Exhibit depicts the strength, voice and agency of women and girls in war

Each year on June 19, the world marks the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. On April 23 of this year, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2467, which articulates a survivor-centred approach to the prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence.

Professor Annie Bunting, front row (right) with project participants, Kigali, 2019. Photo courtesy of Annie Bunting

It is in the spirit of survivor-centred public education and advocacy that the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Project called Conjugal Slavery in War (CSiW), which is directed by York law and society Professor Annie Bunting, collaborated with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) on a temporary exhibit. The exhibit, “Ododo Wa: Stories of Girls in War,” launched on June 19 on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights website. A web story related to the exhibit can be found at humanrights.ca/story/voices-of-women-and-girls-in-war.

Knowledge Mobilization documents for the project

The web story is a precursor to a temporary exhibit that will open at the museum in October and is the result of a collaborative effort involving Isabelle Masson, a curator at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, CSiW co-ordinator Véronique Bourget and Bunting. For almost three years, they have been working closely to bring this exhibit into existence and mobilize the knowledge gained from the CSiW project. The exhibit is based on the lives of Grace Acan and Evelyn Amony, two Ugandan women who were abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army and held in captivity for many years. Both are now researchers and activists and have been closely involved in all aspects of the development of the exhibit.

Evelyn Amony(second from the left) and Grace Acan (right, checked tunic) in Kigali, 2019. Photo courtesy of Annie Bunting

“Dr. Bunting and her project partners continue to demonstrate leadership in knowledge mobilization (KMb),” says Michael Johnny, manager of knowledge mobilization, Innovation York. “Through meaningful engagement, clear goals and dynamic KMb activity, they are helping connect research and research findings with global audiences. This exhibit exemplifies this important work.”

Curator Isabelle Masson presents the CMHR exhibit at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Vancouver

The exhibit includes images, text, artifacts, animated films, and interviews with Acan and Amony. Original animated films that are part of the exhibit were created by artist Maggie Ikemiya and are based on Acan and Amony’s stories – they both have published memoirs based on their lives in LRA captivity and recovery.

The content of the exhibit is designed to focus on women and girls’ perspectives, their strength, voice and agency rather than on violence and victimhood.

To learn more, visit the CSiW website.