Art, conflict & cooperation

International practical project Jordan and CAS


"Art opens new doors: In situations of crisis, cultural concerns and artistic engagement usually retreat into the background. This is misguided because, as countless examples show, 'Art in Conflict' can serve to provide fresh perspectives in difficult situations."

The SDC’s magazine, no. 4 / December 2015


Certain forms of artistic expression are increasingly being appreciated as constructive formats for dealing with conflict transformation in humanitarian aid and development cooperation. Well thought-out and structured cultural education does valuable work in conflict regions by helping people to draft a shared vision for the future and enabling encounters outside our comfort zone.


The practical project "Art, conflict & cooperation" is designed to give cultural professionals working in all sectors as well as art and cultural educators an introduction to artistic work with people in transition and conflict situations based on the example of flight and migration. It offers participants the opportunity to gain in-depth practical work experience in a conflict-fraught context while opening up prospects for them to apply what they have learnt in Switzerland.


Target audience
The project is being organised by the Further Education department at Bern University of the Arts (HKB) and is aimed at cultural professionals working in all sectors as well as art and cultural educators who would like to gather practical experience in the fields of Applied Arts, Arts for Social Change, and the use of art in development cooperation and emergency relief, in order to apply what they have learnt and establish similar programmes back in Switzerland.


The practical project is geared toward art professionals who want to learn how to combine social engagement, intercultural work and artistic competence in an international conflict zone. The fragile environment inhabited by the people we will be working with calls for a high degree of sensitivity and flexibility on our side. The so-called ‘safe space’ of cultural practice is therefore an essential factor for all those involved.


Objectives for the participants

  • Acquiring practical experience in the fields of Applied Arts, Arts for Social Change, and the use of art in development cooperation and emergency relief
  • Application of the acquired knowledge in a concrete, practical project
  • Work experience in a foreign cultural, social and political context
  • Networking with international organisations
  • Collaboration with artists in different sectors and preferably from different cultural backgrounds
  • Gaining knowledge of the practice of intercultural education in Switzerland and possible fields of work


Passages n° 65 / To future artists / Milo Rau: "Artists must become travellers again. They must journey through the world and gain some distance from their own country, their home continent. (...) The artist must begin to travel, in his imagination and in reality. Into the past, into the future and to other continents. (...) He must establish proximity through distance. He must develop modes of knowledge for a world that is totally globalised economically and where there is closeness only in the private realm."


Targets for the project participants on the ground

(children, adolescents and young adults who have experienced displacement)

  • Joy and excitement in their otherwise difficult and often monotonous everyday life
  • Ways to find their own voice through creative expression, to articulate injustice, and to shape their future
  • An opportunity to work on a project with others and then present the results to an audience to reach even more people
  • Contact with people from Switzerland, getting to know other realities, opinions, views, and finding common ground


Study locations

HKB campus Bern-Fellerstrasse and Jordan (based in Amman).

Travel advice for Jordan (FDFA)


Tuition fees
CHF 2600.–; reduced fee: CHF 2000.– (for students, freelance art professionals and persons with proved low income).
Tuition fees include all classroom instruction days as well as food, lodging and transport in Jordan. Not included is round-trip airfare to Amman (can be arranged through the NOIVA Foundation at a discounted price of CHF 700.–)


Admission requirements

Participants in the project must have a university degree and/or a professional artistic or creative practice. Practical experience or interest in working as a teaching artist, or in art or cultural education is desired. Good English skills are also necessary.

Project structure

"Creativity is the power to reject the past, to change the status quo, and to seek new potential. Simply put, aside from using one’s imagination, perhaps more importantly, creativity ist the power to act." (Ai Weiwei, Catalog Libero, 2016 Giunti Editore S.p.A)



In cooperation with a seasoned team of NGO employees and cultural educators, a participatory cultural education project will be developed with refugees in Jordan in three different contexts. The teachers in this project will provide guidance and support and collaborate with the learners. Knowledge and skills can thus be transferred and applied in practice. The practical project enables participants to gain experience working in a foreign cultural, social and political context as they learn to network with international organisations and collaborate with artists working in various sectors. The project offers them the necessary protection, supervision and expertise from experienced staff in Jordan, giving them opportunities for access, encounters and occupational experience with refugees that would not be possible without this cooperation.


The project does not see itself as part of development cooperation but rather sets out to facilitate participants’ personal and professional growth, broaden their horizons, and enable intercultural encounters on several levels. The objectives pursued are not of a therapeutic, ideological, capitalist or colonial nature.


The project comprises three phases:
1. In the run-up to the project, the participants will receive input on the following topics (3 days in Bern):

  • Introduction to the principles and practice of ‘Art for development’, ‘Art for social change’ and ‘Art in conflict zones’
  • Context of the project: situation of refugees in Jordan
  • Substantive and practical procedures on site


2. The practical section of the project (approx. 10 days in Jordan) will be designed in such a way that features of various artistic disciplines will be compiled into an overall project. The current state of planning calls for the project to be carried out three times as a short project in three different locations where refugees are living in Jordan: Azraq Camp (established 2014, camp for Syrian refugees), the city of Mafraq (with Syrian refugee children in the learn2life project) & Baqa’a Refugee Camp (established 1968, camp for Palestinian refugees). It thus enables insights into practical work in different contexts, as well as three performances for an audience.


3. After returning to Switzerland, the participants will evaluate and reflect on the project (1 day in Bern). In addition to the evaluation of the short projects in Jordan, the outlook for individual future projects by the participants will be discussed: Where and how can such projects be realised in Switzerland and in the international context?



  • January 19/20/27, 2018: Input days, Bern University of the Arts HKB
  • February 17–28, 2018: Practical project work in Jordan
  • March 9, 2018: Evaluation and reflection day, Bern University of the Arts HKB

Project management

Sinje Homann (theater drama teacher, theater director, cultural manager and adult education instructor, head of the CAS Teaching Artist degree programme at HKB)


Christoph Brunner (percussionist and cultural educator, head of various CAS music education degree programmes as well as Officer for Equality and Inclusion at HKB)


Bettina Holzhausen (choreographer and dance teacher, currently working with the Zurich Opera Ballet and the dance network reso, MA Theater and Development from the University of Leeds, various international projects)

In cooperation with the NOIVA Foundation, Anna Winkler.







Das Internationale Praxisprojekt 2018 ist abgeschlossen. Sind Sie interessiert an einer künftigen Durchführung?


Secretariat Further Education

Bern University of the Arts HKB

Fellerstrasse 11

3027 Bern


T +41 31 848 38 15