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Free education for more than 1 million around the globe

Date: 18/11/2015

More than 1 million young people in some of the world’s poorest and most troubled communities will receive free education from The University of Manchester in a major new initiative to provide an escape from conflict.

The University is to open a series of cultural spaces and deliver a new creative entrepreneurial course for people living in areas of unrest across Africa, the Middle East and South America.

The entrepreneurial programme will provide an escape through music and the arts and an internationally-recognised qualification for citizens whose lives might otherwise be torn apart by conflict, laying the foundations to grow their local economies and train up their own communities.

It will be delivered by In Place of War - an award-winning University of Manchester initiative which has worked for ten years to bring opportunities through music, art, theatre and dance to sites of conflict, war and social upheaval.

The new work will be delivered thanks to more than £360,000 worth of funding awards from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and The Leverhulme Trust and will reach 25 countries including Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Egypt, Lebanon, Colombia and the slums of Brazil.

Ruth Daniel, Director of In Place of War at The University of Manchester, said: “This work will change lives in some of the most disrupted and disconnected parts of the globe. Over ten years of research and fieldwork we have seen the positive difference that the facilitating the arts can make in sites of conflict. Thanks to this funding, we can now turn that into real education and training opportunities with the potential to enhance local economies and take people out of deprivation by connecting with people both in other areas of unrest and far beyond.

“As academics, it also provides us with a continued evidence base with which to understand the role that this type of intervention can play for people living through war and upheaval.”

In the Middle East, £141,000 from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will help fund creative entrepreneur workshops which will contribute to work to tackle extremism by providing an alternative to violence. The money will also fund a debating programme in the region.

A further £100,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council will deliver workshops in Africa and Brazil as well as opportunities to showcase warzone artists around the world. And The Leverhulme Trust has awarded £125,000 to create a network of cultural spaces, contributing to research into the importance of community spaces as a gathering point for creative and social endeavour. The first of these open this year in Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rio de Janeiro. It builds upon an online network put in place by IPOW to allow participants to share their art and music around the world.

Media enquiries to:

Deborah Linton
Media Relations Officer
Faculty of Humanities
The University of Manchester
Tel: 0161 275 8257, 07789 948 783
Email: deborah.linton@manchester.ac.uk

Notes to editors

In Place of War started in 2004 as an AHRC-funded research project on the relationship between performance and war. IPOW works with local organisations and uses the power of culture to sustain communities and affect political and social change. It began as a research project ten years ago, examining art in sites of conflict. Its work is spread across five core areas: digital networks, academic research, creative entrepreneurialism, creative spaces, and artistic production. http://www.inplaceofwar.net/

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK

Ruth Daniel is available for interview.

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