North America, United States
Art discipline: Academic Researcher
Participated in ICAF in: 2020

Confronting 21st-century challenges - including entrenched and intensifying conflict dynamics and planetary destruction - effectively requires unprecedented levels of collaboration across differences of all kinds; the need to build trust is urgent. In contexts of both direct and deep structural/historical violence, the arts and other cultural practices can be crafted to contribute to changes in consciousness, perception, relationships, policies and institutions. Yet, the often isolated and under-resourced nature of arts-based initiatives means that the potential constructive impacts of this work have yet to be comprehensively harnessed. Arts and cultural workers may also find themselves in jeopardy given the surrounding violence and oppression and official disregard for freedom of expression, while surface-level ‘use’ of the arts (distanced from guiding principles) sometimes does more harm than good, particularly when risks of re-traumatization of communities are high. IMPACT seeks to address these needs and cautions by developing a global infrastructure for those engaged in and supporting the work of arts and culture in conflict transformation (acct). IMPACT is a values-driven collaboration of culturally and geographically diverse leaders in the arts, peacebuilding, higher education, non-governmental and other sectors who understand the critical role that the arts and other aspects of culture play in transforming violent conflict. Led by a globally distributed leadership circle, it has emerged through ten years of pilot initiatives that have raised awareness, created partnerships and networks, developed resources, facilitated learning exchanges, and gathered preliminary data. 


IMPACT envisions a vibrant and visible acct ecosystem that is imaginatively and constructively impactful and sustainable. The purpose of IMPACT is to strengthen and deepen the integrity, efficacy and sustainability of a growing ecosystem of acct players through a robust and dynamic global infrastructure that: connects, cultivates capacity, and advocates for the ecosystem. IMPACT is also committed to embodying values of reciprocity, decolonization, and hospitality. IMPACT focuses on supporting communities, artists, conflict transformation workers, policy makers, educators and funders by helping acct become a highly credible new paradigm for the transformation of violent conflict world-wide.