Breaking stereotypes, linking and humanizing the lives of people considered being “enemies” – this is the main reason why a group of young women from Armenia and Turkey have united. They came together in a response to the lack of innovative and empowering platforms where women could engage across the closed Turkish-Armenian border to build peace and solidarity. The group first met in 2013 in Istanbul and were inspired by the desire to have a woman-led and women-oriented peace-building initiative, which would incorporate oral history, storytelling and performance art as a means to contribute to Turkish-Armenian dialogue. Followed by oral-history workshops and interviews around the topic of sexuality within the groups as well as outside of the groups, a joint production of a performance based on those stories was staged in Madrasa Theatre in Sirince.
In 2014, the group met again in Armenia and focused on non-verbal communication techniques, storytelling and performance art methods in order to produce another performance based on body-movement. This was made possible by the financial support of HBS Turkey and South Caucasus offices. The performance created after the week-long workshops in Aghdzq (Armenia) met all expectations of participants and was mostly based on the body-movements. It was a good demonstration of the progress participants made in understanding and feeling each other without the need to communicate in words. This is the ultimate trust based on honesty towards others and towards one-self in the process of living and working together in a big group of women for 2 weeks. The final performance was staged in Aghdzq and Yerevan (Art Lab).
2014 project will be widely publicized via documentary film, which will be released by the end of year. Also, four participants of the project will participate in Divadlo Bez Domova theater festival in Bratislava, Slovakia from November 27-30 to increase performance/art capacity of the Beyond Borders group and to spread information about the project in an international theater gathering.
Facebook page of the project: https://www.facebook.com/LinkingOurStories
Blog of the project: www.linking-our-stories.blogspot.com
Web of the project: www.linkingourstories.com