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Higher education
ICON is working to bring about curriculum change at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), by strengthening its capacity for transformation at different levels:

The Director of ICON, Crispin Hemson, is heading a Transformation Task Team at DUT, and is through this position encouraging debate on issues of transformation. The Task Team is supporting management in its work on this issue. ICON has proposed a comprehensive response that will enable DUT and other higher education institutions to respond more effectively to the forms of discrimination identified in the recent Report of the Ministerial Committee on Transformation and Social Cohesion and the Elimination of Discrimination in Public Higher Education Institutions.

In addition, he is currently working on a research project on inclusion and exclusion of academic staff. This project aims to explore the ways in which academic staff are not yet equitably and fully included in the life of the university, and to propose ways of promoting inclusion, in particular of African staff and of women.

Other work related to DUT includes developing a module on social issues and nonviolence, in collaboration with other units at the university. ICON will also be working with faculties to explore ways of bringing issues of peace and nonviolence into the curriculum.

ICON is also developing a research hub, of scholars whose work focuses on issues of conflict, violence, peace and human development. This includes the ICON/NRF seminar series that presents the work of both established and developing researchers on campuses of DUT.

ICON has worked with interns on projects in these three areas, to contribute to its effectiveness, as well as to develop a critical mass of young people who understand the issues of peace and nonviolence, and who develop both commitment and skills in this area.

 



Community education
ICON works directly with community groups to fight racism, xenophobia and other forms of exclusion, through training and access to information. It is negotiating a programme of conflict resolution for councillors and ward committees in the eThekwini Metro.
   


School education
ICON will encourage research into issues of violence at schools, and foster initiatives to address violence and resolve conflict. ICON will provide a research and information base for those who aim to address violence of all kinds in schools.
Leadership for Safe Schools workshop tackles violence

The first ICON workshop addressing violence with school students took place from 23-25 September, and plunged directly into the many ways young people have been exposed to violence.  The residential workshop, at Highover near Richmond, was attended by 29 students who are leaders in their schools, with seven facilitators led by Crispin Hemson, Acting Director of ICON. 
“We put considerable emphasis on getting the students to volunteer and reach agreement on guidelines that we would follow in the workshop, and this led to immediate openness about violent situations that participants had been in, such as sexual violence, domestic violence and racist exclusion.  While some of these events were shocking, it developed a sense of mutual support that is essential if we are to confront the violence in our lives,” he said.
The workshop used co-counselling, young people counselling each other, as a method for providing that support, and this was enthusiastically received.  Dramas developed by the participants depicted violence within school settings, and these were often powerful while not simplistic.  For example, one clearly showed how a school bully was himself subject to an abusive father, while the boy who was bullied stabbed one of his tormentors.
One of the major learnings that the students reported was the way in which victims can so easily become perpetrators.  One of the younger girls said, “Do not let the anger inside you control you, because it may make you do something that is not right.”  Another was the realisation of how gender becomes caught up in violence – an issue that was confronted when some boys said that they could only be counselled by girls.  “The idea that the work of women is providing emotional support to men has to be challenged.  If men can listen well to both men and women it would undermine one of the drivers of violence in our society,” Crispin Hemson said.

An immediate outcome of the workshop was that some participants asked for a follow-up series of meetings in which they would use counselling to address these issues further.  The workshop will inform the development by ICON of further interventions at school level.
dancers
group work
Photo: One of the group discussions
counselling
Photo: A pair counselling
tense
Photo: Tense moment in a drama


Knowledge and resource centre
ICON is building up an electronic database of material related to peace and nonviolence. This is related to ICON’s own research activities, that are undertaken in collaboration with staff and students from various faculties.
   

ICON is using on our website and in research presentations images of young people from our workshop. This raises issues about ethics. The use of these images is guided by these principles:

  • Prior written permission by the young people and parents or guardians
  • Discussion with the young people concerned as to the implications of the use of these images, and both advantages and disadvantages.
  • Their view has been that the images provide evidence of their involvement in working for nonviolence, and they want a public record of that involvement.
  • That permission does not extend beyond what they consider to be ‘positive’ use of the images, and so use of these images beyond the existing use on the website and in research presentations will be checked with those portrayed.

 

International Centre of Nonviolence (ICON)
Box 51159, Musgrave, Durban, 4062
Tel: 031 373 5499
Fax: 031 373 5819
Email: icon@dut.ac.za