Among her in the classroom an FBI agent, a few teachers and an Indian police officer are sitting. But no artists have ever entered this room. And nor have any Danish people. Stine Marie Jacobsen is the first person of her kind to attend the Rotary Peace Fellowship education in Bangkok.
Stine Marie Jacobsen is a Danish artist that now lives in Berlin in Germany. She started painting when she was 16 years old and stopped again at 26 because she felt she had learned what there was to learn. Since then she has tried out a lot of different kinds of art, but has now ended in the political field.
Two months ago, in June 2016, Stine decided to move all the way across the globe. During the past two months she has been studying peacebuilding and conflict resolution at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Chulalongkorn University in the centre of Bangkok.
It was just a normal day for Stine when she received the email from the Rotary. She was in her home in Berlin when she checked her inbox that day. But it was not just the regular emails she found there. Among them was also an invitation to start an education in peacebuilding and conflict resolution in Bangkok. She had just gotten another invitation to move to New York, which she eventually had to turn down. Her friend told her; ‘do what no one else does.’ And on that note Stine packed her bags and went to study at the centre in the capital of Thailand.
“I was like: Where am I going? What am I doing?” Stine says with a big smile on her face and explains how she felt exultant and told all her friends about her upcoming adventure.
“You can always come back to Denmark or Berlin, but how often do you get the chance to study peacebuilding and conflict resolution on the other side of the planet?” she says.
The Rotary Peace Fellowship is a form of professionalization. The students have been admitted to the course because the Rotary foundation already thought that they were doing something for peace and conflict resolution in the world.
Stine Marie Jacobsen thinks that art can be used as a healing and conflict resolving tool and as a response to negative stories because it is more complex. Therefore, she has decided to make political art that at the same time is educational. Since 2012 she has been making an educational programme called ‘Direct Approach’. It is a project based on conversations about violence in film and reality. These conversations are then exhibited in interviews, film posters and video. With the use of film as a conversational tool, Stine, along with a Danish language psychologist, created ‘Direct Approach’ to engage people from different public spaces and institutions in dialogues about violence, taboos and ethics. The participants are told to reflect upon violence they have seen in films and how the violence reflects society today. By systematically and carefully investigating these themes, the participants then position themselves within the landscapes of ethics, morality, injustice, occupation and desire.
Stine’s goal is to get the ‘Direct Approach’-model out to schools, lawyers, social workers and refugees for it to become a genuine form of education about our society.
When she is home in Berlin she also works with young refugees. That started as an art project called ‘German for newcomers’ where the newcomers teach each other German and out of that Stine makes a dictionary for other people to use. But it turned out to be more than an art project. While Stine makes her art, the newcomers become better German speakers while they get integrated in the German society by meeting and engaging with other people.
Stine is certain that the Rotary Peace Fellowship will help her in her political work. She already has a foot inside the art world, and now she wants one in the political world as well. Her hope is that this fellowship will help her become more professional in her work. She experiences that she can be a little abstract in her language, and this fellowship has helped her translating herself so she can reach out to more people. By that she hopes to become better at negotiating more collaborations between the art scene and organisations in the hope of spreading her political education around the world.