Build Peace 2022

The 2022 Build Peace conference took place from November 4 – 6, 2022 in Chemnitz, Germany. The conference focused on the theme “Exploring the Unseen.”

Build Peace 2022 gathered over 350 practitioners, researchers, and activists from around the world to explore the less-visible sides of the digital and physical societal space, overlooked through the emergence of dominant narratives amidst conflict. This exploration included an active questioning of power: Unseen by who? By what structures? By what individuals? It also recognized where the unseen thrives: Where is transformation happening where others might not be looking? How is movement forming outside of dominant narratives? What relationships are harnessing new and innovative power?

Our online and offline realities cannot be divorced from each other — we can look at them together to understand what unites us, what divides us, and how in between the cracks of those answers, there are existing formations that offer us tools to build both relationships and our capacity to respond to each other peacefully. With this commitment, the conference hosted three sub-themes:

Turning Points: This theme examined the unseen before, during, and after turning points. How do these points feed division? How can they be revisited or reimagined to open new opportunities for societies to come together and create moments of accountability and healing? How can the arts, storytelling, memorializing, oral history, biography, and celebration be utilized to surface what has been hidden?

Supremacy and Polarization: This theme explored the unseen dynamics of supremacy and how they impact the way humans are able to connect within and between societal groups. How does affective polarization intersect with supremacy, and what drives polarization between individuals or within institutions? Where and how do related stereotypes, norms and attitudes emerge, and what role does history play in this? Which online and offline strategies actually work to address polarization and why?

Connecting Spaces: This theme explored the spaces in which interaction across different perceived dividing lines is possible – across the democratic political spectrum, between the geographic center and the periphery, across generations, and across nomenclatures of victims and perpetrators. Additionally, it looks at the unseen ways that allow people to feel heard and connected within the micro-communities that form around us daily through building closer relationships.

All recorded conference presentations can be watched on our YouTube playlist, and the full conference program is available here. Build Up opening remarks are available in written-form here, and ASA-ff opening remarks are recorded here. Post-conference reflections can be found here and here.

Build Peace 2022 was brought to you by by Build Up and ASA-ff, and hosted by the Professorship of Sociological Theory at the Chemnitz University of Technology.