The Theory and Practice of Social Transformation through the Arts (Being Human Today theme)

The world over and across time, the arts remain vitally important in fostering resilience and creating channels for reconciliation after conflict. This unique initiative blends South African, Kenyan, US American and Canadian scholarship, creative work and wisdom to explore how the arts are optimally used and the best ways to gauge progress and success. Informed by fieldwork in diverse sites including Kisumu, Kenya and Limpopo Province, South Africa, we will advance understandings of the role of arts in strengthening communities, smoothing fault lines and addressing inequities while offering ways to voice unspeakable truths and foster resilience. Two international research colloquia will be held at STIAS during the course of the project, bringing global experts—artists and scholars—on the arts and social transformation to STIAS.

This work will strengthen local and global capacities to build peace and address fallout from economic restructuring and social upheavals. Situating African experience at the heart of our collaboration, we will break new ground in methodology, evaluation and arts-based practice. Drawing on our experience and practices as scholars and artists, we will generate and disseminate knowledge in innovative and animated ways to intellectual and community audiences including the book Artful Change: How Creative Communities Transform.

Project leader(s):
  • Michelle LeBaron (University of British Columbia)
  • Visiting scholars: Kim Berman (Johannesburg), Cynthia Cohen (Brandeis), Kitche Magak (Maseno), Frank Meintjies (Independent consultant), Janis Sarra (British Columbia)

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