Institute for Social Justice

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Dr Kiran Grewal to speak at World Theatre Day in Sri Lanka

Dr Kiran Grewal on ” ‘Doing Justice’ in a Post-Conflict Society: The Role of Theatre in Processes of Redress and Reconciliation”

When: 27 March 2016

Where: World Theatre Day, Eastern University Sri Lanka

What does it mean ‘to do justice’? How can we ‘do justice’ in a country like Sri Lanka, wracked by years of violence and war, poverty, discrimination and natural disasters like the tsunami? And what would it mean to ‘do justice’ when questions remain about what happened to loved ones who have disappeared, where peoples homes are no longer there to return to and where communities remain divided along religious and ethnic lines? These are tricky questions and Sri Lanka is not the first (nor sadly the last) country to have to deal with them. An entire field of ‘transitional justice’ has emerged of scholars and professionals seeking to find ways to achieve both a sense of redress for the past and create the conditions for a better future. All too often the focus of these efforts has been law and legal institutions. But is law capable of dealing with the complexity of the issues, the grey areas that might exist between individual guilt and structural factors, the difficulty sometimes in separating victims from perpetrators? Many have come to ask these questions, forcing us to reflect again on other avenues for doing justice. It is here, I will argue, that theatre offers an important alternative. Drawing on examples from various post-conflict societies, I will explore the ways in which we might draw more on the potential of theatre as a means of responding to past atrocity and securing a better future.

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