On 25th April 2014, we will hold a World Café Event at Loughborough University, in room C1.11, beginning at 10.00 am. We want to create a space in which real conversations can be held, in contrast with how we feel regular conferences sometimes stymie exchange by limiting platforms, audiences and knowledge flows. This is why were engaging with a combination of The World Café and Open Space methods. In this safe space, we hope to bring together academics with aid and development workers, policy researchers and practitioners, to share experiences and concerns. We think theres going to be a lot to be heard.
The Hearing Voices Project (HVP) is a joint venture between Loughborough University, Coventry University and the University of Manchester. It is concerned with ways to hear and communicate the priorities of people in postconflict spaces to influential actors who want to help build peace. It takes as its starting point the observation that peacebuilding processes are primarily directed from without; and that those in whose name peace is made, are rarely part of the process that decides what peace they shall have. Those voices are essential in the formulation and construction of peace.
Those voices and the knowingness they contain necessarily derive from within conflict spaces, are hard to access, often hard to comprehend by outsiders, may be difficult to reconcile with outsiders knowledge systems, priorities and funding criteria and priorities, and appear normally in a language unfamiliar to those who task themselves with building peace. Without those voices, how shall we know what is required to be known, as outsiders with interested agency? Such matters are unaddressed in orthodox peacebuilding – since it is external knowledge that is assumed to have the answers to peace.
HVP wants to enable local people to be heard at the national and global levels wherever decision making on peacebuilding resides. We believe the first step is to hold real discussions concerned with whether, and how, outsiders may make a contribution to this transformation of power relations.
We want to host genuinely inclusive, participatory, conversations aimed at discovering if there are research methods that can be deployed that enable local voices to be heard and projected to the actors who decide what peacebuilding can involve.