The World Policy Institute understands that policymakers and opinion leaders need creative ways to catalyze innovation and engage wider coalitions in solving some of the world’s biggest challenges. By working with artists focused on the same issues, this cross-cutting initiative seeks to build a new, collaborative model for social change.
In Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World, World Policy Institute Senior Fellow Ian Bremmer illustrates a historic shift in the international system and the world economy—and an unprecedented moment of global uncertainty.
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.
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.
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>
Artists Marshall Reese and Nora Ligorano create "temporary monuments" in ice to illustrate the meltdown of Western ideals: democracy, economy, and the middle class.
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?
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?"
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.
Reclaiming Unused Urban Space
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.
Popular Dissent: Why Pussy Riot and Ai Weiwei Are Only the Beginning
In addition to regular public events, a blog series by arts and policy practitioners, and arts-based and/or culture-themed projects led by WPI Fellows, the Arts-Policy Nexus is characterized by information sharing and a process of deep introductions between artists and policymakers, termed the Arts and Policy Incubator.
The Social Practice Arts-Policy Nexus calendar (see Nexus) complements WPI's in-house endeavors by sharing a range of global events related to art and society.