We are pleased to announce that we contributed to the special issue for the 50th anniversary of Kosmopolis, the journal published by the Finnish Peace Research Association. In our article, Soveltava visuaalinen rauhantutkimus: Kuvat, rauhanvälitys ja aktiivinen katsominen (in English: Applied Visual Peace Research: Images, Mediation and Active Looking), we explore how images can contribute to peace processes from a more practical perspective, starting a new line of research: Applied Visual Peace Research. To do so, we look at possible ways images can advance peace processes by examining international peace mediation more specifically.
We start with discussing what we consider shortcomings of current mainstream approaches to peace mediation and then develop our own conceptualization of peace mediation influenced by narrative approaches which we term Conflict Conversation Constellation (CCC). We define CCCs as an idea-typical setting in which individuals meet to exchange their personal views and perspectives about a conflict at hand and in which they can address their inter-group problems by means of re-complexifying the own narratives.
We, then, discuss the concept of active listening in such an ideal-typical situation, before developing the notion of active looking. Active looking refers to a visual-discursive mediation practice that actively and deliberately uses images as a mode of communication and part of meaning-making processes, hereby leveraging on certain characteristics that images possess, especially regarding the image-word relationship. We, thus, understand active looking as both an approach to peace mediation as well as an important skill for mediators.