DFL Acting against conflict
The Acting Against Conflict (AAC) Project aims to develop the ability of various categories of participants, irrespective of age groups, to manage different forms of conflict using the medium of interactive drama and theatre. To date, the project has been making successful interventions at the University of the Witwatersrand since its formation in 2009. The focus has been on specific types of conflicts affecting university students such as sexual harassment, xenophobia, racism and homophobia. The project seeks to improve participants‟ understanding of conflict and equip them with conflict handling strategies using integrated applied drama and theatre practices. A team of facilitators specially trained in conflict mediation strategies are responsible for leading the implementation of the project.
The AAC Project makes use of a participatory action research methodology that enables participants to go through the process of experiential learning that may eventually lead to action. The project integrates the action research methodology with different conflict escalation models to enable participants to embody, witness and identify such phases of conflict as latent, emerging, manifest and de-escalation. Thus the project frames its interventions in a methodical manner that allows participants to understand and manage conflicts emanating from multiple social contexts but bearing in mind that no specific conflict handling style can suit all situations. Each style has its own strengths and limitations. Deciding on the most appropriate style for dealing with each conflict also depends on both context and situation. These conflict handling styles range from neutral approaches such as avoidance to more forceful strategies such as coercion and aggression.
The ultimate goal of the AAC Project therefore is to equip different stakeholders in schools, colleges, universities, industry, hospitals and other related communities with conflict handling styles using interactive workshop-based theatre interventions. As Dale Bagshaw, et al (2005) point out, the basic idea is for parties in conflict to arrive at mutually satisfying outcomes.
Project Head of Drama for Life Acting Against Conflict: Dr. Kennedy Chinyowa: Number: 011 717 4723 Mobile Number: 073 522 1252 Mail: Kennedy.Chinyowa@wits.ac.za