Dili, 5 July 2021 – In collaboration with our partners in Timor-Leste – ACbit and FONGTIL – AJAR held a six-day workshop on engaging and empowering survivors using participatory action research methods, specifically body mapping.
Body mapping is an activity that combines arts-based research methods that explores memorialisation, healing, advocacy and empowerment. Body mapping explores participants personal narratives within a conflict or post-conflict context and has been developed through doing in apartheid South Africa.
During the 6 days of the workshop, participants were exposed to innovative methods of inquiry about themselves, their personal stories and their community/country’s history of conflict or violence. Participants, with the help of co-facilitators, were guided through the body mapping process with the intention that the application of this tool in participants’ own work would be most effective if they had experienced body mapping themselves.
A total of 14 participants from 14 organisations, including two women survivors from the National Victims Association, participated in the workshop. By actively participating in the workshop, participants learned about the process and importance of storytelling for transformation, and inadvertently built courage and pride around all life experiences. For those who have survived trauma, this was an opportunity to feel heard, seen, and safe to express and celebrate their resilience.
I am happy, and I feel good because such a moment (like this training) can help us to find refreshing in my life. When faced with problems, it reminds us of what has happened in our lives. So with such training, we feel good because we can come to meet with our friends and learn new things and share experiences with each other.A participant and women survivor, National Victim Association
The Body Mapping Workshop was facilitated (via Zoom) by Shirley Gunn, Founder of Human Rights Media Centre (South Africa), and co-facilitated by Maria Manuela Leong Pereira (ACbit), Anina Gonçalves (ACbit), Rosi de Sousa (Fokupers), and Adelia Guterres (Fokupers) over 6 days between July 5th-10th.