Featured affiliate: Corporación Otra Escuela (Colombia)
What is Otra Escuela?
Corporación Otra Escuela is a Colombian NGO who has been working on building peace cultures and pedagogies in Colombia and Latin America since 2000. Otra Escuela is made up of a multidisciplinary team (including political and social sciences, degrees, psychotherapies and art) that seeks the transformation of social scenarios through creative, artistic, playful, non-violent, deeply emotional and critical methodologies. As of today, it already has three offices: one in Bogotá, another in Santander de Quilichao (Southwest Colombia) and in Madrid-Spain.
Otra Escuela has been part of WRI network since 2019, joining the network during the International Conference "Antimilitarism in Movement: narratives of resistance to war". Its linkage to WRI’s work is given from praxis: supporting local organizations in charge of facilitating and organizing the Conference in Bogota, supporting their capacities for the Conference work through creative and nonviolent transformation of conflicts.
Otra Escuela’s proposal:
Pedagogically, Corporación Otra Escuela is guided by Freirian principles and the socio-affective approach, understanding education as a path that, through collective and horizontal learning, can transform violence cultures (which start from a relationship based on fear, control and homogenization) into cultures of peace (rooted in empowerment as a source of empathy, nonviolence and conscious, critical and creative disobedience). This is put into practice by creating emotional experiences that, accompanied by personal and group reflections, dialogues and goes through theoretical discussions on Peace(s) Building in concrete contexts. It contributes to learning through feeling and reflection, to transform or contribute to the internal and external reality of people.
Corporación Otra Escuela understands that empathy, non-violence and creativity are essential to build peace cultures. That is why it turns to playful and artistic languages, as didactic, dialogical and democratizing methods that link reason, emotionality and body, opening channels of expression that provide new visions and versions of each person. These playful-artistic languages have the capacity to link the internal and external world, connect the unconscious with the conscious and channel emotions, bringing to light experiences that can be difficult to name and narrate with words, in a movement that allows the deprivatization of the damage and the politicization of feeling.
From its beginnings 20 years ago in public schools, Otra Escuela currently works training and accompanying antimilitarist and peace-building activists, movements and organizations. In the framework of the implementation of the agreements of the end of the armed conflict between the guerrilla of the FARC-EP and the government of Colombia, it has been working permanently and continuously with young people and indigenous women, afrodescendants and peasants of Cauca, south of Colombia.
Since 2017, a part of the team began to work in Madrid-Spain, promoting scenarios of dialogue and creative multiplication from the experience and path taken in Colombia and Latin America. From that office, we seek to reverse the hegemonic relationship that governs international cooperation, transforming the view towards South-North directions from the creation of spaces for dialogue between the experiences of the Spanish State context and building cultures and pedagogies of peace.
Understanding the fundamental nature of the work in building and strengthening peace cultures, the training area (the heart and core of its horizon of meaning) has been joined by the work of systematizing peace-building experiences and cultural management to strengthen the social fabric as proposals and areas that are complementary and necessary in its commitment to the co-creation of other realities.
Currently Corporación Otra Escuela offers trainings (both in Colombia and in Madrid) using different artistic languages and topics related to Education for Peace, Creative Conflict Transformation, Training for Trainers, among others. According to their duration, they are:
- Diploma (151 hours of training): "Theory and Creative Methodologies for Building Peace Cultures" (Colombian and Madrid versions).
- Courses (50 hours of training): Theatre of the Oppressed.
- Laboratories (intensive 30 hours of attendance): They stand out: Self-care and relational care, Emotions and Creativity from the Clown, Laboratory of Feminities and Masculinities, Creativity and Conflict, Eroticization of Good Treatment, among others.
- Open classes (3 hours). The open classes are offered as an introduction to different topics in Peace Building logics with artistic methodologies. Individuals, teams, collectives and others who work with them are invited to make their proposals visible and to activate networking.
- Systematization of Peacebuilding experiences and Research processes.
- To know more about the training offers you can go to the following infographic. See here.
Finally, Otra Escuela understands crisis as both danger and opportunity. For this reason, here and now, from confinement, we believe that this crisis caused by the global health emergency is an opportunity to relate to fear and precarization from the standpoint of care and solidarity. We believe that these are times when once again the need for empathy and interdependence requires us to resist authoritarian logics and militarization of lives as a form of "security".
We invite you to learn about us and to contact us. We will be promoting and offering spaces to continue re-acquainting ourselves in these complex times. Here is our statement (in Spanish).