Big Discussion

In alignment with our vision to promote cultural dialogue in the region, the Cultural and Social Narratives Laboratory (CSN Lab) recently conducted a meeting aimed at addressing the post-war crisis and emerging challenges in Armenia.

The event brought together artists, cultural practitioners, researchers, and civil society representatives from  Armenia as well as professionals who were  forcibly displaced from Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh. Safe and secure environment was created for the attendees to engage in open discussions, reflect on current developments, articulate persistent problems and stereotypes they encounter, as well as to analyse the role of culture in addressing these issues.

Within their welcoming remarks,  the team-members of the CSN Lab underscored the importance of establishing dialogue platforms and safe environments for self-expression, mutual listening and understanding, particularly in light of the numerous cultural and social challenges arising from recent tragic affairs. They specifically emphasised the importance of fostering mutual understanding, resolving conflicts, and building a diverse yet unified and resilient  society in Armenia.

The questions raised by attendee-formed groups during open discussions made it evident that the issues raised in a framework of the event have social, political, but most of all— cultural roots and nature.  Stereotypes, widely disseminated throughout different layers of the society in Armenia, are perpetuated and amplified by cultural actors, social media and media platforms, ultimately resulting in alienation and polarisation of the society.

Within the framework of the dialogue, participants explored a range of challenges impeding integration of Armenians from Artsakh in Armenia, addressing concerns such as identity preservation, cultural heritage, language, shifts in everyday practices, the right to memory, as well as gaps in education and information, among others. 

The safe and secure atmosphere of self-expression and mutual understanding prevailed throughout the whole session: both participants and the initiative team exchanged perspectives on potential cultural solutions for addressing pressing issues and problems, emphasising the importance of understanding, comforting, and supporting one another during these challenging times.

As a cultural organisation with a longstanding commitment to addressing wars, conflicts, forced displacements, migration, cultural dialogue, cultural rights, and related issues, the Cultural and Social Narratives Laboratory aims to continue contributing to the establishment of free, peaceful, and democratic communities throughout the region through various projects, including local, regional, and international cultural dialogues.

The team at the Cultural and Social Narratives Laboratory is grateful to the Goethe Center in Yerevan for graciously hosting our cultural dialogue.