News Online Symposium – Art and Humanity: What Is Possible? Day 4

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.

Register to our fourth online webinar

Detailed Programme
Day 4, May 25th 2021- impacting


The Art of Transformation by Afshan Heuer

Dr Heuer’s talk will focus on the core of the experience of “looking at art”, what shapes the perceptions, interpretations and meaning-making processes of the viewer and how this can be turned into both an active and transformative learning experience.


Dr. Afshan Heuer, museologist and museum professional, specialises in cultural strategy, exhibition and public program curation, visitor engagement, visitor evaluation and audience development. Afshan has worked in various positions, from Curator and Head of Travelling Exhibits to Head of Education and Publics at Swiss museums such as the Musée de l’Elysée, The Olympic Museum and the Maison d’Ailleurs. She is an expert in transformative learning and audience evaluation. Her passion to empower museums in devising effective strategies for visitor engagement led to her PhD research at the University of Leicester and her current position at EPFL in the Laboratory for Experimental Museology working on the project “muse”. Afshan also works as a museum consultant on various projects such as curating the section “Dialogues on Humanity” and devising the educational content for the travelling art installation “Humanitarian Principles. Here and Now” (produced by the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Musée de l’Elysée in conversation with the International Committee of the Red Cross).

Swimming with The Artists: A Humanitarian Worker’s Perspective by Paola Forgione

Driving from a personal experience as ICRC Delegate in conflict zones, the presenter reflects on how the artists’ perspective enriches the humanitarian action. The two sectors -art and humanitarian work- might seem far apart. The former is an abstract creative process expressing emotions, while the latter is a concrete action to support people affected by war. In fact, art and humanitarian work share a common ground, as they both find inspiration in humanity.

Paola holds a PhD in International Justice and Human Rights from the University of Pavia, Italy. She has joined the International Committee of the Red Cross seven years ago and has worked in Africa, Americas, the Middle East and the Headquarters in Geneva. Paola studied contemporary and modern art at Jeu de Paume in Paris and at the Nuova Accademia delle Belle Arti in Milan and she is a free-lance contributor to art magazines.



Reflecting and (re)focusing: art, humanity and humanitarianism by Katarzyna Grabska

Katarzyna (Kasia) Grabska, is a feminist anthropologist, a senior researcher at the Peace Research Institute, Oslo, Norway and a visiting professor at the Ethnology Institute, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. In her current research INSPIRE, she focuses on the inspiration of creative practice and artists working in conflict zones and in exile. She collaborates often with artists in her research, and engages with art-based research to understand issues of belonging, displacement, mobilities and identities.







Jardín de mi Padre by Luis Carlos Tovar

On 20 February 1980, Jaime Tovar was abducted by the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC) and forced to wander for months through the tropical rainforest of the Colombian Amazonia. His son Luis Carlos, the author of this book, was just a few months old at the time. The guerilla fighters sent a Polaroid snapshot of their captive to his family as a proof that he was still alive. This project starts from the search for that uncertain photograph, but it reflects a process of rediscovery that transcends the event in itself. It is a poetic exercise that speaks of our finitude and contingent nature, that explores the legacy of the past as our only mode of survival. The absence of the fetish photograph catalyzes a performative visual essay that draws on the mechanisms of appropriation and collage, removing the practice of documentary and autobiographical photography from its conventional framework

Luis Carlos Tovar is a visual artist from Bogota, Colombia, and currently based in Paris. Particularly interested in post-photography and archives, he explores the processes of creation of otherness and how personal memory shapes collective memory. He has worked with vulnerable populations in his country and with refugees inEurope. Committed to social justice, he has developed educational decentralized-spaces. His work integrates different mediums, such as photography, painting,mixed media and video installation.




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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