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Responding to violence through art and culture: lessons from Michoacán

Briefing/policy paper

Written by Pilar Domingo

Briefing/policy paper

This briefing paper is part of a broader project investigating societal responses to violence in the state of Michoacán in Mexico. It explores the role that art and cultural activities can play in helping societies respond and give testimony to the experience of violence. It focuses on two case study locations in Michoacán: Lázaro Cárdenas and Apatzingán.

In post-conflict settings, art and culture can contribute to healing, reconciliation and social cohesion by giving voice to trauma and injustice, and can restore social trust and non-violent forms of exchange within communities. Here the authors uncover the use of art and cultural activities to address individual and collective experiences of crime-related violence. Findings are relevant for an emerging wider set of international interventions supporting cultural activities and art forms that aim to counter or address conflict-related violence.

This paper was informed by a chapter written by Edgar Guerra and Ariadna Sánchez, 'Activismos culturales en Michoacán. La (re)apropiación del discurso del arte y la cultura para el cambio social' in an upcoming publication edited by Edgar Guerra, Sociedad civil desde la periferia: Un estudio comparativo sobre las respuestas y dilemas de la sociedad frente a la violencia y la fragilidad institucional, to be published by CIDE Investigación e Ideas.

Edgar Guerra, Ariadna Sánchez and Pilar Domingo