Capturing Fluid Borders and Pluriversal Visions of Peace on the Tanganyika Lake Coast

This project stream will explore pluriversal visions of peace within Burundian-Congolese fluid borders. We will bring together communities affected by severe flooding, feminist activists, artists and researchers across Bujumbura and Uvira, two border towns on the Northern coast of the Tanganyika Lake across Burundi and Congo (DRC). Building on  decolonial feminism and arts based methodologies, we will co-produce visual arts. Arts that capture various meanings granted to entanglements of bodies, nature, conflicts and peace. Our team will collaboratively enhance decolonial approaches to peace education in Burundi, South Kivu/DRC, and Belgium.

Specifically, we are seeking to challenge usual power asymmetries sustained within peace education. The project will provide means and spaces for people affected by violence in South Kivu and Burundi to document their own visions of what peace means to themselves, and transmit such visions to their own educative networks and educative networks in Belgium, the country that colonized the region. Overall, the project’s main objective is to develop and reflect upon innovative contributions to re-imagining how peacebuilding education can be delivered.

This research stream is dedicated to capture visually and textually pluriversal visions of peace through a joint reflection on the lived experiences and ontological implications of crossing artificial physical and conceptual fluid borders.

We seek to transcend mainstream approaches to peace education. But why shall we discuss human-nature relations across fluid borders to document pluriversal visions of peace? Anzaldúa (1987) describes the Texan-Mexican frontier as an unnatural open wound and discusses what it means to live within territorial, sexual, psychological, spiritual borders. For decolonial  thinkers, borderlands are spaces of contradictions filled with anger, frustrations and exploitation. Alternative ways of doing and emerging theories depicting such praxis already exist within these borderlands.

Deploying participative arts-based methods, we seek to demonstrate

1) people experiencing violence are experts and shall be recognized as such;

2) their expertise shall be integrated in decolonial peace education material;

3) general public, particularly in previous colonies where colonial mind frames continue to reproduce racist stereotypes about African conflicts, shall be exposed these pluriversal visions.

This project is executed by a partnership between the Institute of Development Policy (IOB)  – University of Antwerp, Association for Peace and Human Rights (APDH), Centre de recherches en histoire du droit, des institutions et de la société (CRHIDI)  – University St Louis Bruxelles,  le Caucus de Femmes pour la Paix, Kioka Burundi with the support of Decolonising Peace in Africa. It is funded by the FWO research grant Pluriversal Approaches to Peace 0880.212.840 and the project Fluid Border AHRC, GCRF and the OU Research Grant AH/T008121/1.