Picturing Peace: Local and Universal Symbols in Three Cultures

Robert J. Beck, Jonathan Cummins, Jasmine Yep

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Picturing Peace is an ArtsBridge collaboration in which K-12 students learn to use digital cameras to communicate their feelings and ideas about peace. The photographs of three student cultures were analyzed. Both local and universal symbols of peace were found, such as nature, light, community, environment, peace signs, play, spiritual symbols, diversity, body and innocence.Picturing Peace is an inter-university knowledge transfer, research and educational art project. This multi-faceted project examines the positive effects that abstract image making has on 4th grader’s conceptual thinking. The project also uses art and digital photography to foster students’ thinking about peace. The project is based in two primary schools in California and two in North Belfast. The team in NI include students from University of Ulster School of Art and Design along with students, teachers and principals from Ligoniel Primary and St Vincent de Paul Primary schools. The project requires ongoing liaison with schools in California and researchers at Artsbridge America at the University of California Irvine. Jonathan Cummins is project director in Northern Ireland and co-investigator with lead researcher Robert Beck and Jasmine Yep. The project in Northern Ireland received US$16,000 from the funders Citizen Peace Building Programme at University of California Irvine. The project has the active support and involvement of many institutions such as the Da Vinci Research Center for Learning Through the Arts, Citizen Peace Building Programme, Artsbridge America at University of California Irvine. Seeds of Hope in Northern Ireland, the University of Ulster, Lawrence University, Ligoniel Primary School, St. Vincent de Paul Primary School and the Hewlett Packard Corporation.The project has had a number of outcomes: Journal article‘Picturing Peace: An Analysis of Student Photographs in Three Cultures’. Authors: Robert Beck, Jonathan Cummins and Jasmine Yep. Journal for Learning through the Arts: A Research Journal on Arts Integration in Schools and Communities, Center for Learning through the Arts and Technology, University of California Irvine. Vol 1, No 1, Dec 2005. Summer/Fall 2005. http://escholarship.org/uc/item/4nb7r9d4Artsbridge America Annual Conference, 2005Conference paper and keynote address by Jonathan Cummins. Artsbridge America Conference, March 2005, University of California, San Diego. Title: ‘Picturing Peace: Visualizing Northern Ireland through the Eyes of Children.Curriculum and WorkshopsAs part of the project, a curriculum was designed to further children’s literacy and photography skills. In addition to the curriculum, three workshops were held at the University of Ulster, which were attended by children from Ligoniel and St Vincent de Paul primary schools. The workshops focused on technology, critical analysis of photographs and peace. ExhibitionAn exhibition of 48 photographs made by children from Ligoniel and St Vincent de Paul Primary Schools was held in Belfast City Hall in April 2006. The children, their families and teachers attended the exhibition, which was opened by the City Mayor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-43
JournalJournal for Learning through the Arts
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Dec 2005


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