© Helvetas

Open History - Arts for Peace

© Helvetas
  • Project Name
    Open History - Arts for Peace
  • Project Phase
    2019 to 2022
  • Funding
    This project is financed by ifa/Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office during 2019 and by own funds/other donations.
  • Thematic focus
    Governance, Peace & Migration

Myanmar is one of the ethnically most diverse countries in the world. Since independence, the country has experienced a complex set of conflicts. These represent a significant challenge on the way towards peace, development and democracy: The political space is still very limited and mistrust is widespread.

Due to this, our project 'Open History – Arts for Peace' organises community-based 'Open History Exhibitions' in different regions and states of the country.

Together with our partner organization, the 'Pansodan Gallery', we provide space for dialogue with the aim to strengthen identity and foster peaceful co-existence. Through this, women, men and youth from different ethnic and social backgrounds exchange about their history, reflect about how to construct a peaceful future for Myanmar and thus, support peace building from the ground. The different actors learn about the good practices and attitudes of various social and ethnic groups on how to peacefully coexist, and recognize the power of arts for conflict transformation and social cohesion.

Pansodan Gallery curates photo exhibitions with historic pictures that the local population has contributed. With Pansodan Gallery we organize photo contests and engage especially youth to participate. The theme of the contest is 'My City - how young women and men experience and see their own city'.

© Helvetas / Julia Thienhaus
Aung Soe Min is a renowned artist and co-owner of the Pansodan Gallery. This project is based on his idea. © Helvetas / Julia Thienhaus
© Helvetas
Young people from the villages are enthusiastic about participating in the Open History project... © Helvetas
... and learn about the history from the elders.
© Helvetas
At the biannual exhibitions the photos and stories are shared with the enthusiastic audience. © Helvetas

Furthermore, a video competition builds a bridge between the generations: Young artists get in touch with the elderly and encourage them to tell them stories of the past.

The pictures and videos are exhibited as part of the 'Open History Exhibition', which take place every half year. At the end of the project, the documentation material is made publicly accessible in a 'Virtual Museum', so that everybody can learn about the history and similarities of the different ethnic groups.

The project is financed by own funds and by ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office during 2019.

Video of the Open History Exhibition in Magwe

Learn more about our work 

How Helvetas Supports People in Myanmar

Learn how the rural communities in Myanmar improve their income and strengthen civil society in its new role.

Governance, Peace & Migration

In many countries where we work, men and women are unable to claim their rights and participate actively in decision-making processes.

Gender and Social Equity

Helvetas makes sure that our work actively and meaningfully includes and supports the most disadvantaged groups.