'No one can tell a story better than the one who lived it': reworking constructions of childhood and trauma through the arts in Rwanda

Pells, Kirrily, Breed, Ananda, Uwihoreye, Chaste , Ndushabandi, Eric, Elliott, Matthew and Nzahabwanayo, Sylvestre (2021) 'No one can tell a story better than the one who lived it': reworking constructions of childhood and trauma through the arts in Rwanda. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry . ISSN 0165-005X

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11013-021-09760-3

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'No one can tell a story better than the one who lived it': reworking constructions of childhood and trauma through the arts in Rwanda
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Item Type:Article
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Abstract

The intergenerational legacies of conflict and violence for children and young people are typically approached within research and interventions through the lens of trauma. Understandings of childhood and trauma are based on bio-psychological frameworks emanating from the Global North, often at odds with the historical, political, economic, social and cultural contexts in which interventions are enacted, neglecting diversity of knowledge, experiences and practices. Within this paper we explore these concerns in the context of Rwanda and the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi. We reflect on two qualitative case studies: Connective Memories and Mobile Arts for Peace which both used arts-based approaches drawing on the richness of Rwandan cultural forms, such as proverbs and storytelling practices, to explore knowledge and processes of meaning-making about trauma, memory, and everyday forms of conflict from the perspectives of children and young people. We draw on these findings to argue that there is a need to refine and elaborate understandings of intergenerational transmission of trauma in Rwanda informed by: the historical and cultural context; intersections of structural and ‘everyday’ forms of conflict and social trauma embedded in intergenerational relations; and a reworking of notions of trauma ‘transmission’.

Keywords:Children and youth, trauma, memory, arts-baed methods, Rwanda
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P313 Film Production
L Social studies > L530 Youth Work
W Creative Arts and Design > W213 Visual Communication
C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
L Social studies > L610 Social and Cultural Anthropology
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
ID Code:46776
Deposited On:07 Oct 2021 14:21

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