Arts Dialogue

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#ArtsDialogue collective are an international intergenerational team of musicians, artists, producers, writers & peace activists.
"Music does not assist dialogue. Music is the dialogue" Mark Smulian (Heartbeat).

The organisations represented in the collective are Beyond Skin (Northern Ireland), Heartbeat (Israel-Palestine), The Music Project (Sri Lanka) & Escuelas de Paz (Colombia), Afghanistan National Institute of Music, Brehon Advisory (Middle East) and United Network of Young Peace Builders regarding #Youth4Peace initiative.

The team represents a shared creative resource of decades of experience in peacebuilding, community development and youth work within very different areas of conflict and post-conflict.

#ArtsDialogue delivery and approach puts the Arts at the heart of the space & dialogue challenging traditional formats of workshops, good relations events, conferences and shared space. This is in contrast to other approaches were the Arts element is viewed as an add-on or the artistic elements are moulded round a formal schedule. #ArtsDialogue aims to challenge, question and provoke mediocrity through unbounded creativity in the pursuit for a more peaceful and equal society.

Beyond physical meet-ups, collaborations and the design and delivery of projects the #ArtsDialogue team have been operating and communicating through a WhatsApp Group housed by Beyond Skin.


Arts Dialogue Genesis timeline:

• 2011 On invite from the British Council, Darren Ferguson from Beyond Skin travels to Sri Lanka were he meets Shalini Wickramasuriya from The Music Project. 2012 they develop the #Parallelversing Project. (Esufally Family Foundation invest in a start up programme with the Arts Council NI investing as principal funder in a 2015/2016 programme that firmly establishes the project).
• 2013 Beyond Skin start working in partnership with WOMAD Foundation to develop a Northern Ireland educational programme. Archive website
• 2014 United Network of Young Peacebuiders (UNOY) and members (includes Beyond Skin & Escuelaz de Paz) form part of a consortium as part of the #youth4peace campaign 
• 2015 (December), #youth4peace achievement as UN adopts Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace Security.
• 2016 (January) Beyond Skin take lead responsibility of #youth4peace initiative in Northern Ireland.

• 2016 (February) IBIS Belfast Hotel partners with Beyond Skin as corporate hospitality sponsors providing a home from home for all guests visiting Northern Ireland with #ArtsDialogue and Beyond Skin projects..

• 2016 (May) Beyond Skin set up #youth4peace Steering group.
• 2016 (July) WOMAD Foundation introduces Beyond Skin to Heartbeat, an organisation bringing young people from Palestine and Israel together through Music.
• 2016 (October) Beyond Skin CEO travels to a conference in Colombia invited by British Council. Project development with Escuelas de Paz begins. Whilst in Bogota at  the conference Darren Ferguson meets Dr Ahmad Sarmast, founder of Afghanistan National Institute of Music.
• 2017 (March) Beyond Skin host the first Global Youth Peace Summit in Northern Ireland. Using Arts as the engagement and learning dialogue the Summit was facilitated by artists and peace builders from Heartbeat, Escuelas de Paz, The Music Project, UNOY with also artists from Tanzania, England, Wales, Ireland, Spain. Brehon Advisory facilitated the development of a #Youth4Peace Arts Dialogue framework. The National Trust provided Mount Stewart as a space for the team to assemble. WOMAD Foundation & Arts Council NI principal funders.
• 2017 (April) ARTS DIALOGUE COLLECTIVE ESTABLISHED with the first #ArtsDialogue workshop taking place in July in Antrim Northern Ireland.
• 2017 (October) members from #ArtsDialogue return to Mount Stewart for Conversations Festival. Afghanistan National Institute of Music joins #ArtsDialogue with Founder (Dr. Ahmad Sarmat) first visit to Northern Ireland. Representatives from Beyond Skin, The Music Project, Escuelas de Paz, Heartbeat and Brehon Advisory also attend facilitating workshops/conversations. Key support comes from Arts Council NI, British Council & National Trust.