Q&A: What role do artists play in shaping social change?

Q&A: What role do artists play in shaping social change?

This month I received the following reader’s question, What do you think is the role of artists when it comes to social change?

Social media has given its users the power to write freely and to express personal thoughts and opinions. It opens the space for writers, journalists, bloggers, and poets to express themselves creatively and authentically and to get their audiences introduced to topics that matter to them.

I’m regularly fascinated by the incredible work so many men and women across the globe are doing in fields like philanthropy, business, or the arts. Strong voices that are of service to their communities and just need to be heard.

Through writing, I want to embrace those incredible men and women, start conversations and find the right way to bring their work and those issues to a larger public.

Every culture has areas of vast silence – topics that we don’t like to talk about. The most interesting thing for an artist is to pick through the debris of a culture, to look at what’s been forgotten or not really taken seriously. It’s the artist’s job to reflect the times we’re living in, and conversations about taboos can be of incredible value since it can remove shame.

However, I genuinely appreciate art from all kinds of topics — art doesn’t have to be expressed activism for me. Sometimes art is more interesting when it’s open enough to develop my own dialogue with it. Poor Thingsfor example, is a wonderful absurdistic comedy novel. Hilarious, while at the same time it has serious undertones and very subtile ways of pointing out power dynamics. Either way, it’s all good for me.

Therefore, compelling and engaging art can visualize those stories and bring them to life. In many ways, I think artists, if they want to, have the powerful ability to connect their generation with causes that will both be meaningful and accelerate progress at the same time.

Thank you for reading. This reader’s question is part of the Ask Me Anything series. Feedback from you, the reader, is important to me. Want to ask me a question for next month? Send me yours team@lisanneswart.com

Here is a list of the last 3 readers’ questions I’ve answered:

» Explore more answers to readers’ questions


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