Performative Reintegration: Applied Theatre for Transitional Justice in Contemporary Colombia

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation



Applied Theatre’s engagement in conflict transformation is undergoing a paradigm change that can be understood as the development of new publics. This is identifiable in three different areas of interest that illustrate the multiple stages where the arts contribute to post-conflict transitions: work with survivors and members of civil society who could be also deeply implicated in harms, care giving practices in institutional settings that facilitate policy implementation, and engagement with the arts in transitional justice, beyond utilitarian approaches. This shift of focus from discrete methods to be applied in various locations to a preoccupation with the multidimensional dynamics of violent conflict, I propose, suggests a focus on embodiment and process rather than fixed outcomes, and has been accompanied by the rise of international law discourses through which to reassess narratives and legacies of war that move beyond the victim/perpetrator binary and inform reparation in transitional contexts in various parts of the world, not least in Colombia.

Since the turn of the millennium Colombia has been reconsidering notions of victimhood, perpetration and implication through the implementation of peace agreements and ensuing transitional justice mechanisms, with this process against the backdrop of a shift to conflict transformation as a performative, embodied endeavour. Performative Reintegration (Methuen Drama forthcoming monograph for the Applied Theatre series, 2026) connects ongoing debates on the role of the arts in transitional justice, from a concern on how the arts are used in peacebuilding to a preoccupation with the embodied manifestations of violence and repair, and proposes a shift towards the performative dimensions of post conflict transitions evident in the reintegration of ex-combatants of guerrilla and paramilitary organisations. In this seminar I will provide an overview of this book project touching upon the emergence of transitional justice initiatives in Colombia in line with international law, the interplay between innocent and complex-victimhood and its implications for applied theatre, the role of affect and ideology in the emergence of gendered identities as pathways for ex-combatants’ post-conflict adaptation, and the embodied dimensions of institutional and secondary care.

Content Warning: References to reproductive and sexual violence, depression and PTSD

Period14 Mar 2024
Event titleLondon Theatre Seminar
Event typeSeminar
LocationLondon, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionRegional