Resource Highlight | Toward Training: The Meanings and Practices of Social Change Work in the Arts

Toward Training: The Meanings and Practices of Social Change Work in the Arts
Judith Marcuse and Yael Harlap | International Centre of Art for Social Change | British Columbia | 2006

“This study is motivated by Canadian choreographer and producer Judith Marcuse’s desire to develop opportunities for artists to learn to put their arts practice toward making meaningful change in society. Increasingly, practitioners working in the domain of arts and social change, usually artists who engage in art making in collaboration with communities, have noted the need for solid training as the field expands.

Partnerships between communities and artists—never forgetting that artists are members of communities—are delicate. Collaborative relationships can fail. Conflicts can arise. Projects can fall apart. Community engagement in the arts can reveal rifts that were hidden from view. Marginalized communities, often the sites for arts and social change work, have a history of being manipulated as pawns in political games that do not benefit them.
The potential for damage is great, and this means that artists need to be, at the least, informed, ethical, critical, and reflective.”

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