Expressive Arts in Peacebuilding: Creating Safe Space & Empowering Challenges

Discussion Thread

Wow.. great responses in a short time on that little blurb!


A few people had asked about more information and just wanted to share a few links that were requested:

For more info on EGS & the new program for Conflict Transformation: please visit EGS and/or contact Mary Beth Morand who is the Program Director at EGS at   


In response to some of the comments: I feel it's important to recognize that we can't assume or expect that people will "forget" their differences because of these kinds of modalities, or that it's a "fix:" only that the Expressive Arts can and do offer another portal of possibility and a creative alternative to exploring situations of many different natures. Having no expectation and making no assumptions feels imperative to bring forth in any discussion on how these forms can be used and explored in this field. 


From my experiences, I've discovered that there are so many facets to consider in creating a impactful and effective experience in a "normal" (non-conflict) situation: life experience, education, background, willingness, fears, insecurities, creating a safe space, allowing people to work thru challenges, finding a shared understanding, etc.   Yesterday in our class we discussed the concept of creating a safe container for conflict situations, and while many of the facets are the same in essence and theory, conflict adds multiple layers to the mix that require even more sensitivity and awareness to navigate.  There is some level, it seems to me, of acceptance that we must have when we do this kind of work that seems to say, "You can't please all of the people all of the time," AND that asks us to be brave enough to both allow for some "perturbations" or "chaos" and to have skills and tools that help to move participants thru those rough spots with as much sensitivity as possible so as to not cause (further) trauma.  What I have found in my work is that chaos, when approached with curiosity and inquisition, can offer great insight and amazing starting points for innovation, clarity, creativity and understanding to surface.  (Again, my work has not yet been so much in conflict situations). I have seen the most amazing things emerge from the most chaotic, not just once, but I could argue almost directly causative.  Something of our human nature to "make order out of chaos" seems to call forth deeper wellsprings and more passionate responses to "make nice" that have time and time again left me awestruck at their profundity.   It is vital to not become stuck there or to stew in it for too long, which can be counterproductive;  there is a very subtle place there between the worlds of chaos and order to carefully explore.


I would love to hear feedback from other artists in peacebuilding efforts around this topic of creating a safe container that empowers challenges in a productive (no harm done) way for those in conflict situations, with or without the allowance for moments of "perturbation" or chaos.  I'm just interested in more perspectives here!  This to me feels like a really vital component for creating change and empowering people to be present with the fullness of their experiences.  Conflict embodies both togetherness and separetness and I can see that as multidimensional, personal, interpersonal, cultural and even globally.   Love to hear your thoughts!


I have been doing Muse & Drum Circles and community gatherings for many years in many different arenas from Corporate America to villages and my experiences leave me very excited for this next phase of the work and to share with & learn from those of you who have valid direct experience in Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation!


Thank you for welcoming me here! I look forward to the continued journey with an open willing heart and mind! 


For more info on Recreational Music Making/Muse Arts and how it can be helpful for cohesifying communities and much more, please explore the following sites: there are many more.. but just a few quickies off the top of my head. (These are not necessarily specific to Peacebuilding but the work definitly spans multiple possibilities and applications)


Muse Power: How Recreational Music Making Heals Depression & Ot...




Love to keep this discussion going and invite your input and feedback!  I am excited to be part of such a wonderful inspired community!

Views: 39

Tags: Arts, Cheri, Conflict, EGS, EXACT, Expressive, Making, Muse, Music, Peacebuilding, More…Power, RMM, Shanti, Therapy, Transformation


You need to be a member of Peace and Collaborative Development Network to add comments!

Join Peace and Collaborative Development Network

Comment by RootsLove on July 18, 2011 at 9:06am

I started a discussion thread for this topic:  Please post your comments there: Thanks!

Sponsored Link

Please Pay What You Can to Support PCDN

Please consider Paying What You Can to help PCDN grow. We encourage you to consider any amount from $1 and up. Read the SUPPORT page prior to making a payment to see PCDN's impact and how your payment will help.

Sponsored Link

Translate This Page


PCDN Guidelines and Share Pages

By using this site you're agreeing to the terms of use as outlined in the community guidelines (in particular PCDN is an open network indexed by Google and users should review the privacy options). Please note individual requests for funding or jobs are NOT permitted on the network.

Click BELOW to share site resources Bookmark and Share
or Share on LINKEDIN




© 2016   Created by Craig Zelizer.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service