News Online Symposium – Art and Humanity: What Is Possible? Day 2

Every Tuesday afternoon in May, join an international, multidisciplinary, and interactive online symposium on the relationship between art and humanitarian action.
Learn from and engage with leading experts from different fields.
Please note this online webinar is in English.

Discover our online webinar:

Detailed Programme
Day 2, May 11th 2021- Engaging

The Arts of Memorialization by Sophia Milosevic Bijleveld, Ph.D.

 This presentation will demonstrate the importance of putting the voices of victims and survivors at the center of memorialization practices during transitional justice processes. We will explore the use of art-based memorialization practices in Kenya and Afghanistan and show how memorialization participates in different mechanisms of reconciliation and healing for both affected individuals and societies which have broken down due to violence.

Sophia Milosevic Bijleveld Ph.D. is a memorialization specialist. She has assisted in the creation of the Afghanistan Center for Memory and Dialogue, in Kabul and served as the program director at the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. She has worked with cultural heritage organisations in Switzerland, Afghanistan, Rwanda, and Kenya. Sophia focuses her research on the politics of memory and the role of museums in post-conflict situations.



Re-making Art as an aid: Drawing on the aesthetic and ethical engagement of artists in the post-blast Beirut by Dr Azadeh Sobout

Shedding light on the critical contribution of artists in the aftermath of the Beirut blast (Aug 2020), this paper provokes reflection on a critically under-examined experience of artists in time of crisis. Documenting some of the works carried out by emerging artists and artist collectives, the paper proposes a critical framework for engaging with arts as a medium of healing and reconstruction contributing to the long-term process of transforming relationships, healing wounds, seeking justice and fostering human flourishing.

Azadeh Sobout is a post-doctoral scholar with the University of Manchester. Exploring the role of artists in shaping political agency and transforming conflict in the aftermath of the Syrian war, she is currently leading a research project on the intersection of arts and peace building in Lebanon. The primary focus of her research is to find out whether the grassroots art-based initiative in the region have produced a more positive hybrid form of peace, and a space for healing, remembrance and reconciliation.



Ancient Greek Theatre as a Humanitarian Tool by Elodie Paillard

Ancient Greek tragedies contain many examples of characters going through humanitarian or personal disasters: army veterans, refugees, victims of domestic violence or social discrimination, to name but a few. These ancient works of art provide a safe platform from which to look at contemporary traumatizing events from a distant point of view. Actively involving distressed people in the performance of such plays offers many benefits, raising at the same time a series of questions that will be explored in this presentation.

A graduate from the University of Geneva, Elodie Paillard teaches ancient Greek theatre at the University of Basel, where she also leads a research project on the same topic funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. She is a specialist of ancient tragedy and has explored its connections to the contemporary world and the ways it can help us face modern challenges. She has also directed the performance of an ancient play in Sydney.

Collaborative Artwork Session with Gilles Furtwängler

During these 4 webinars, you will have the opportunity to participate in a collective artwork session with Swiss artist Gilles Furtwängler. Stay connected inbetween the second  and third session to follow his instructions on how to submit your raw material to be included in a following publication.

Graduated from the Art School of Lausanne (ECAL) in 2006, Gilles Furtwängler has since pursued a work based on communication.His mediums are reading, writing, performance, painting and graphic arts. Everything is put into shape for an objective and abstract communication,ironic and moral, definitely poetic.

Q&A Live Session:

For the final part of the webinar, our selection committee Pascal Hufschmid, Julie Enckell Julliard and Philippe Stoll have the opportunity to ask the speakers the questions the audience will have written during the talks. Keep yourself online for a final conversation between 6 leading experts in the last segment of the day.

The online symposium Art and Humanity: What Is Possible? is organised by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum (MICR), the Geneva Haute école d’art et de design and the International Committee of the Red Cross, in partnership with the Geneva Red Cross, on the occasion of the exhibition Concerned. 30 Artists on Humanitarian Issues on view at the MICR in Geneva from 27 April to 26 September 2021. It aims at creating links and exploring potential collaboration between art and culture and humanitarian action, two fields of expertise which seldomly interact with one another.

Concept and organisation

  • Julie Enckell Julliard, Director of Cultural Development, Geneva Haute école d’art et de design
  • Pascal Hufschmid, Director, International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, Geneva
  • Philippe Stoll, Senior Communication Adviser, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva


  • Pierre-Antoine Possa, Manager, Cultural Projects and Events, International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, Geneva

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