Creative power for social issues

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Art is A Guaranty and Cultuur+Ondernemen organized a number of Artist Meetings late last year a number of Artist Meetings. They discussed strengthening the independent position of visual artists. Together with experts, artists examined how they can strengthen and expand their independent social and economic position. In this and future editions of BK-information, we always give a short account of one of the reports that Cultuur+Ondernemen made of the meetings. We start with a topic that ties in well with our podcast series "What's that doing here?".


Here's how to harness your creative power for social issues

In art school, you learn to embrace failure, allow chance or embark on a quest when you have no idea what you are looking for. The way artists think proves valuable in addressing social issues.

Tabo Goudswaard is an artist, researcher and social designer. Together with Jetske van Oosten, he wrote the book Making Power, in which he shows how you can tackle problems in five steps as a maker, initiating lasting change. These are welcome insights, as more and more artists shift their field of activity from the museum space to social reality. At the same time, there is a growing awareness in society that artists' repertoire can make a valuable contribution when working on complex problems such as environmental pollution, climate change or inequality. Creative professionals can initiate change in surprising ways.

There is a growing awareness in society that artists' repertoire can make a valuable contribution

But how do you use your power as an artist to contribute to change? Goudswaard distinguishes five phases within that process: agenda setting, research, proposal, testing and anchoring. In each phase, artists can play a specific role. It is good to realize that: all systems are made, and therefore can be changed; you yourself are the system; everyone can be a creator; you do not create a solution; you are the creator.ëert but change; and that you have to be in love with the issue.

The meeting will include some more tips that will be helpful in working toward change:

  • Find language in which you can clearly express the added value of your perspective on social question pieces
  • Make room for change
  • Remember that projects can play multiple roles simultaneously
  • Focus on the process and not the result (even towards clients)
  • Make your process emitable: include people in what you do
  • Don't just surround yourself with people who have the same opinion on the issue
  • Make ownership as broad as possible
  • Get people with mandate on your team
  • Remain autonomous and critical

The entire text can be found on the Culture+Enterprise website

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