What do Interarts’ partners think about arts?
What’s the power of music, literature, cinema, painting, dance, photography, theatre, sculpture and street art when it comes to social inclusion?
Is there enough room for arts to make a difference nowadays?
Some reflections and food for thoughts have been collected and posted here below.
Music is universal. A means of communication beyond language. It is cultural exchange, social interaction, friendship, passion, life. Its quintessence is fusion, merging, synthesis, amalgamation, syncretism. As orchestrated sounds flow in the air to stimulate the human ear, they bring people together in mental journeys. Barriers fall and possibilities open. When it comes to social inclusion, music can bring together different groups and individuals without prerequisites. Class, race, gender or other barriers can be more easily overcome through the power of music. It is so common for musicians from diverse backgrounds to cooperate on a permanent or occasional basis that we hardly even notice nowadays. Spectators of musical events and activities unite audiences in ways other means cannot. Think of concerts, music festivals of foreign cultures, foreign music teachers teaching children. Even a few musical notes of a street musician can make us fantasise of a distant place, empathise, make us curious and open us up to new experiences.
Artists are visionaries. We routinely practice a form of faith, seeing clearly and moving toward a creative goal that shimmers in the distance—often visible to us, but invisible to those around us. The meaning of a painting is shaped by the intentions of the artist as well as the feelings and ideas it engenders in the viewer. Some purposes of art may be to express or communicate emotions and ideas, to explore and appreciate formal elements for their own sake, or to serve as representation. A painting is an act of expressing feelings, thoughts, and observations that are often intended to appeal to, and connect with, human emotion. People in need or difficulty to express themselves, through painting, as well with different kinds of art, can do it when they would not be able to do so via “traditional” communication channels. Inclusive art projects deliver a range of positive outcomes for both artists and audiences, from the wellbeing and health benefits of participating in culture-making, employment, and economic participation, to the creation of new aesthetics, comment on contemporary art practice and social critique.Embracing our differences is important. Creatives have always understood the power that diversity and inclusion bring not just to art, but the world and that sentiment will only continue to grow as the business world catches up. It’s important to focus on creating an inclusive workplace, recognizing the difference between feeling like you fit in with people and feeling like you belong it’s a major step.In an environment of belonging, we are valued for who we are and what makes us unique.Where, Fitting in is when we change ourselves to look, sound, or act like another person so that we are treated like we belong. When we create space to appreciate and benefit from our differences, we create a stronger, more resilient, more engaged, and more engaging workforce. It is our individual, team and organizational responsibility to ensure that we are respectful, inclusive, and equitable so that all have what they need to succeed.
Regardless of how digitalization nowadays is changing photography, it still remains one of the most effective ways to communicate across all barriers of culture, language, beliefs, time and experience.
It doesn’t matter too much if it’s a famous photograph of Sebastiao Salgado (UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador) or it is a photograph of someone who took a photo with their phone in their neighbourhood. What really matters is the impact and awareness they are making and raising and what it actually means. Those who do social photographs often turn their cameras toward struggling and neglected areas. What is really special about social photography is that it confronts the public, rather than inviting them to see an artwork, it shows an interesting problem, inequity and unfair policies to solve. While the world is probably facing digital image overload, we need to think about how we can focus more on the social context of the photography and encourage people to create work that engages with its viewers physically, physiologically and conceptually.
One of the good examples of raising awareness of photography impact in Karlovac is “Photo Youth Week”. Photo Youth Week is an international project of a local organization which was, at the time consisted of young photography youth enthusiasts. This project welcomed, every year, around 50 young people in Karlovac to learn about photography theory and how to put it in practice. They were thought by experts and they would participate in creating photos in three different categories (artistic, advertising and touristic photography). All the photographs were evaluated and the best
ones awarded. This project gave the opportunity to youth to learn about what they love to do and positively affected their different perspectives and points of view. The project was supported by the local municipality and community and must we say, the impact was greater than anyone expected.
Their photographs became the voice of their own social change.
Movement plays a fundamental role in every individual’s daily life, and the body is the seat of all the highest human faculties: physical, sensory, spiritual, cognitive and emotional. Dancing means going beyond the barriers of action, recognizing in each movement the meaning of human experience. Dance has the extraordinary capacity to take on different forms and meanings, to include spaces, times and bodies outside itself, embracing a territory of individual and collective growth. It allows us to listen to our bodies and to communicate; it is a powerful means for expressing our values, thoughts and aspirations about the lives we live and the world we live in.
Theatre is an excellent pedagogical tool for inclusion and communication with a group of people with diverse abilities and realities.
The main objective is to create a group conscience for young people that allows them to grow cognitively, emotionally, socially and personally, while promoting the development of different social and personal skills for a more effective development in a global and diverse world such as ours.
Art education has always been offering possibilities for inclusion for people with diverse abilities or with special educational needs, since, from the exploration of creativity and the expression of the subject, the discovery of learning abilities is possible. In processes like these, the conditions of aesthetic possibility that every human being possesses are taken as a reference; since it is through their body, through their perceptions and affections that they come to build the self-concept of their reality and their learning conditions.
Theatre is a pedagogical tool that, due to its characteristic of collaborative work, allows inclusion from diversity. Participants in every theatre workshop build on the variables of their environments and realities, allowing the creation of synergies in a classroom, workshop or in a common project.
Man cannot fail to communicate. To communicate with the world, we have formed through our beliefs and values, the language we use… And we communicate with people in different ways. Some through music, some through dance, some stand in silence, others write. Through writing, we tell stories that we can interpret in our own way. We know the written stories from the time of Oriental literature – the time when literature began to develop. Nowadays we also know different genres – prose, poetry, drama and semi-literary genres. Literature, like all kinds of art, is evolving. Among the newer genres is also the slam poetry, which, according to the genre of poetry, falls under Illyricum. A poetry slam is more a competition arts event, in which poets perform spoken word poetry before a live audience.
Think of our familiar urban environment without colour. Think of the vernacular being completely flat and homogenous. Cities and towns in the course of their development and expansion become more and more importunate and dull. Residents are increasingly been deprived of the public space and its free use. Street art comes to enrich the public landscape and communicate social and political messages to the passer-by. Street artists bear the extremely important message that everyone can be an artist with just a few resources and a need to express herself. Street art is for all as it is in public display. Not in the gallery, not in the museum. The signifier and the message are there for all of us in equality and inclusion. There is no exclusive use of the artwork. In that sense, street art is a revolutionary way of expression for those with fewer opportunities, the oppressed, and the invisible.
Among the seven noble arts, cinema is certainly the most accessible for young people. Since we were children, we all got used to seeing movies inspired by true stories and deeply linked to topics such as social exclusion, discrimination and diversity were shown. Those films moved and touched us. They made us feel empathy for the protagonists. Those films allowed us to develop a more or less accentuated sensitivity towards every-day situations, which we started looking with other eyes. Giving a young person the chance to get behind a camera means giving him or her the chance, at least for once, to put themselves in the shoes of a troupe creating the film. Any boy or girl can actually be a screenwriter and decide the story to tell. Then, as director, he or she’ll have to decide the angle and type of storytelling. Finally, he or she will have to choose the cast, calibrate the lights, take care of the sounds and mix together all the shots, bringing out the magic from those. Explaining in movie scenes what social exclusion is and which difficulties young people experience every day is tough. Through cinema, however, youngsters have the opportunity to transform a feeling, an idea, a complaint, into a product to be shown to an external audience. A product that, perhaps, will move, excite and turn new boys and girls into mature men and women.
When we think about diversity, we normally think about factors, such as age, race, or gender. However, we each have many layers of diversity which may include factors likeability, marital status, or profession, or disabilities. Our layers of diversity form a filter through which we view and experience the world, and through which others view and interact with us.
Discrimination has been forgotten, to those who may still think that a blind person can not go to the cinema, enjoy a painting or make it or perceive it. Shows its own limitations and not the person who has a physical disability. There are great examples all over the world, amazing efforts, that allow people with disabilities to enjoy a piece of art. Sculpture can be a form of art where different people with different disabilities and different backgrounds can enjoy a piece of art by smelling, touching, and listening to the different materials that that piece of sculpture was made of.
It is important that the world understands that adapting to those who have some kind of disability is necessary and it’s not that difficult. It’s important to be in their shoes and perceive the world as they perceive it, and find out ways for people with disabilities to get involved in art. When we create an environment of inclusion, in which we all feel like we belong and are valued for our unique perspectives and skills. Differences are considered opportunities for individual and organizational growth.
**All the pictures have been regularly downloaded from the website Freepik, on the basis of a Premium subscription. Licenses can be provided upon request.