The changing nature of armed conflict since the beginning of the 20th century has led to a significant increase in the volume and intensity of the social consequences of war on the civilian population. Children are often impacted strongly, and this is particularly pronounced for children associated with the enemy. Among those, Children Born of War, fathered by foreign/enemy or occupation soldiers or peacekeepers and born to local mothers, are especially vulnerable to a range of adversities. They are frequently born out of wedlock, are almost always raised without fathers, and their position as a child ‘of the enemy or occupier’ and often as a child of mixed ethnic parentage, leads to stigmatisation and discrimination.
These challenges and gaps in the knowledge about their biological father affect their identity formation processes. Despite these challenges and the taboo associated with their provenance, their identities are varied. They are not merely, as has been suggested in research and policymaking, secondary victims of armed conflict, but they often see themselves as bridge builders between previously inimical countries or kinship groups. This multi-facetted set of experiences is at the core of this call for projects that visualise – through performance-based engagement – the challenges and opportunities of CBOWs in post-conflict societies.
Artists of the independent performing arts throughout Europe are invited to develop performative works and make them publicly visible in a theatrical process that also involves audience participation. Three selected artistic projects will be presented publicly at a final symposium in April/May 2023 in Leipzig, Germany together with a symposium addressing questions about performing arts as a way of communicating scientific topics and findings to the public. Academic partners of the project are University of Leipzig and the University of Birmingham; the artistic network partner is the regional association for the independent performing arts in Saxony (Landesverband der Freien Theater in Sachsen e.V. / LFTS).
The project organisers offer:
- Financial subsidy funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung through the Ralf-Dahrendorf Preis für den Europäischen Forschungsraum (up to €6500 for each of the selected projects).
- Online mentoring, both with regard to the research content related to CBOW and artistic development through the project team (UoL, LFTS, UoB).
- Travel and subsistence for actors of selected projects for the performance event.
- Administrative and technical support.
- Rehearsal space for final event.
- Ongoing video documentary and podcast about the project development and initial performance.