The Art of Change; Media and Arts Advocacy for Social Change
The Art of Change will focus on three specific levels of activity. The first is a training program where participants receive art training in theatre and digital storytelling. The second activity is hub-creation, the process of gathering community content together for greater impact in the arenas of communication, leadership, and advocacy. The third activity (and long term goal) is to build a movement to influence media and communications policy at the national and local levels.
GOALS OF THE PROJECT
Pilot Phase: The first goal is the development of a training program where participants receive art fundamentals. Art education is basic to an individual’s perception and understanding of the world in which they live. This art component will enable each participant to develop positive attitudes toward self, others and the environment through creative experiences.
In the tremendous oral traditions of many world cultures, there is recognition of storymaking and telling that is synonymous with the value of life itself. Story is learning, celebrating, healing, and remembering. Each part of the life process necessitates it. Failure to make story threatens the consciousness of communal identity. Honoring a life event with the sacrament of story is a profound spiritual value for many cultures. It enriches the individual’s emotional and cultural development. We are made of stories. Participants that share their stories have the potential to feel a metamorphosis; a changing that makes them feel different about their lives and their identities.
These experiential learning activities (creating small theatre pieces and individual documentary pieces) also help participants go beyond the intellectual; IWP’s method of learning incorporates a holistic model in which participants use head, heart, hands, and spirit in the learning process. Learning the ideas of peace and justice while at the same time practicing what one is working towards, requires the training of the mind to build awareness; awareness helps us to be mindful of how we act, talk and think so that we are in harmony with what we want to change or promote.
Part Two: The second activity (2010-12) is hub-creation, the process of gathering community content together for greater impact and to serve the communities of the participants and the local organizations they work with. Working on the systems level, this is a process of consciously creating a network or web, a multi-armed dynamic system that can be an ever-expanding resource.
This second-phase will promote sustainability and transformation at the personal, community and societal levels. The goal is to work systematically and strategically with grassroots groups over a sustained period of time, practicing a partnership culture that has art and spirituality as a core foundation of social activism.
These trainings will enhance the communication capacities of participating organizations, especially in the areas of video and audio production, and performance based advocacy. Workshops will offer a multi-platform approach to the creation of socially relevant media. Initial trainings will take place at locations in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and Pattaya.
Ultimately the goal of this program is to empower people from underrepresented communities by helping them to tell their stories and giving them the tools they need to make their voices heard in their personal struggles for peace and justice.