- MAP podcast – episode 1 30 November 2023
- Using a Mural and Well-being Thermometer: a creative MEL journey in Hetauda, Nepal 23 November 2023
- Reports: UNESCO – MAP National Dialogue on Culture & Arts Education Report 21 November 2023
- Ideation workshop 19 November 2023
- Dialogue session: approach & exploring existing artworks 19 November 2023
- Photo sequencing & framing workshop 19 November 2023
- Onboarding workshop: getting to know each other 19 November 2023
- Production Day 1 for Film 2: Family Conflict 19 November 2023
- Screening & Feedback Day 3 for Film 1: Mental Health in Schools 19 November 2023
- Production Day 2 for Film 1: Mental Health in Schools 19 November 2023
- Production Day 1 for Film 1: Mental Health in Schools 19 November 2023
- Reflections on the “Revitalising Tradition to Inform Curriculum” Webinar: Exploring Theoretical and Practical Perspectives 16 November 2023
Reflections: Musical Dialogue during the International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE) conference 2022
By Juhi Adhikari (19) Undergraduate Student at Tribhuvan University & MAP Nepal Youth Researcher
Caption: MAP Nepal young researchers using participatory approaches (2022)
Last year I was selected to join the International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE 2022) in Mexico. I was the youngest participant among 50, all working on peace education, either as an educator or researcher/practitioner. I chose the theme “Girls expressing themselves through Musical Dialogue” from my experience with MAP Nepal research. In order to provide a secure space, especially for young girls who are unable to discuss their life experiences, I used the Musical Dialogue activity from the Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) Manual for my workshop at the International Institute of Peace Education (IIPE Mexico 2022). As a young woman researcher, I’ve always believed that most girls experience unforgettable life events at least once at a young age, which have an impact on us both physically and mentally. As a girl, we may have experienced harassment at least once anywhere: at home by family members, in a public vehicle, or even at school by our teachers. Women experience numerous family issues in addition to harassment, because they are often responsible for managing the household.
However, many girls are unable to convey inner feelings to anyone. It might be because of fear that we are constantly being assessed by society that we are unable to freely communicate what we have been through. There is a prevalent belief that even if you are harassed by men, it is your fault. This belief may stem from the type of clothing that you are wearing, but boys/men are never to blame. Always, it’s “you.”
As a result, I could see that the Musical Dialogue module from the MAP manual would be a tremendous benefit for me and others. That’s why I chose this activity to showcase with the IIPE 2022 participants how this one MAP methodology can provide safe space for dialogue amongst girls who have had bitter experiences. Undoubtedly this method aids in assisting the girls’ sentiments. Through this exercise, I have seen girls foster a sense of trust among their peers and freely share their experiences. Since verbal communication is not the only means by which we may share and convey our emotions. We can express empathy for others through nonverbal means such as art and dialogue. The ability to “walk in someone else’s shoes” fosters a much deeper emotional connection. Empathy is extremely powerful since it calls for a deeper understanding of the other person’s thoughts and feelings. I chose this module for my workshop in Mexico for that reason.
My workshop experience: How did I start?
I explained at the beginning of the workshop that the participants should imagine themselves as young ladies between the ages of 10 and 15 and convey their true feelings as they go along. After that, I turned on some upbeat music and gave participants cues to move around the space, such as “Move as fast as you can,” “Move as slow as you can,” “Move as far as you can,” “Go to your favorite corner of the room,” and “Move around the room, and notice the colors or shapes in the room.”
I then instructed them to link elbows with the person closest to them as soon as the music turned off. For a few rounds, I gave the participants a discussion question after the music stopped and they then formed pairs joined at the elbow. The pairs alternately gave their views on each question they were asked. Examples of those initial discussion questions were:
- Describe yourself in one action or emotion?
- Your preferred cuisine?
- Something about you that I’m unaware of?
- What did you do as soon as you woke up?
- Have you got a dog?
These types of questions helped to forge bonds and with these kinds of opening conversations, the participants felt at ease and free.
After these simple questions were explored, I could see and feel that the atmosphere in the room had already changed: individuals had begun to trust their peers and calmly listen. As a result, I raised the bar and asked the following key questions about these activities:
- Who or what inspires you, and why?
- What aspects of your life do you feel grateful for, and why?
- Why are you so satisfied with yourself?
- What has been your most memorable and joyful experience?
- What has been your life’s most tragic moment?
- Your long-kept secret that you’ve been reluctant to share?
After the discussion ended, I could see that participants were hugging and crying as a result: delighted to share things that they would have never shared if the questions hadn’t been posed in this way. They were sobbing joyfully and had the impression that they were heard and understood.
I was quite thrilled and moved to witness how this straightforward activity led to the development of connection, respect, empathy, and trust among the participants. I then invited each participant to take a seat in a designated location before moving on to these reflection questions:
- I asked them how they felt after participating in this activity.
- What do they think about using this activity to have young girls talk about their problems?
- What difficulties did they encounter during these activities?
I observed that revealing a secret in a safe space was both emotional and liberating. I could feel how happy they were. When we are unable to communicate, we can feel ourselves being confined within our bodies. I recall that I had this kind of harassment frequently as a teenager, and that I covered it up. I felt lonely, stressed, and incredibly anxious. However, whilst saying it the first time made me feel terrible and depressed. Thankfully, those emotions faded, and a much deeper satisfaction developed in their place.
A few participants even answered when I inquired about any changes that I could possibly make to the task by saying, “We never know how to answer that question.” It seemed to me that for our group it was a powerful experience, and as it was, perfect. In an ideal world, with more time, I guess it would be a good idea to go slowly from happiness to trauma and end up with something happy too.”
When asked for feedback and if getting along with others in groups was simple or difficult, a few participants added, “It was simple, but we must take into account that we already liked everyone who was in their group.”
Here is the poetic Facebook post from one of the participants, after he attended the workshop.
PLAYING OUT OF SILENCE (an abridged version)
Is this my body? I ask in silence.
I don’t always own your heartbeat.
They touch it, smile, turn it on and leave me.
Alone, on an island of numb fear.
Ideas that pop, you feel them gather…
Is this my body?
From your flesh, I hide in silence.
In the hidden confusion the rage
In the mist, I hide my desires.
Are these my wishes?
-Girl- I tell another girl a secret
My body… they touch, smile, turn on and leave me.
A tear streaming down her face, too…
We play five together, dance, look at each other.
And playin’ and dancin’ this body too mine