Joshka Wessels: Sustainable Sudan and ArcGIS story maps; graffiti and environmentalism for the future

Welcome to a K3 seminar with Joshka Wessels, Senior Lecturer in Communication for Development, K3

The title of the seminar is Sustainable Sudan and ArcGIS story maps; graffiti and environmentalism for the future.

This will be an online seminar, carried out through Zoom, and it will take place on Wednesday, May 12 at 10.15-12.00. Please join here:

Below is an abstract for the seminar.

This seminar will discuss work in progress of a Field Grant that Joshka received from the French Institute in Khartoum, Sudan (CEDEJ) and is related to two main thematic research areas 1) the study of social movements and 2) the ongoing political, economic and social configurations. Just when the world was convinced that the Arab uprisings of 2010/2011 were dead, the year 2019 experienced new and renewed, and surprisingly successful, mass protests in the MENA region. The 2019 revolt in Sudan is seemingly the most successful uprising in the Arab world until date from this second wave of protests. The Sudanese revolution of 2019 brought together a nationwide group of Sudanese youth who want change in their country. Based on ongoing research in Sudan, the seminar reflects on the various components of Sudan’s revolution which ousted its dictator Omar Al Bashir after decades of authoritarian rule. In the words of its own revolutionaries this is thanks to a strong commitment to non-violent values, a vibrant artistic public sphere on the streets and its connection to online digital dissidence. To give a broader perspective on the ongoing social movements in Sudan, this study explores the role of young environmental activists in the Sudanese Revolution more in-depth. In particular, the study of the Sudanese environmental movement and its relations with the Sudanese Revolution of 2019 and the ongoing transformations at political and social levels aimed at sustainable development.

Since the establishment of the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of Khartoum as early as 1977, Sudan has known a growing body of environmentalists who have been active in Sudan. In the revolution of 2019, a younger generation of educated environmentalists, both academics and activists, took the opportunity to make their voices heard. These visions for change can be seen and observed in the large body and collections of graffiti art and mural paintings throughout the public space in the city of Khartoum. Some of these murals give a clear picture of how the revolutionaries see and envision the Sudan they want to build (‘Hanabniho’ = ‘we will build’). The Hanabniho Youth Initiative (مبادرة حنبنيهو الشبابية) is one of those groups who emerged during the Sudanese Revolution with the aim to clean, rehabilitate the common areas and take care of the environment. Through extensive photographic documentation of revolutionary graffiti street art, ArcGIS storymaps and interviewing young revolutionaries and environmentalists in combination with organizing collaborative visioning workshops, this study documents past and future visions of Sudan’s revolutionary youth. Environmentalist communities and Sudanese revolutionary youths will be given the prospect to develop feasible Sustainable Future Youth Plans together that can be practically implemented in the short and long term.

Keywords: Urban Street Art, Graffiti, Communication for Change, MENA region, Arab Revolts, Sudan.

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