Drawing of planets on a window

REstART Festival

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) organised the online REstART Festival (30 November - 5 December 2020) bringing together arts, research and practice with the aim of offering a forum to discuss justice, solidarity and repair in today’s societies. 

What is REstART?

REstART is a festival that aims at creating a collective reflection on justice, solidarity and repair in today’s Europe in the aftermath of personal and societal trauma, conflict, and harm. The Festival is firmly anchored in the values and methods of restorative justice which aim at connecting people and restoring just relations. Attention will be given to restorative justice responses to societal level conflicts originated and violence escalated during crisis situations, with the aim of giving a voice to the suffering and harm experienced in this period and to “restart” to connect with people.
To encourage reflections and animate the debate, the EFRJ invited artists, activists and restorative justice professionals to propose a performance or exhibition that reflected the concept of the festival and aimed to create a reflection on the themes proposed.

All the artworks were available throughout the entire week of the REstART Festival (30 November - 5 December 2020). The  live talks, scheduled throughout the week, have been recorded: these are available with private links on our Vimeo channel, but you can view them directly on each contributor's webpage. We are happy to put you in touch with the artists if you wish to view some of the artworks (contact Emanuela Biffi). Scroll down to view the opening and closing remarks of the REstART Festival.

The Opening of the REstART Festival

Programme highlights

REstART is centered around three key topics: Justice, Solidarity, and Repair.

The REstART Festival included photo exhibitions, films, books, games, music, pre-recorded presentations, and workshops, all meant to appreciate innovative participatory ways to respond to conflict and harms through restorative lenses. The artworks have been accessible on each contributor's webpage in the EFRJ website between 30 November and 5 December. The virtual encounters with the artists (on Zoom) have been recorded and are accessible via the contributor's page. The embedded videos will direct you to our Vimeo channel.

  • Book on the meaning of justice and punishment
  • Interactive documentary “Inside the distance”
  • Film screening “The Meeting”
  • Film screening “A conversation”
  • JustUs: Stories from the Frontlines of the Criminal Justice System
  • The making of the theatre play “La mirada del otro”
  • Reading of the theatre play "Stronger"
  • (Un) Wrapping Solidarity: the potential for making and gifting within restorative justice
  • Photos and film by the Parents Circle
  • Self-portraits: prisoners' testimonials and art books
  • Photo exhibitions by prisoners and students in Sardinia
  • Reimagining Justice: a restorative justice art contest
  • Board game: Journey to discover the other
  • Art projects with prisoners, victims and other citizens
  • Film on the wounds and restorative future of Sardinia
  • Piano concert: Beethoven and restorative justice
  • Links between bookbinding and restorative justice
  • Film screening “The Worst Thing - To Germany, With Love”
  • Art therapy and restorative justice
  • Art projects on restorative environmental justice

The Closing of the REstART Festival

REstART Festival poster

Why REstART? Why now?

The year 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ). As the organisation has been in contact and often in collaboration with a number of artists exploring and reflecting on restorative justice, the concept of the REstART Festival emerged as a pertinent form to celebrate this anniversary and facilitate the debate of innovative justice approaches. However, 2020 has also proven to be an extraordinary year with the unfolding crisis around the Covid-19 pandemic and its multiple consequences in our societies. As restorative justice focuses on the reparation of harm, the REstART Festival aims to offer a platform to account the harm our societies are experiencing in this crisis and to explore ways of reparation, through the key values of restorative justice: human dignity, solidarity, truth and responsibility to encourage a dialogue over a “restart” of our communities and the way we live in the world.

The poster of the Festival is based on a window image in Leuven (Belgium) by Lisa Van Der Auwera. During the lockdown in Spring 2020, many residents of Leuven expressed themselves through drawing and writing messages on their windows. 

window drawing

Where was REstART?

The REstART Festival took place online, given the sanitary crisis we experienced in 2020. Originally, we had planned the Festival in the city of Leuven (Flanders, Belgium). Internationally, Leuven is known for its contributions to the development of research and practice in the field of restorative justice and for building social support for the use of restorative approaches in criminal justice and in the overall society. The EFRJ with local partners as KU Leuven’s Institute of Criminology (LINC) and Leuven Restorative City project (LRC) makes Leuven the symbolic town for restorative justice, offering a fertile soil for today’s endeavours and ongoing projects about nonviolent responses to crime and conflict.

The Leuven municipality had offered the venue for this Festival, i.e. the Leuven Public Library in Rijschoolstraat 4. We are thankful for this, even if the new covid-19 measures will not permit us to gather together this December!

All artworks presented were available only for the week of the REstART Festival (30 November - 5 December 2020). Any recording, copying, or broadcasting of the artworks is prohibited. The EFRJ is not responsible for any non-observance of this agreement made with the artists. If you wish to use some of the artworks, please get in touch directly with the artists (or contact us, and we will put you in touch!). The live talks have been video recorded, and, if agreed with the artists, published on our Vimeo channel.

REstART week - scheduled virtual talks with some of the artists

Mon 30/11 Tue 1/12 Wed 2/12 Thu 3/12 Fri 4/12 Sat 5/12
10h: Launch of REsTART online 14-15h: Talk with Varona, Aldington and Liebmann (Zoom) 12-13h: Talk on "A conversation" with McDonald, Risøy and Foss (Zoom) 10-13h: Workshop comic strips with Liebmann (Zoom)  14-15h: Talk with Cruz Correia (Zoom)  
  16-17.30: Board game "Journey to discover the other" (Zoom) 16-17h: Talk with Mannozzi and Bordin on music and RJ (Zoom) 16-17h: Talk on JustUs with Motus theatre (Zoom) 16-17h: Talk on "La mirada de l'otro" with San Miguel (Zoom) 16-17h: Talk with the winners of the art contest (Zoom)
19.30-20h: Opening ceremony (Zoom) 18-19h: Talk with Daniel (Zoom)       18.00-19.00h: REstARTISTS' common discussion (Zoom)
20-21h: Book presentation with Vermeersch (Zoom)   20.30-21.30h: Talk on "The meeting" with Griffith, Keenan and Gilsenan (Zoom) 20.30-21.30h: Talk on "The worse thing" with Pequeño, Almoradie and Zupke (Zoom) 20.30-21.30h: Talk on "One day after peace" with Damelin (Zoom) 19-19.30h: Closing ceremony + toasting + invitation to 8/12 (Zoom)

Thanks to our supporters!

The REstART Festival was supported by the Justice Programme of the European Union and the city of Leuven. We are grateful for the generosity of our audience. We have received 1800 € in donations by 3 patrons, 7 donors, 14 advocates, and 40 supporters of the festival contributing in this way to cover some of the artists' fees and the online platform we used during the week. The REstART patrons are: Restorative Justice Services (Ireland) , B.P. - Beautiful Person (Belgium) and M.A. (Belgium). The REstART donors are: C.P. (Austria), I.A. (Belgium), A.B. (Belgium), R.W. (Belgium), S.L. (Germany), C.M. (Italy), T.C. (UK). And thanks to the many more REstART advocates and supporters!

Thanks to our team!

REstART is the result of a great team work between 66 people, including artists, activists, restorative practitioners, moderators, special guests and the EFRJ staff. Active behind the scenes of REstART, you find Emanuela Biffi (event's programme and coordination), Bálint Juhász (communications & video editing), Julia Barjau (website), Rik Defrère (finances), and Hanga Hasznos (photo exhibitions on Prezi), supported by the rest of the team in different other ways! Special thanks to Brunilda Pali and Edit Törzs for assisting in the making of the REstART concept and call for funding and to Lisa Van Der Auwera for the image of the REstART poster. 

Questions or remarks? Contact us!