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Living on the Margins: The Role of Borderland Brokers in Post-War Transitions

How are Sri Lanka and Nepal changing after war? How has the relationship between centre and periphery shaped war and the post-war transition? What is the role of local leaders from the margins or 'borderland brokers'?

Living on the Margins is the artistic outcome of two different research projects that aim to understand war-to-peace transitions in Sri Lanka and Nepal. The project involved a collaboration with local contemporary artists commissioned by PositiveNegatives, and used art to facilitate discussion on topics such as transitional justice, state reform, post-war development and inclusion. This innovative project foregrounded the experience of people living on the margins, using an original approach combining art with academic text.

Research by SOAS (University of London), University of Bath, CEPA, Martin Chautari and International Alert. Kindly funded by AHRC and ESRC.

Discussion Points

  1. Who or what is a 'broker'?
  2. What kinds of brokerage can you identify?
  3. How and why do individuals become brokers?
  4. What does the term 'post-war transition' refer to?
  5. Why are centre-periphery relations important for peace?
  6. What is the difference between a border and a boundary?
  7. Why do you think the research team focused on Sri Lanka and Nepal as case studies? Can you think of any other countries that they could have examined?
  8. What differences and similarities can you observe between the conflicts in the two countries?
  9. What kind of brokerage do Basil, Hasanah, Tula and Bhagiram respectively engage in? Are they successful and if so why?
  10. Click on the resouce embedded in panel no. 17 (post-war Sri Lanka) and look at the two enclosed artworks. How do they relate to the project? How can art help us to think about and engage with issues relating to war and peace?

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