Art & Social Change

Overview

Many artists today are deeply committed to creating work that addresses pressing social issues and changes the way we perceive the world. While some artists use traditional forms of art to make work that comments on, responds to, or advocates for the need for change, others are exploring new forms of “social practice” that engages communities in an interactive exchange. For example, an artwork might take the form of a store, a garden, a meal, a website, a street performance, a story exchange, or an urban planning project. Socially engaged art can ignite outrage and demands for change, and/or provide a platform for reflection, collaboration, and building community. Art expressions can focus on the residents of a single city block, or reach out to a global audience.

The Challenge

The challenge for this track is to develop an innovative art project that meaningfully engages with issues of advocacy, justice, and community-building. The initiative may use any art form — visual/ conceptual art, photography, new media, video, dance, theater/performance art, music, creative writing, or other forms. Art must be central to the project, and the proposal must reflect an informed understanding of the particular art form(s) being used, as well as of the communities being served.

Past Winners and Examples

Examples of proposals that would fit into this track include (but are not limited to):

  • An after school expressive arts program that aims to provide a safe space and creative outlet to elementary school students who live in under-resourced communities.
  • A documentary that raises awareness about public health consequences, detrimental social impact, and cost of imprisonment.
  • DA community garden that seeks to build community relationships in diverse neighborhoods.
2019 1st Place - Kaloum Bankhi
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2018 1st Place - Artists in Residents
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2019 2nd Place - Dance for All Bodies
2018 2nd Place - Last Night
2019 3rd Place - Crimmigration
2016 3rd - Project Kour

Kaloum Bankhi (Home of Kaloum): A Migration of Architecture

Team Members:

Matt Turlock, Carmen Durrer, Matt Fairris, Aboubacar Komara

School:

UC Berkeley

Kaloum Bankhi is “process-focused” and not “product focused”. The mission is to ensure every resident in Kaloum, Guinea lives in a durable home, and the approach is multidisciplinary in establishing a self-sustaining local supply chain. In order to realize this goal, the project takes a multi-faceted approach, innovating the physical design, the financial mechanism, and social systems. This house model is designed to be built in stages instead of all at once. This enables residents to remain in their own home during a progressive transformation at the householder’s pace and cash-flow. Guinean culture is celebrated with this alternative housing solution that is built by a community, for a community. Architecture becomes art, bringing social change to the canvas of Kaloum. The project envisions that the knowledge invested in the community will grow beyond the slums – an architectural migration providing durable homes for all of Kaloum.

Artists in Residents

Team Members:

Monica Schreiber, Kyle Gibson, Rasika Sudarshan, Krupa Modi, Allie Yip

School:

UC Berkeley

Based out of The Suitcase Clinic, Artists in Residents provides a meaningful and enriching artistic outlet to Berkeley’s homeless residents, allowing participants the opportunity to grow through their art and gain compensation for their work. Through public events that showcase the artistic side of this underrepresented community, Artists in Residents will facilitate a more complex understanding of homelessness throughout the Berkeley community.

Dance for All Bodies

Team Members:

Yagmur Halezeroglu, Tess Hanson

School:

UC Berkeley

Dance has been shown to be very impactful on individuals and the community at the emotional, cognitive and physical level. However, there aren’t many inclusive dance classes for people with limb differences (PWLD). Dance for All Bodies (DfAB) addresses this gap through organizing monthly adaptive (interpretive, adapted to their own physical abilities) dance classes for people with limb differences in the Bay Area. Through these classes DfAB aims to create an inclusive and non-judgmental space for PWLD to dance, express themselves, and find community in shared experience. DfAB takes charge of finding an accessible dance space and scheduling teachers who have experience and interest in teaching adaptive dance classes. These classes will be made accessible through outreach and partnerships with disability organizations, hospitals and dance companies in the Bay Area.

Last Night

Team Members:

Simon Boas

School:

UC Santa Cruz

Last Night is a workshop and fully developed card game that opens up a space for conversations among college-aged players about how to discern when a sexual situation may not be clearly consensual. The emotional and educational impact of Last Night hinges on shifting the perspective in a story that players help write. Competitive gameplay traditions encourage players to collect cards that construct a narrative about a date they hope was successful, but players learn in a post-play epilogue that their date may have seen their actions differently–sometimes as disrespectful or even hurtful. Last Night and its accompanying workshop form a creative tool to inspire conversations about consent and respectful dating behavior.

Crimmigration

Team Members:

JoeBill Muñoz

School:

UC Berkeley

In the summer of 2018, the merger between migration and criminal law reached a boiling point when the United States concluded that a logical solution to deterring migrants from entering the country illegally was to separate migrant parents from their children. The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy received international scrutiny for its inhumanity. Through personal narratives, witness testimonies and expert interviews, this documentary series will trace this policy backwards over the last century, looking at the laws, movements, and wars that birthed it. How did we get to this point? How can we change it? What the Netflix documentary, 13th, is to the prison industrial complex, this series will be to crimmigration law. In the end, you’ll never think about immigration the same again.

Project Kour

Team Members:

Linda Toch

School:

UC Santa Barbara

50% of Cambodian American refugees meet criteria for depression, yet only 9% who receive any form of treatment receive therapeutic care. Cambodian American refugees have faced social isolation and mental health issues for over twenty years since resettling. Project គូរ (Kour) connects elderly Cambodian American refugees with culturally related art activities as a means of combating trauma. Sessions take place over the course of twelve weeks, where participants will receive social support, community bonding, and a platform to tell their stories. Each session culminates with an art showcase, inviting the Khmer American community to relate to a shared history via personal narratives. This showcase acts as a fundraiser to promote and finance other mental health interventions for the refugee community.