By David Oddie
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Additional info for A Journey of Art and Conflict: Weaving Indra’s Net
I had no specific sense of direction when I left school, but I was fortunate to be taken on by VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) where I spent a remarkable year in Sierra Leone, West Africa. In those days VSO overtly smacked of colonial overtones, and I have no doubt that I benefitted much more from the experience than the community in Segbwema where I taught. Staying in a remote town and mission with two extraordinary characters, Father Murphy and Brother Gabriel, with no running water, no electricity, poor roads and communication was no problem – Giggleswick was a good preparation for that!
Lederach’s book, The Moral Imagination (2005), is a key source of inspiration for the ARROW/Indra programme. He describes the moral imagination as the generation of transformative ideas and initiatives from within conflict settings: initiatives that symbolise ways in which cycles of violence may eventually be transcended. The generous action of the Khatib family in Jenin provides a vivid example of the moral imagination in action. Philosopher John Mbiti provides a model of ‘the past that lies before us’, in which we see moments of our immediate, lived, remembered and narrative past stretching out before us.
Over the weekend a couple of sixth formers would camp on the premises to keep an eye on them. The paintings were valuable and any art thief worth their salt would soon have made away with them – which is exactly what I proposed to do. To illustrate the foolhardiness of leaving a couple of raw sixth formers guarding these art treasures, I planned to get into the hall, pinch a painting 25 A Journey of Art and Conflict and leave it at the door of the Headmaster’s house. Myself and my two fellow burglars had found a way to get into the hall, and hatched our ‘plans, policies and devices’.
A Journey of Art and Conflict: Weaving Indra’s Net by David Oddie