After years of research and testing Uniform November has designed an approach to these buildings. An approach that acknowledges the memories of violence whilst promoting social cohesion within divided, post-conflict communities. An approach that begins with a formula which can be applied to all places with a violent past.
Many have asked, now that you have mapped and analysed them, what do you suggest we do with these everyday buildings with a history violence?
Agencies, locals, NGOs and INGOs struggled to address these difficult ex-combatants. Some have simply re-paired, re-painted reopened them, others have demolished them completely. One or two have left them as a warning to the horrors of the conflict. The majority are ignoring them, casting them to the shadows of amnesia in the hope they will slide out of social prominence and become absorbed by post-conflict nation-building and urban redevelopment plans.
However, for a post conflict community, their sense of place has fundamentally changed.
Many of these once familiar buildings which subtly reinforced a sense of place and belonging, are now imbued with traumatic meaning, and represent a complicated and contrasting set of post-conflict emotions.
For those living in the post-conflict community, and depending on their affiliation with violence, these buildings echo very different meanings and hold a very different set of memories; they could be feared and reviled by some or respected, welcomed and even loved by others.
To leave these buildings unrecognised in ethnically diverse communities riddled with post-conflict emotional entanglements, renders any reconciliation effort more fragile, and therefore more susceptible to failure and manipulation, sparking further violence.
Uniform November believes that, it is within the familiar and ordinary that real progress can be made. Our research has revealed the extraordinary opportunities and obstacles associated with memory and place, thus potentially providing an important layer of consideration, which we argue will help develop a more informed approach to designing the dynamics involved in contemporary reconciliation.
Our research in Mosul, Iraq has mapped and identified key everyday places which have significant socio-political meaning that influence local ownership and participation in engaging the wider peacebuilding process by local and international aid agencies (link to report)
After years of research and testing Uniform November has designed an approach to these buildings. An approach that acknowledges the memories of violence whilst promoting social cohesion within divided communities.
An approach that begins with a formula which can be applied to all places with a violent past.