#PENFest12

Now that it’s been over a month, I thought it might be time to revisit this space and start writing again. But first, I thought I would explain what’s kept me busy this past month starting with the PEN World Voices Festival

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Sweet Dreams and Genocide

It’s been 18 years since the Rwandan Genocide. Let that soak in and then consider how frequently those events are still invoked as a reminder to the international community: “Never Again.” But, while it’s certainly important to remember the past, acknowledging the present–and the future–of Rwanda is just as important.

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Saving the world with Dizzy Gillespie

Now, I usually try to keep this is a separate space from work-related things, but I just wrote an article on the films for the Institute that got picked up by NPR’s music blog. So, with all of that, I thought it would be a good time to share some of what I’m doing when I’m not here. And, hey–what’s a blog for, if not shameless self-promotion?

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Soap Operas for Peace

Since I’m on the road this week, I thought I’d (try to) keep this post a little shorter (really, it’s so you can go back to last week and catch up) and use this opportunity as another explanation post. Again, I’m going to talk about media, but in a slightly different context and introduce the idea of “peace media.”

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Hold Yuh Chutney Soca

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned an article written by David Edgar in which he presented the arguments for and against state funding of the arts. According to Edgar, one of the most popular claims is that art “promotes continuity with the past, community cohesion and a sense of national pride.” This is where Edgar made his counterpoint—that art’s place in society is to challenge these norms, not promote them. But, while I appreciate this position (clearly, since I wrote about it), I don’t necessarily buy it. Well, let me rephrase: I don’t think these claims are mutually exclusive and I’m going to use Chutney Soca to explain why.

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Responding to KONY 2012

I had a completely different post all set to get up for this week, but then this video kept popping up on my newsfeed and I thought, “How great–a video campaign spread through social media to influence political action?” Then I watched the video and cried. A lot. I’ve written about the conflict in Uganda before and I’m familiar with Invisible Children, but the video and the personal accounts make it hard (impossible, even) not to be moved. And yet…

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Ain’t no stoppin’… politics as usual

Last week I introduced the claim that art contributes to society by providing a space for social dissent. This, I tried to explain, is one of points of intersection between art and media. However, while the role of social media in this function may be more apparent (in that sites such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. literally provide an open platform for debate), art’s contribution is more understated.

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