Arts for Social Change
This course is expected to run but has not yet been scheduled.
Artists can wield powerful tools for social change. For example, performance/web artists The Yes Men use impersonations and subversive humor to draw attention to criminal greed; French photographer/street artist JR pasted up giant portraits of residents of the poorest neighborhoods in Paris and Rio de Janeiro to help tell their stories; and Palestine’s Freedom Theatre work with the children of Jenin Refugee Camp in the West Bank to enrich their lives, and develop their skills, through performing arts.
In this course, we will look at numerous examples of how art and activism have intersected in the past century, in a broad range of artistic mediums. We will look at images, videos and websites, and listen to music. We will also visit with local arts groups who work with underserved populations, and whose activism takes the form of community engagement and education. At least two workshops with the students will be conducted by outside artists.
Students will discuss social issues of interest, and brainstorm about ways they may be addressed through various art forms and media. They will undertake writing and theater exercises, and music, video and art projects, to develop artworks and short performance pieces inspired by material covered in the course. At the end of the two weeks, we will have an informal showing of these on campus.
There is no prerequisite for the course, nor proficiency in any art form required. Students should come prepared to explore creative methods of communication, articulation and problem solving for positive social change. By the end of this course, students will have a background of knowledge about many ways in which art and activism can combine, and will have the experience of putting together a final project on a specific topic of interest.