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Hidden Voices: Lived Experiences of Marginalization and Recovery in Sri Lanka and Colombia

Event Details

  • Address

    King's College London, Great Hall, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS

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  • Date

    Wednesday 16th January 2019

  • Time

    8:30 - 19:30

  • Ticket Prices

    Free 0.00

This full day symposium marks the end of a two-year European Research Social Council funded project, entitled, “Hidden Voices: Lived Experiences of Marginalization and Recovery in Sri Lanka and Colombia”. Using Sri Lanka and Colombia as case studies the aim of Hidden Voices is to bring to the fore less visible everyday processes and experiences of violence and transition exploring innovative processes of healing and artistic forms of commemoration. It pays attention to voices that are often not heard in transitional justice research, particularly women who participated in or were directly affected by combat, focusing on former combatants, war widows, families of the disappeared and internally displaced populations. The symposium for the project brings together an array of speakers from Sri Lanka, Colombia, the US and the UK.

Confirmed speakers include: Ambika Satkunanathan (Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust and a Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka), Dr Mario Gomez (International Center for Ethnic Studies, Sri Lanka), Dr Lars Waldorf (University of Dundee ), Dr Hette Blades (Conventry University), Dr Hannah Partis-Jennings (Loughborough University), Mr Pablo Abitbol (Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar, Colombia), Professor Kimberly Theidon (Tufts University), Dr Hanna Ketola (King’s College London), Ms Dharsha Jegatheeswaran (Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research), Mrs Vasuki Jeyasankar (Feminist Activist and Artist, Sri Lanka), Ms Sham Selvaratnam (Art Psychotherapist and Group Facilitator, Jaffna, Sri Lanka), Mrs Shreen Saroor (Mannar Women’s Development Federation, Sri Lanka), Dr Sivathas Sivasubranamian (Jaffna Teaching Hospital and Jaffna Medical Faculty), and Mr Leonardo Alba-Mejia (Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar, Colombia).

The final part of the day will include a documentary film screening and art exhibition.


8.30-9 Registration and Coffee

9-9.15 Introduction to the Project (Rebekka Friedman)

9.15-10.45 Panel 1. Religion, Trauma and Informal Healing

– Sivathas Sivasubranamian (Jaffna Teaching Hospital and Jaffna Medical Faculty, Sri Lanka): Religion, Ritual and Individual and Collective Healing in Sri Lanka

– Lars Waldorf (University of Dundee, UK) and Hette Blades (Coventry University, UK): ‘Performing Empowerment’ in Sri Lanka

– Sham Selvaratnam (Art Psychotherapist and Group Facilitator, Jaffna, Sri Lanka): Gender at the Intersection of Individual and Collective Healing

Chair: Mats Berdal (KCL, UK)

Discussant: Helen Scanlon (University of Cape Town, South Africa)

10.45-11 Coffee Break

11-12.30 Panel 2. Community Art, Memory and Activism

– Leonardo Alba Mejia (Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar, Colombia): Community Art in Colombia

– Pablo Abitbol Piñeiro (Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar, Colombia): Participative Construction of Collective Memory in Colombia

– Vasuki Jeyasankar (Feminist Activist and Artist, Batticoloa, Sri Lanka): Memories in Hue

Chair: Rebekka Friedman (KCL, UK)

Discussant: Rachel Kerr (KCL, UK)

12.30-13.15 Lunch

13.15-15.00 Panel 3. Coming Home: Gender, Ex-Combatants & Legacies of Violence

– Rebekka Friedman (KCL, UK): Remnants of a Chequered Past: Militarization, Female Combatants & Social Reintegration in Sri Lanka

– Hanna Ketola (KCL, UK): Withdrawing from Politics? – Gender, Agency and Women Ex-fighters in Nepal

– Ambika Satkunanathan (Urgent Action Fund and the Human Rights Commission, Sri Lanka): Gender, Everyday Legacies and Militarization

– Kimberly Theidon (Tufts University, US), Challenging Conceptions: Children Born of Wartime Rape and Sexual Exploitation

Chair: Kirsten Ainley (LSE, UK)

Discussant: Jelke Boesten (KCL, UK)

15-15:15 Coffee Break

15.15-17.00 Panel 4. Marginalized Voices & Gender in Transitional Justice

– Mario Gomez (International Center for Ethnic Studies, Sri Lanka): Integrating Disabled Voices in Policy and Practice

– Hannah Partis-Jennings (Loughborough University, UK): Trauma Communities and the Sri Lankan Diaspora

– Shreen Saroor (Mannar Women’s Development Federation, Sri Lanka): Gender & the Muslim community in Sri Lanka

– Dharsha Jegatheeswaran (Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research): Resistance by Tamil Women Victim-Survivor Communities – Challenging Conceptions of Agency

Chair: Karen Smith (LSE, UK)

Discussant: Jonathan Goodhand (SOAS, UK)

17-17.15 Coffee Break

17.15-18.15 Film Screening & Discussion

18.15-19.30 Reception alongside Art & Photography Exhibition (with art displays by Leonardo Alba Mejia and Vasuki Jeyasankar)

Please email with questions.