Storytelling Sessions

The Storytelling Sessions provide the opportunity for an exchange of experience about central issues related to the conference’s topics. Each session will consist of a circle of 20 to 25 participants and be initiated by two or three persons. They will start the sharing with their own stories. Then an assisting moderator will open the floor and invite all participants to contribute to the session’s topic by sharing their own stories and experience. The storytelling sessions can be selected by participants upon registration via his website.

B1 Art and the Desire of Free Expression

Friday, 28.2.2020, 14.00 – 16.00, Hörsaal 1

Due to the explorative nature of their work-processes, artists can never be certain whether their work may emerge as a work of art. This risk, that is inherent in artistic processes, is fundamentally different from artist’s risks of being persecuted because of their work, or from the risk that their works might be censored. Perhaps one could say that the risk within an artistic process arises from a state of freedom and from the difficulty of condensing wide possibilities to a very specific form. There is a high risk of missing it, which also contributes to the value we give to art. In contrast, the risk of persecution or censorship arises from coercion and from people’s difficulty or unwillingness to withhold free expression. It is this desire of free expression that the session focuses on.

Important here: In face of all forms of persecution artists experience because of their work, one has to keep in mind that artists are – in most cases – not simply “objects” of violence. They rather are active agents who consciously evaluate and take risks. In that, they may be guided by the possibilities and limitations defined in the human right of free artistic expression. In the frame of this right, the responsibility of artists for their actions can never imply that they would also be responsible for the fact that such actions might constitute a risk for their life or work.

Initial Input 1:
Firas Abou Fakher (Mashrou Leila)

Initial Input 2:
Tania Bruguera (artist)

Initial Input 3:
Karima Bennoune (Rapporteur UN Human Rights Council)

Jörg Scheller (ZHdK)

B2 Working as an Artist when the Margin of Tolerance (“Spielraum”) is Not Clearly Defined

Friday, 28.2.2020, 14.00 – 16.00, Room 6.K04

What are the experiences and strategies of artists or art institutions who work under conditions of strong political control or threat from political/religious extremists? How can they contribute to important social questions and critical social issues? How do they proceed in volatile circumstances or when authorities refuse to give clear criteria for what constitutes a violation? What are the artist’s or art institution’s strategies? What kind of support would they value?

Initial Input 1:
Victoria Lomasko (visual artist)

Initial Input 2:
Eva-Maria Bertschy (Int. Institute of Political Murder)

Anna Arutyunova (Pro Helvetia Moscow)

B6 Water as an Instrument for Peace: The Contribution of the Arts

Friday, 28.2.2020, Room: Kaskadenfoyer

“Imagine water is easily available to everyone and safe to use. Imagine it is shared equitably … leading to its protection and valuation…” (Danilo Türk, Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace, 2015)

Water is increasingly becoming a rare good – both in quantity and quality – thus threatening people’s livelihoods in many regions of the world. Moreover, common patterns are changing fast. With the disappearance of many glaciers, the notion of ‘water towers’ is becoming obsolete. The phenomenon of too little or too much water is manifesting through a variety of negative impacts. This calls for new forms of awareness raising, mobilization and collaboration.
What can art contribute to address these issues? One often thinks of artist’s contributions to awareness raising. But does this capture the full potential of artistic approaches of relating to the world? Which are avenues to be explored?
How can geographical, ideological, cultural, political and economic differences be bridged and a multi-level multi-stakeholder dialogue to promote concrete solutions be supported through art? These key challenges and questions will be at the core of the Storytelling Sessionwhere short inputs and concrete examples will try to stimulate collective reflection.

Input 1:
George Steinmann

Input 2:

Daniel Maselli (SDC/Swiss FDFA)