"Beyond the Absence of War"

Beyond the absence of war

A conversation, Ms Meena Malhotra and Prof Hilary Cremin

15 March 2023, 1 PM UK Time

Online event - Registration needed (deadline 14th of March 23:59 GMT)

“Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.” —John F. Kennedy


This conversation between Hilary Cremin and Meena Malhotra aims to explore aspects of peacebuilding that incorporate the deconstruction of the foundations of violence through the lens of history and the arts. In a broad-based, freewheeling dialogue we hope to discuss the foundations of The Seagull Foundation for the Arts’ projects—PeaceWorks and History for Peace; look at cultural and social realities that impact peace prospects; address some root causes of conflict and explore how it might be possible to bring about a long term fundamental shift in perceptions. 

About the speakers

Meena Megha Malhotra graduated from Art College and set up a graphic design studio in the early years of her career. An inherent passion for the arts and social concern, children and education brought her to The Seagull Foundation for the Arts where she is now Director and responsible for the PeaceWorks and History for Peace project, the foundation’s arts activities, the various Seagull websites, and fundraising. At PeaceWorks, Meena has over the past few years launched several long-term initiatives that work with students and teachers across the sub-continent. She is responsible for having taken PeaceWorks international with partnerships with the European History Teachers Association and the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam. In 2015 she set up a History Teacher’s Network across the subcontinent, the only one of its kind in the region. Meena has co-authored supplementary curriculum material: Teaching Divided Histories for Nerve Centre, Northern Ireland and Learning to Live with Difference: A Human Rights Defenders Programme for the Anne Frank House, Amsterdam.

Prof Hilary Cremin is head of the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge and the co-founder of the Cambridge Peace Education Research Group (CPERG). She researches and teaches peacebuilding, in and through education, in settings in the UK and elsewhere. She has worked in the public, private and voluntary sector as a school teacher, educational consultant, project coordinator and academic. Her latest book with Terence Bevington is Positive Peace in Schools: Tackling Conflict and Creating a Culture of Peace in the Classroom, published by Routledge.

In anticipation of the conversation, interested participants can familiarise themselves with the projects of The Seagull Foundation for the Arts:

For over three decades The Seagull Foundation for the Arts has been actively supporting, nurturing and disseminating creative and critical activity in the field of the arts in India, especially fine arts, theatre and cinema, out of a deep conviction and commitment to the belief that the arts are everybody’s responsibility and a social commitment. The only one of its kind multi-faceted arts organization in the country, Seagull fulfils the need of the arts community in a unique manner— promoting collaborative and experimental arts activity across and within disciplines; publishing in the arts and culture and media; making available documentation and critical commentary; working with youth through the arts to address issues of social concern.


The foundation’s major projects include:


History for Peace - A network of educators and members of civil society in the subcontinent, the History for Peace project serves as a platform for discussion, debate and the exchange of ideas pertaining to teaching and learning of history for peace and understanding. The website also acts as a repository of resources—academic papers, talks, podcasts and teaching aids. History for Peace conducts an annual conference as well as shorter talks and workshops through the year. The objectives of the project are:


·    Exploring multi and inter-disciplinary and creative approaches, with emphasis on the arts

·    Developing and collating resources

·    Addressing bias and prejudice

·    Promoting initiatives and exchange of ideas across South Asia

·    Teacher development


Website: https://www.historyforpeace.pw/


PeaceWorks – a project that works through arts and culture, with young minds, to foster a spirit of peaceful coexistence, mutual respect across differences, and equality thus catalysing social change. For nearly a decade now, PeaceWorks has worked with scores of students and teachers, in India and across the border with schools in Pakistan, and lately in Kashmir. With children from privileged backgrounds and with street and slum children—often designing projects that bring the two together and thereby developing sensitivities and creating a platform that facilitates ‘learning to live with difference’. In 2010, PeaceWorks received the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Award. The objectives of the project are:


·    Address attitudes that lead to strife, intolerance, conflict, war

·    Effect attitudes and values, in order to change thinking, break mindsets

·    Instil values that accept differences, understand differences and respect differences.

·    Build cross-cultural bridges between young people from different socio-economic backgrounds

·    Use the arts for education and empowerment


Website: https://0318da2.netsolhost.com/pwarchive/