This project seeks to examine how the potentials of arts can benefit refugees by focusing on three specific artistic activities in two different refugee camps. As a methodical approach, we have used anthropologist Clifford Geertz’ Thick Description, to map out the significant structures for the cultural context in which the artistic activity is played out. Theoretically we draw on social scientist Benedict Anderson and his theory Imagined Communities to establish the importance of art and it’s connection to the specific nation within the project as a uniting factor. In our analysis the psychological theory Potentiel Space by pediatrician and psychiatrist Donald W. Winnicott displays the psychological benefits that creativity possess for individuals living in areas of conflicts such as refugee camps. Furthermore we utilise theatre director Augusto Boal’s concept Theater of the Oppressed as an analytic tool in our approach to a specific theatre project in Camp Ifo, Dadaab, Kenya. Our analysis of the structures of societies and the artistic projects in the refugee camps in Balata and Dadaab shows that the potentials for each artistic activity varies depending on the context surrounding the project and whether or not the activity is initiated by the refugees themselves or by an external organization. The external involvement also affects the sustainability of the initiative. In addition the potential of each art project depends on it’s manufactured product and the creative process that takes place during the production of the art. Finally we conclude that the refugees by participating in the artistic activities are able to distance themselves from the thrust upon label as a refugee. The institutional structure of the camp should take the positive potentials, and thus in our opinion the necessity of artistic activities in refugee camps into account
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