History tells us that in order to shift our political economy we must shift the culture that underpins it. Before progressive social changes are concretized into laws and institutions, public opinions shift through exposure to new stories that expand our ability to act more empathically toward ourselves, others, and the world around us.
These new ways of thinking and being circulate through society via art and culture. Our current extractive economy relies on outdated cultural myths (e.g. scarcity, competition, etc.) to survive. To usher in a new economy, we must engage the public in changing these limiting narratives.
Artists and cultural workers, when engaged as vehicles for social change, can do just that by tapping into the transformative power of human connection. Art and creative cultural interventions animate democratic processes, create space for transformative dialogue, and allow us to propose and rehearse new realities. Together, session leaders and participants alike will share thoughts and experiences on how art and culture can act as catalysts for the creation of the new economy, and how local economies can better support change-minded artists and cultural workers.
In compiling this track, we are looking for proposals from community-based or socially-engaged artists of all genres and mediums, independent media makers, creative thinkers, cultural workers, representatives of community-based arts organizations, and arts and culture-oriented policy makers that break down frameworks, strategies and tactics for shifting culture. Those advocating for policies to advance cultural democracy at the municipal, state, or federal level are highly encouraged to apply.
Sessions should be widely accessible, and engage in hands-on explorations of creative activism and direct action; reflect on how cultural strategies have shifted political realities; investigate the role of independent media; and explore the transformative power of various types of storytelling, such as afro futurism, theatre, solutions journalism and social practice.
Successful proposals will further aim to:
BUILD COMMUNITY among socially engaged artists, media-makers, culture makers, creative organizers, and all interested in utilizing the transformative power of arts and culture in the work toward liberation.
FOSTER new relationships based on shared vision and needs.
CULTIVATE a network of artists, storytellers and creatives engaged in social justice
IDENTIFY tangible models for collaboration with a broad cross-section of change makers (e.g. artists, culture makers, creative pedagogists, new economy organizers, etc.)
DEVELOP a deeper understanding of the culturescape: the landscape of socially engaged arts & culture work
MAP and UNCOVER shared needs at the intersection of art & social change
CONVEY the theory of counter hegemonic cultural shift vis a vis Gramsci, Stuart Hall, CLR James and other cultural studies theorists etc.
SHARE tools and skills around the incorporation of arts and culture in movement organizing and radical community building
CATALYZE tangible ideas for cultural strategies, for social movements and social transformation
ENGAGE participants in experimental culture shifting experiences in real time at Commonbound
Some examples of the types of sessions we’re looking for include (but aren’t limited to!):
- Muralists sharing their process and community-based practice
- Engaged performance/theatre artists sharing/displaying how embodied practices are transformative for communities
- Teaching, in an engaging and accessible way, the theory behind counter-hegemonic culture shifting
- Sharing, through story, case studies of successful arts and culture interventions
- Facilitating relationship building and needs mapping among participants
- By example, teaching participants how to use creative, critical pedagogy for popular education
- Sharing best practices of radical party production
We are prioritizing frontline communities in proposal selection. For more information, contact jax [at] resist.org.
- Aisha Shillingford, Intelligent Mischief
- Terry Marshall, Intelligent Mischief
- Jax Gil, Resist