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CAS Arts and International Cooperations


CAS Arts and International Cooperation
Collaborating in Fragile Contexts and in Processes of Peacebuilding

Initiatives of artists in fragile contexts and their contributions to reconstruction and reconciliation after violent conflicts have attracted growing attention. The social benefits of sustaining a sphere of artistic production in times of crisis have become visible and the capability of the arts to support social transformation is now internationally recognized. Examples of the integrative power of art in divided societies and of its potential for empowering so-called marginalized communities can be found in many regions of the world.
Yet, it requires specific professional skills of artists, organizers, and donor agencies, to work in fragile regions, divided societies or in the aftermath of violent conflict. These include a familiarity with contemporary art practices as well as knowledge about international cooperation, peacebuilding and humanitarian work.
By combining a theoretical and an artistic approach to crucial theories and practices from these fields, the modules of the CAS provide the framework for an in-depth involvement.


Participants gain a critical understanding of the potential and limitations of working with art in fragile contexts and in peacebuilding. Through examples and field visits, they gain an insight into actual projects in this realm. They develop a sensitive approach to international artistic collaboration in regions of conflict and learn how to evaluate its qualities and social relevance. Experienced practitioners and researchers present for discussion artistic strategies and methods for project development, management and evaluation. On the basis of this, the participants are mentored to conduct further research or formulate personal projects or initiatives, which match their specific interests or work contexts.
The course places special emphasis on:

  • bringing together artists and people working in organizations and deepening their ability to understand each other’s work processes, and
  • supporting actors from the Global North and the Global South to cooperate in international projects, aware of the difficulty and high potentiality of solidarity in times of crisis.


Module 1: Arts in peacebuilding and social transformation
The first module introduces the three major themes covered by the CAS course Diploma. Under the direction of experienced practitioners, it discusses a set of reference art projects, describing their artistic relevance and their intersections with principles and methods from the fields of international cooperation and peacebuilding. It analyses institutional practices and artistic approaches, their linkages, challenges and questions of mutual instrumentalization. And it presents criteria for collaborative work in an international context, based on a paradigm of reciprocity, as well as ethical questions of working in fragile contexts, e.g. practices of conflict sensitivity.

Module 2: Exemplary art initiatives and collaboration across fundamental divides (study trip)
The module consists of an intensive 8-day study trip to a region that is presently in crisis (planned for 2021: Tunesia or Armenia). Participants visit existing projects and art institutions and analyse their strategies of international collaboration and communication. Under the direction of local experts, they study an exemplary manifestation of the artistic, political and social system of this region, the existing social needs and the potential roles art can have in their regard. The module is structured by regular group discussions and conversations with local stakeholders.

Module 3 : Project management - special requirement for artists and insitutions
The third module introduces tools for designing collaborative art projects. It presents institutional models of project cycle management and compares them with the specificities of managing art projects and collective creative processes. It outlines standards for project funding, planning, monitoring, and evaluation that can correspond to artistic approaches. Representatives of donor agencies further discuss communication strategies and their applicability in regard to different
addressees. In preparing for the fourth module, time is also dedicated to concepts and concerns that will be the core of each participant’s thesis.

Module 4: Designing individual projects
Within the framework of module 4, participants work on an individual project and receive feedback from a mentor who belongs to an international network of experts. The participants define the topic and the aims of their individual project together with the CAS directors, based on their specific professional background and expertise. The mentoring can be structured individually over the course of one semester. To obtain the CAS, participants must submit documentation and a written report on their work and give an oral presentation.


The 1-year extra-occupational training brings together an international group of participants: professionals in arts practices, peace building activists, project managers from internationally operating organizations and visionary people, all from the Global North and the Global South.

The training is designed to bring together

  • members of internationally cooperating organizations (development cooperation, diplomatic service, foundations, NGOs) who commission in art projects in fragile contexts and art-based peacebuilding initiatives and,
  • experienced artists and curators (visual arts, performing arts) who wish to further develop their understanding of strategies and theories of international collaboration or to involve international partners in theri projects

Its participants come from both, the Global North and the Global South.


Module 1
24.06.2021 – 27.06.2021

Module 2 (Study trip)
04.09.2021 – 11.09.2021

Module 3
25.11.2021 – 28.11.2021

Module 4
28.11.2021 – 31.03.2022

Diploma presentations

Institutional partnership
The course is produced in a collaboration between the ZHdK and artasfoundation, the Swiss Foundation for Art in Regions of Conflict. Since its establishment in 2011, artasfoundation has conducted more than thirty art projects in fragile and war-affected regions and accompanied its practical work by studies on the contributions unrestricted art can make to processes of social transformation and peacebuilding.


Zentrum Kunst und Friedensförderung

Information-event online:

Tuesday, January 26th, 6pm
Link for registration


Weitere Informationen

Datum 24.06.21 - 24.04.22
Kursort Zürcher Hochschule der Künste ZHdK
Pfingstweidstrasse 96
8031 Zürich
+41 43 446 46 46
Teilnehmer / max Tn.: 18
Preis CHF 5600.-
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