Fighting Corruption Creatively

The Center for Artistic Activism is working with Open Society Foundations on Regional Creative Hubs: a multi-year project that is changing anti-corruption activism in some of the most impacted regions in the world.

We are working with over 50 artists, activists and investigative journalists in West Africa and Western Balkans to combat corruption using creativity.

Artistic Activism as a Tool to Fight Corruption

Corruption has a dramatic impact on citizens’ daily lives in both the Western Balkans and West Africa. In both regions, civil society actors often fail to generate narratives that the general public can relate to – presenting anti-corruption information via technical reports and financial analysis, while seeking to mobilize advocacy campaigns through petitions, letters-to-the-editor, demonstrations, and other traditional methods. Enormous resources are invested in raising citizens’ awareness about the plague of corruption, but public action is still very limited. Now, a small group of creative actors is exploring new strategies for catalyzing public engagement on corruption. These passionate advocates are testing whether they can motivate broader public action on corruption with the intentional use of symbols, signs, and stories that resonate deeply in their own contexts. 

How does it work? The Anti-Corruption Regional Creative Hubs project creates a platform for artists, activists, and journalists to receive training, build regional networks, and experiment with creative activism tactics to provoke interest and broad public action against corruption. We are training local artistic activism trainers in each of the regions so that creative action skills will be distributed and shared locally.

When and where is it happening? The project began in 2019, and is currently slated to continue into 2021.  It is happening in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, Guinea, Macedonia, Senegal and Serbia.

Why do we think this will work? One of advantages of this methodology is that it is grounded in the unique political and cultural contexts where activists are seeking to generate both emotional affect and policy effect. Artistic activism is a practice aimed at generating AEffect: emotionally resonant experiences that lead to measurable shifts in power. Most importantly, it has potential to energize people and organizations and to stimulate a culture of creativity. 

Anti-corruption street action in Sarajevo, October 2019

Who are we working with?
We are partnering on this project with Open Society Initiative for West Africa, the Foundation Open Society Macedonia, Open Society Fund – Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Open Society Foundation – Serbia, and the Open Society Foundation for Albania, with support from other programs at Open Society Foundations. 

The Goals

The project was created to inspire more creativity and innovation in the fight against corruption and build a dynamic network of passionate and creative advocates.

To learn more about the Regional Creative Hubs project, contact us.

Artistic Activism Training Graduation, Goree Senegal, December 2019

This post was originally published on News – The Center for Artistic Activism.