The project explored how arts and culture as a ‘soft, non-threatening tool’ can help prevent extremism through promoting social inclusion.
Project implemented: January 2018
Understand and use the ‘power’ of arts & culture to promote social inclusion for peace and stability.
The project is important to Australia because it focuses on promoting peace, stability and preventing extremism through the use of arts and culture.
Bringing 13 Bangladeshi officials to Australia to exchange ideas, skills and expertise on the topic.
Mix of theory and practice with hands on experience on the topic through visiting a range of arts and cultural organisations.
Building knowledge on how to co-create value to empower and engage young people and build their confidence and resilience.
Follow-up activities of each of the fellows to apply these learnings. This was conducted in Bangladesh.
Each fellow designed and implemented a project using arts and culture to engage isolated youth and promote social inclusion.
Assessment and evaluation of the fellows' projects by the Deakin research team in Bangladesh.
Promoting the understanding that arts and culture is not only an aesthetic tool for entertainment but it can also be a powerful tool to promote social inclusion and engage isolated youths amongst Deakin staff and Bangladeshi officials.
Capacity building on how to engage isolated youths through arts-based initiatives that were encompassed in different types of programs.
Developing synergistic networks and organisational linkages between officials in Bangladesh and their peers in Australia for the purpose of problem solving relating to issues of peace and stability.
Rising extremism leading to radicalisation is a problem that many countries in the world including Australia and Bangladesh face. Scholars argue that the arts can act as a means to achieve social cohesion through empowering individuals and groups at risk of social exclusion. While hard measures such as use of force, arrests and detention are important, recent research suggests that soft measures such as arts and culture need to be used alongside the hard operational approach to prevent extremism as a holistic approach.
In the 2017 Australia Award Fellowship Round 17 program funded by DFAT, researchers at Deakin University explored how arts and culture as a ‘soft, non-threatening tool’ can help prevent extremism through promoting social inclusion of disadvantaged youths who run the risk of being radicalized.
The innovative program brought 13 Bangladeshi public and private sector officials to Australia to exchange ideas, skills and expertise on how arts and culture can work as a soft strategic approach to prevent extremism and foster social harmony. Visiting a range of arts and cultural organisations through a two week long training run by Deakin University in Melbourne and Sydney in 2017, the fellows were provided with examples of how to co-create value to empower, include and engage young people and build their confidence, resilience and self-esteem through arts and culture, with follow-up activities in Bangladesh to apply these learnings.
The program has led to a number of initiatives undertaken by fellows with far reaching implications to engage socially excluded youth who run the risk of being radicalized, including capacity building of both Deakin staff and Bangladeshi officials.