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World Policy Journal is proud to share our revived weekly podcast, World Policy On Air, featuring former Newsweek On Air host David Alpern and West Wing Reports founder Paul Brandus. Click here to listen on Podbean, subscribe on iTunes, and access the archive!






In A Deluge of Consequences, the first World Policy e-book, intrepid journalist Jacques Leslie takes us along on a mythic, spell-binding trip to the bucolic kingdom of Bhutan, where the planet's next environmental disaster is set to unfold. 


Illuminating the Arts-Policy Nexus

Illuminating the Arts-Policy Nexus is a fortnightly series of articles on the role of art in public policymaking. This series invites WPI fellows and project leaders as well as external practitioners to contribute pieces on how artists lead policy change and how policymakers use creative strategies.

Retuning to Homs 

Documentary filmmaker Talal Derki discusses his latest film, "Return to Homs," and his work in depicting the humanity caught in the crossfire of the Syrian Civil War. Read More>



Ribeiro's New Social Sculpture

Armed with a new reform platform, Brazil's new education minister, Renato Janine Ribeiro, aspires to blur the lines between art, education, dialogue, and liberation. Brazilian artist Gian Spina traces the ancestry of Ribeiro's thinking from ancient Greece to the radical, democratic German arts scene of the 1960s. Read More>


New Approaches to the Art of Well-Being 

Art is a medium that can be deployed to address age-old problems plaguing policymakers. Take, for instance, a new artist-in-residency program at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn that is helping to address the stigma surrounding psychiatric wards and mental health issues. Read More> 


Dancing Under Fire

Male dancers in Iraq are often treated as criminals who are violating deeply rooted religious and social norms surrounding masculinity. But that hasn't stopped Baghdad-born 22-year-old Adil Qais Adil from following his dreams. Read More> 


Forced to Flee

Refugees are often forgotten casualties of war, whose struggles frequently go unnoticed during lulls in violent conflict. Artist Sidd Joag observes the power of visual storytelling in a new book of work by youth refugees, while reflecting on his own time spent near the conflict zone on the Sino-Burmese border. Read More>


Hydrotropism: Lessons from Ficus Elastica

São Paulo’s water crisis is raising critical debate around the universal right to water and the effect of growing populations on available resources. São Paulo-based artist Thiago Gonçalves reflects on what his city can learn about resource management from the highly adaptive Ficus elastica plant. Read More> 


Dengue Fever: A Different Kind of Rock Revival 

In the 1960s, Phnom Penh was the beating heart of rock and roll in Cambodia. Almost 40 years after Pol Pot's genocidal regime nearly silenced the music, the genre is making a comeback. World Policy Journal's Evan Gottesman talks to Ethan Holtzman of Dengue Fever, a Cambodian-American band intent on bringing the songs of this lost era to a new generation. Read More>


The "Depths:" Visual Culture in the Murder Capital of the World 

Thanks to the War on Drugs in the U.S., Honduras is a hub for political violence and organized crime. Though Sidd Joag of freeDimensional argues that, in addition to policy changes, artists will be critical to terminating the bloodshed in this Central American country.Read More>



Looking Back on Charlie Hebdo

The attack on Charlie Hebdo last month shocked Paris and the world, but even the most progressive outlets should hesitate to adopt the "Je Suis Charlie" tagline. Todd Lester, a World Policy fellow and co-director of freeDimensional, reflects on the nexus of free speech and social justice in light of the attack. Read More>


Celebrating Transition from Apartheid to Democracy

South Africa's highest court is distinguished by its evocative art collection. Former Constitutional Court Justices Edwin Cameron and Albie Sachs explain that the artwork is a reflection on both South Africa's tortured past and its current transition to a new constitutional order. Read More>


Pencil vs. Kalashnikov

After the brutal murder of "Charlie Hebdo" cartoonists this week, Damien Glez, a fellow cartoonist, reflects on the loss of these innocent lives. True to his form, he lets his images do most of the talking. Read More>



Adjacent Possibilities in Action

Climate change is a unique challenge that calls on society to invoke unprecedented imagination and ingenuity to address. Canadian artist Scott Baker discusses how Canada's leading artists and entrepreneurs have partnered to combat his country's looming environmental challenges. Read More>


Syrian Artists Persevere Through War

In a time plagued by war and devastation, the arts have become one way for Syrians to rebuild their lives and reaffirm their identities. Syria Deeply interviews two artists who have continued to hone their craft despite the chaos that surrounds them. Read More>


A Playwright's Journey to the Canadian Arctic

Despite its vibrant culture, Nunavut, in the Canadian Arctic, is struggling both economically and socially. Chantal Bilodeau's most recent theatrical production deals with the intersection of race, class, and climate change within this indigenous. Read More> 


Ebola Cartoons: Art in a Time of Crisis

A Liberian illustrator and an American writer are depicting the effects of Ebola through poignant illustrations. Ebola Deeply shares their story and several of their sketches. Read More>



Artist Roundtable (A.RT): Art and Politics

In order to bridge the growing gap between artists and policymakers, Musagetes organized the first Artist Roundtable (A.RT). Todd Lester explains the importance of bringing the two disparate groups together, in an effort to tackle some of the world's most pressing social and political issues. Read More>


A Mythology of Memory — Photo Essay

Berette Macaulay is a photographer and writer, whose most recent portfolio displays her multicultural heritage. She tells the story of her family's emigration from Sierra Leone to Jamaica and beyond, providing an inside look at the complexities of transnational migration. Read More>


Abiola Women: Agents of Change

In her new film, "The Supreme Price," Joanna Lipper showcases the strength of the Abiola women against the backdrop of Nigeria's sordid and often violent political history. Yaffa Fredrick explains the critical importance of a film that gives voice to a group of women historically silenced by their government. Read More>


Our Disappearing Future

On Sunday, September 21, artist duo Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese assembled an ice sculpture of "The Future" to coincide with the People's Climate March and the launch of the Clinton Global Initiative. Alyssa Stein speaks with Ligorano and Reese to discuss their hopes for what the installation would inspire across the globe. Read More>


Human Trafficking: The Sinai Phenomenon

Thousands of Eritrean refugees, en route to Israel, are kidnapped in the Sinai Desert every year. Israeli filmmaker and activist Keren Shayo documents their struggle in her latest film "Sound of Torture." Alyssa Stein interviews Shayo about her latest cinematic adventure and the kind of policy change she hopes it inspires. Read More>


Syrian Filmmakers Expose ISIS

“Our Terrible Country,” a documentary by Ziad Homsiand Mohammed Ali Atassi, tells the story of an imprisoned Syrian intellectual. Katarina Montgomery interviews general coordinator Christin Luettich about how filmmaking has helped expose the oppression of ISIS and the Syrian regime. Read More>


Iran's Underground Trade of U.S. Army Gear

Iranian artist Farideh Sakhaeifar is drawing attention to the illegal sales of U.S. military gear in her nation's capital. Her installation displays the malleable cultural significance of these items as they are exchanged between countries and people. Cleo Abramian reports. Read More>


Mexico: A View from Both Sides

For the last three years, photographer Encarni Pindado has been living in Mexico, documenting humanitarian issues with a particular focus on gender and migration. Asmara Pelupessy discusses Pindado's striking photographs of migratory dilemmas. Read More>

Analyzing the Art of Resistance

In a world increasingly driven by quantitative analysis, it can be difficult to assess the social, political, and cultural impact of art. Mary Ann DeVlieg argues that the artistic community, as well as societies around the world, should include alternative methods of analyzing art that include its success in championing social justice. Read More>

Street Art Illuminates Egypt's Lingering Problems

Since Egypt's 2011 uprising, street art in Cairo has boomed, decorating the city with social and political messaging. Sarah Lipkis analyzes two prominent Egyptian street artists, Adham Bakry and The Mozza, whose art addresses issues ranging from violence to gender inequality and corruption. Read More>


Art Challenges Homophobia in Vietnam

Vietnamese photographer Maika Elan is changing the way her country views LGBTQ rights. Her photographs profile homosexual couples doing ordinary things, challenging the existing fear and disdain many still have toward gay and lesbian people. Aliza Goldberg profiles Elan's groundbreaking arts advocacy. Read More>


WPJ Live: Film Screening & Salon #DayaniCristal

In recognition of World Refugee Day, World Policy Journal hosted a live Twitter chat during a screening and salon of the documentary, “Who is Dayani Cristal?," which follows the story of a migrant found dead under a cicada tree 20 minutes south of Tucson, Arizona. Check out the conversation here. Read More>

What Makes Us "Happy?"

Pharrell Williams's hit song "Happy" inspired citizens from close to 150 countries to create their own versions of the chart-topping sensation. The videos challenged stereotypes, spawned controversy, and even led to arrests. Adam Echelman uses this YouTube phenomenon to explore Westernization in the developing world. Read More>


Eurovision: How Politics Takes Center Stage

While the world music competition, Eurovision, was originally conceived as anapolitical event, it has become anarena for contemporary politicaldiscourse. Sarah Lipkis reportson how controversy over Crimeaand LGBTQ rights took center stage at Eurovision 2014. Read More>


Artists As Ambassadors of Cultural Diplomacy

The Battery Dance Company reveals the power of dance in uniting people across the globe. Artistic Director Jonathan Hollander debuts the Company's Cultural Diplomacy Toolkit, which seeks to increase cross-cultural dialogue through art. Read More>


Exporting Desperation: Free Trade in Mexico

NAFTA policies were initially put in place to bolster Mexico's economy. However, a recent documentary, "Who is Dayani Crystal," reveals otherwise. Lauryn Beer argues that restrictions imposed by NAFTA actually hinder the Mexican government from enacting true economic reform. Read More>


Where the "Terrorist" Sleeps

What does a terrorist look like? Edmund Clark, an award-winning photographer, sought to challenge the stereotypical image of the bearded Middle Eastern man plotting unimaginable crimes. Alex Hobbs reports. Read More>



U.S. Border Security: A Death Sentence? 

As security has tightened across the U.S.-Mexico border, the migrant death toll has risen drastically. In the pursuit of border security, are policymakers overlooking the issues of safety and human rights? Alexander Hobbs reports. Read More>


The Arts-Economic Nexus 

DetteGlashouwer, a Dutch performance artist, employs theatrical performanceto explain the intricacies of economics. Ina World Policy exclusive, Glashouwer explains the role her art will play in providingsolutions to a broken financial system. Read More>


A Dangerous Journey

Migrant deaths on the U.S.-Mexico border are reaching record high numbers, a phenomenon documented in the film "Who is Dayani Cristal?" Amanda Roth examines the growing threat to the safety and security of migrants as they travel through Mexico to the United States. Read More>

The Right Not To Migrate

One man’s attempt to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, documented in the film “Who is Dayani Cristal,” reveals the deeply personal nature of global migration. World Policy’s Rory Fewer sits down with migration expert Marc Rosenblum to discuss some of the complex    questions immigration policy raises. Read More>

Return to Homs: Inside Syria's Civil War

Return to Homs, an award-winning documentary by Syrian filmmaker Talal Derki, documents Syria's gripping descent into tragic civil war. Amidst chaos and violence, the film tells the real-life story of one young man whose life is changed forever. Alexander Hobbs details the most poignant moments of the film and its effect on an American audience. Read More>

Global Violence: The Ceramic Edition

For centuries, artists have created ceramic pieces to express political dissent. Sarah Lipkis explores the Museum of Art and Design's exhibition catalog, Body &Soul, which showcasesrecently crafted ceramic pieces that inv oke the horrors of violence and war. Read More>




Into Sunlight: Dance, Reconciliation, and Peace 

How can dance reconcile war and peace, unite veterans and protesters, and explore themes of trauma and violence? Into Sunlight, a new performance by the Robin Decker Dance company, does just that with their adaptation of David Maraniss's book, They Marched Into Sunlight. Read More>



Brazil's Legacy of Art and Protest Continues 

Although protests in Brazil have dwindled since the summer, issues such as economic inequality, lack of social services, and priority of the FIFA World Cup construction persist. Meanwhile, Brazilians embrace art as a critical form of political dissent. Read More>

Women of the Colombian Drug Wars

In this photo essay, photographer Zoraida Lopez reveals the human face of the woman and girls trapped in the Colombian drug trade. These women, who have little means of self-support, turn to drug trafficking as a way to provide for their families. Read More>


From the Shadows into the Light: FeFa in Cuba

FeFa, the creation of Cuban-American artist Magdalena Campos-Pons, is an art project that seeks to shine light on the pregoneros, Cuban street merchants, and the role they play in the emerging consumer culture in Cuba. Read More> 


Fighting China's Water Woes

 China suffers from severe water resource degradation. With a growing population, the prospects for sustainable water use are grim. Henry Yuan, secretary of Champion Water Alliance, discusses how his organization is working to promote understanding of Chinese water woes. Read More>

Main Street Meltdown 

In the third and final installment from artists LigoranoReese, Marshall Reese describes their sculpture of the word "economy" which they erected in front of the New York State Supreme Court building in Manhattan during the darkest days of the 2008 financial  crises. Read More>

The Disappearing Middle Class

 In the second installment from LigoranoReese, Marshall Reese discusses the duo's sculptures of the "Middle Class," which appeared at the RNC in Tampa and the DNC in Charlotte in 2012. 

Read More>


Beyond Cultural Diplomacy 

Cultural diplomacy, the nexus of arts and policymaking, was the focal point of last week's panel discussion: "Beyond Cultural Diplomacy: Arts, Policy, Change". Honor Bailey shares some key takeaways from the conversation.  Read More>


Democracy on Ice

Marshall Resse, half of the artistic duo LigoranoReese, describes the ice sculpture of the word "Democracy" that he and Ligorano created and displayed at the Democratic convention in Denver and the Republican convention in St Paul.  Read More>


Democratic Meltdown 

Artists Marshall Reese and Nora Ligorano create "temporary monuments" in ice to illustrate the meltdown of Western ideals: democracy, economy, and the middle class. 

Read More>



Human Rights, Development, and Democracy in Africa: What Role for the Arts?

In a repost of an article from African Futures, Mike Van Graan asks, "can the arts make the difference" in lifting underdeveloped African countries out of poverty? 

Read more>



The Theater of Democracy

City Council Meeting, a collaborative theater project in different cities, recreates local government meetings on stage. Its co-founder Aaron Landsman explains how inviting a theater audience to play politics helps us better understand how democracy works in America.

Read more >


Earthworks: Harvesting An Understated Directive From Environmental Art

The Earthworks movement creates art out of nature and sends a strong message against the destruction of the environment. Policymakers can use this message to enforce legislative action and humanize a rigid political discourse.

Read more >   ____________________________________________________

My Private China: An Interview with Alex Kuo

The acclaimed writer and poet Alex Kuo talks with World Policy Journal about his latest book, My Private China, his creative process, and the challenges of remaining true to his vision in a culture of censorship in contemporary China.

Read more >


One Girl's Fight to Learn in Ethiopia: An Interview with Writer Maaza Mengiste

Maaza Mengiste, author of "Beneath the Lion's Gaze," recently contributed to "Girl Rising," a documentary produced to advance female education throughout the world. Mikael Awake sat down with Mengiste to discuss how she captured the story of teenage girl, Azmera, and her struggle to learn in Ethiopia.

Read more >

Learning to Cherish Hard-Won Rights

When we have rights, it's easy to take them for granted, and when we forget the strufles and lessosn of the ast, we have to relearn them. Looking at the U.S. and Scotland, Arlene Goldbard shows how cultural policy can be used to prvenet the mistakes of history from repeating themselves.

Read more >


The Gezi Park Experience

As protestors consider the next steps for  the recent demonstrations in Turkey, Pelin Tan emphasizes the importance of carrying on the collective spirit of The Gezi Park Experience and argues that art will play a crucial role in doing so.

Read more >


Forced to Flee: Rebuilding Lives and Communities Through Art

Art can provide exiles with a powerful outlet of expression. WPJ's Farisa Khalid reports on “Forced to Flee: Exiled Voices and Visions for Justice,” a panel hosted by the Arts & Democracy Project in anticipation of World Refugee Day on June 20.

Read more >

The Pitfalls of Institutional Pedagogy

The Silent University blends art practice and institutionalized pedagogy. Ahmet Öğüt sharpens the distinction between the two approaches and explains why institutions like museums need to steer clear of structures already prevalent at traditional universities.

Read more >


How Arts and Culture can Advance a Neighborhood Agenda

Strengthening neighborhoods in New York City will not be effective without including art and culture in policymaking. Caron Atlas, the director of the Arts & Democracy Project, details the ideal agenda for incorporating arts and culture into grassroots community projects.

Read more >


Beyond Dollars and Cents: Defining Policy in Culture

In the United States, policy and funding are often conflated in discussions about developing and maintaining culture. Nichole Martini and Alexis Ortiz argue that real, systemic change in cultural policy can only happen if the "how," the "why," and the "for whom" are part of the discussion, not just dollars and cents.

Read more >


Creative Placemaking and the Politics of Belonging and Dis-belonging

How do cultural activities such as city planning and the arts shape the physical and social characteristics of a place? Robert Bedoya discusses creative placemaking, its relationship to civil rights, and the politics of belonging.

Read more >



Survival Strategies for Artists in a Modern World 

In the 21st century, arts funding has fallen low on the public spending priority list. Dr. Lawrence E. McCullough examines the current state of the arts in the United States, and where it needs to go from here.

Read more >



Creative Engagement and a Moral Economy in Appalachia 

The Appalachian region of the United States has suffered economically for decades now.  Residents have struggled with how to transform not just their economy, but also their society as they move forward.  Caron Atlas applies a 12 step recovery program to reviving the communities of Appalachia.

Read more >


"Go Home Yankee Hipster": How to Make Friends and Improve Public Art

In summer 2011, Shepard Fairey's mural on a controversial spot in Copenhagen earned him a black eye and his work defaced. Looking ahead, Martin Rosengaard and Wooloo have a new idea to improve public art by connecting artists to the communities they visit.

Read more >


Toward a Common Archive: Reframing the Roots of Palestine and Israel

French-Israeli director Eyal Sivan wants to reshape the way Israelis and Palestinians think about the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. By creating an archive of memories, Sivan hopes a dose of realism will help broker trust in the long run. 

Read more >


Masked Faces, Censored Hopes: An Interview with Artist Shurooq Amin

World Policy Institute associate fellow Shaun Randol interviews Shurooq Amin, a Syrian-Kuwaiti artist whose show "It's a Man's World" was shut down by the Kuwaiti government. This act of government censorship only emboldened Amin. "Censorship," she says, "has only made me stronger."

Read more >

An Artist Paints His Country's Toil

Kristin Deasy profiles an Iraqi artist named Ayad Alkadhi whose work reflects the violent politics and tortured history of his homeland.

Read more >





Dissident Artists Matter, Regardless of Their Fame

Uncelebrated dissident artists, writes Sidd Joag, are often the most consequential. While high-profile rebellions like those of Ai Weiwei and Pussy Riot serve a purpose, artists working behind the scenes should not be forgotten.

Read more >


Echoes of the Lost Boys of Sudan: Excerpts From a Graphic Novel

In 1983, four boys ran from their villages in southern Sudan, fleeing a violent army from the north. Niki Singleton interviewed the four boys when they finally got asylum and arrived in the U.S., and crafted their tales into a graphic novel.

Read more >


The Dry Wind Came: Breaking the Cycle of Violence in South Africa

Since August, South Africa has been embroiled in violence not seen since the fall of apartheid, all sparked by a massacre of striking platinum miners in Marikana. Now Nick Boraine and the other members of the Global Arts Corps must use their experience overcoming the wounds of apartheid to help their own country heal again, as they have tried to do worldwide.

Read more >

Did You Kiss the Dead Body?: Visualizing Absence in the Archive of War

 Death certificates and autopsy reports of ill-treated Iraqi and Afghani men can serve as more than evidence of Bush and Obama administration abuses of power. After a stint as the ACLU's Artist-in-Residence, Rajkamal Kahlon, writes about the deeper meanings of these documents.

Read more >


For the Sake of Others

Excerpts from The Mantle’s latest virtual roundtable in which four artists and allies with contrasting perspectives attempt to answer the question, "What is the role of the artist in a conflict zone?"

Read more >



Mapping Migration: Putting Journeys in Context

Barrak Alzaid reviews an image and video project by Bouchra Khalili that documents tales of migration. By showing these journeys in and out of their geographic context, Khalili pushes viewers to imagine their stories.

Read more >




Reclaiming Unused Urban Space

The third arts-policy nexus article highlights an issue closer to home, but which resonates across borders: the public use of unused space.

Read more >




A Drop of Life: A Filmmaker's Journey Inside the World Water Crisis

In the second installment of our 10-part series on the arts-policy nexus, filmmaker Shalini Kantayya describes how life imitated art when the dystopian future of paywalls for water depicted in her sci-fi film came to pass in real life, and what it means for the prospect of peace and the fate of humanity in the 21st century.

Read more >



Popular Dissent: Why Pussy Riot and Ai Weiwei Are Only the Beginning

In the first of a 10-part fortnightly series on the arts-policy nexus, Alice Wang argues that dissident artists like Ai Weiwei and Pussy Riot will usher in a new era of protest art.

Read more >



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