Image of performers in Rod Dickinson's piece, 'Closed Circuit'
Rod Dickinson's piece, 'Closed Circuit', was performed at the British Council's Culture and Conflict summit in September 2014 at the Newseum. ©

Image credit: Melissa Wear

In partnership with the United States Institute of Peace, in September 2014 at the Newseum in Washington, DC we organized a summit to discuss arts and cultural programs in conflict scenarios, and how to apply them in US diplomatic, policy, and higher education agendas.

We brought together international policy experts, cultural leaders, funders and educational organizations to examine models of cultural relations in conflict settings. They discussed current approaches to arts and culture within peace-building efforts and systems to measure the impact of cultural intervention. The conversation aimed to better understand the UK and US's shared responsibility as global leaders in addressing conflict prevention and post-conflict rehabilitation. Together, the delegates examined the most effective and appropriate ways to  apply the arts in conflict scenarios within foreign policy, to help achieve international development goals. 

The summit also included a performance of 'Closed Circuit' by UK artist Rod Dickinson, which explored the historical form of press briefings and political speeches during times of conflict.

About Rod Dickinson

Rod Dickinson is a visual artist and lecturer in Media, Culture and Practice at the University of West England in Bristol. His artworks have explored the way in which our behaviour interacts with media feedback systems and social contexts. Using detailed research into moments of the past and present, he has made a series of meticulously re-enacted events and performances that explore the link between these mechanisms and our behaviour.

About 'Closed Circuit'

A stimulating example of how creative reenactment artistic practice can create a deeper level of connection with conflicts, Closed Circuit is a performance work that explores the historical form of the presidential speech and government press briefing. The script focuses on the way in which similar declarations have been used by numerous governments - across continents and spanning ideological divides - to declare and maintain states of crisis and emergency.

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