This project focuses on Quibdó, the capital of Chocó in the Colombian Pacific: a remote area disproportionately affected by armed conflict and home to mainly Afrocolombian and indigenous populations. The project has emerged from a longstanding partnership between the University of Edinburgh, Universidad Claretiana, Fundacion Casa Tres Patios and Mr Klaje. It brought together young people, researchers from Colombia and the United Kingdom, artists, educators and local organisations, to respond to priorities identified by young people: tensions within/between neighbourhoods (barrios), violence and armed gangs, and feelings of fear and distrust.
Through a co-produced participatory music-and art-based approach, our project has aimed to:
Despite the difficult territorial conditions present in Quibdó and the physical distance that the pandemic generated between the group of facilitators and our young co-researchers (including difficulties of virtual connectivity), we were able to transform our original arts- and music-based methodologies into successful online alternatives. From a methodological point of view, this has provided many interesting learning experiences for our team, captured for example in our methodological toolbox. Through this toolbox, we aim to contribute directly to the technical and conceptual strengthening of the various processes that co-researchers carry out in their territories, within the framework of their personal projects and through their collectives and communities. This will result in expanding their capacities for action in the communities they inhabit and allowing the construction of new narratives from art and music, as a language that unites people and enables them to create spaces for reflection.
As part of the process, a series of audiovisual content was produced with the main objective of making visible the young people linked to the ¿Cuál es la verdad? project as active individuals in the construction of the territory and to enable, from this audiovisual exercise, the generation of networks between new organizations, groups, young people and the community that wish to be linked to the processes developed by the group of young co-researchers. Bringing together all these different groups has generated opportunities for collaborative work between various actors that inhabit Quibdó, promoting creativity, collectivity and empathy, and sparking concrete actions to reduce the exclusionary or violent practices that historically marked the relationships between neighborhoods.
In doing so, the ¿Cuál es la verdad? project has generated meeting spaces to reduce violence, to enable the empowerment of young co-researchers as active, critical and purposeful actors in the transformation of their territory and the exploration of arts and music as a language and an effective methodology for bringing communities together and collectively build spaces for the construction of peaceful and self-sustainable territories.