activities commenced last week in collaboration with an internationally-acclaimed CSO partner in Dorset, devoted to developing global youth citizenship through culture and the arts. The award-winning Complete Freedom of Truth project (TCFT), with which BU collaborated already previously, kindly offered a one-week residency to Albert Heta, Director of Stacion: Centre for Contemporary Arts in Prishtina. This residency brought together a group of artists, workshop leaders and young people from across the UK between February 12 and 16 in Bridport. Albert’s visit from Kosovo was funded by the AHRC and facilitated by BU’s new Research Centre ‘Seldom Heard-Voices: Marginalisation and Society Integration’ of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences (FHSS). Together with Albert, some of the Centre’s members also participates in the events organised by TCFT, exchanged experiences and discussed best practice of working with young people of various background through the arts towards social justice. We are currently reflecting on the extent to, and ways in, which arts-based interventions with disadvantaged young people in Dorset and its underpinning conceptualisations (such as of empowerment or vulnerability of, and pressures on, young people) can or cannot be transferred to the specific socio-cultural context within which young people in Kosovo negotiate their aspirations.
Photo credit below: Robert Golden