Monday 9 November 2020

 South to North: Art for Social Change


Funding towards implementing this project in Durban and Cape Flats was received  from the South Africa National Arts Council

Since July 2020 ARROWSA, South Roots International, Touchstones Rochdale (Indra) and Gorsehill Studios Manchester (Indra) have worked on digital art for social change strategic intervention project initiated by ARROWSA and Indra. Below is a summary of what happened in this project between July and October 2020.

Zoom arts meetings were started informally between the SA and UK hubs in May in order to accelerate the process once the NAC funding was received. From July 2020 to the end of October the hubs met every second Friday except for one Friday break when the youth were on holiday. In between zoom meetings, the hubs met with their youth, engaged with the social topic through the arts, and prepared what they would share the next week. The youth prepared art exercises facilitated by artists for warmups at the start of sessions. These warmup exercises often included engagement with the topic of Climate Change e.g. the SRI tree movement exercise served as a springboard for discussion on human’s impact on nature and how this impacts climate change. The body of the zoom meetings concentrated on the use of the arts for engaging with the social issue of Climate Change.

Jessie from South Roots International makes use of visual arts to provoke thinking on the role
that big funders play within the food schemes in SA and globally.

South Roots International (ARROWSA alumni) Ntombi, Angela, Rachelle and Noluthando 
role-play as Government ministers engaging on 
the role that their portfolio can play in Climate Change.

Different approaches to the use of the arts were engaged e.g. role-play as government ministers in a debate on the topic. The SRI participants decided on characters using the spheres that they are passionate about and they used it to formulate models for how to make our communities aware of the climate change problem and create platforms for them to discover their roles in tackling this matter. They met together as those characters in the zoom session with the other hubs and shared the type of work they are doing and how they have been using their areas of influence to deal with climate change and the health of our people, environment, creation as a whole.  Riana of Gorsehill Studios in Manchester (Indra) incorporated role-play as a quiz master engaging with the youth in a quiz show on climate change. All the groups agreed that the quiz enforced how little they knew about climate change. Improvised monologues were also used that engaged with COVID-19 and climate change. 

The UK Touchstone group led a session on storytelling. A South Roots International participant shares: "We had a time of creating scenarios and using the imagination to tell stories. It was a great way to get to know each other better. We were placed in different groups that allowed for intercultural connection and were a creative use of zoom". 

Visual arts exploration of the representation of climate change and the powers that influence the funding of campaigns for social issues such as climate change. Short music videos made for warmup art exercises to be shared with those who were not present at the session or on social media and public platforms.

The creation of documentary type creative PowerPoints that were presented in sessions and documentary-style short videos on Climate Change that engaged with the community. Short art videos such as the engaging one that Vincent made within his community that engages with the social issue of Climate Change.

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