Call for Applications: West Africa Art Action Academy


 

OSIWA (Open Society Initiative for West Africa), C4AA (The Center for Artistic Activism) and La Muse (Guinee) invite artists, activists and journalists to apply to participate in a 5-day Workshop, the Art Action Academy, from December 17 to 21, 2019 in Dakar, Senegal. The Art Action Academy is part of the two-year intervention ‘Regional Creative Hubs: Tapping into the Power of Arts and Culture to Embolden Citizen Action against Corruption’ which includes similar activities in Western Balkans. The goal of the project is not merely to impart knowledge, but to empower artists, advocates and journalists to be more effective in their efforts to influence people’s engagement on corruption issues and to create opportunities for meaningful synergies across themes and geographies.

Using a range of contemporary and historical examples of organizing and activism from around the world, participants will study the various ways cultural creativity has been employed for raising awareness, building organizations, influencing legislatures, and drafting policy. The selected participants will explore ideas from cultural theory to cognitive science to social marketing. Additionally, participants will learn to apply these ideas through a range of practical exercises designed to unlock their imagination from the prison-house of the possible – and then to figure out how to make the impossible possible, through new strategies and tactics.

Participants will be eligible to apply after the workshop for funding to collaboratively or independently produce creative action projects, and will be further eligible for advanced training.

ELIGIBILITY: The Art Action Academy is open to experienced artists, activists and journalists living and working in Ghana, Guinea and Senegal.

Applicants must be able to commit to the full workshop for 5 days and evenings plus travel time. Costs (travel ticket, accommodation and meals) will be covered.

 

DESIRED APPLICANTS WILL SHOW:

  • Interest in and passion for using creativity to address public to reconsider various aspects of combating corruption.
  • Enthusiasm and commitment to participate in the training, with possible further work and opportunities to participate in Training of Trainers Program in 2020.
  • Willingness and eagerness to learn and collaborate with people from diverse professional and geographical context.
  • Experience with art and creativity, activism for social change, and/or journalism.
  • Experience as facilitators, teachers or trainers is welcomed but not required.

 

The selected applicants will be trained in the Artistic Activism methodology by experts from the Center of Artistic Activism and the La Muse. They will have opportunity to practice their skills in artistic activism by performing a creative action through collaboration with other artists and activists from West Africa. They will be eligible to receive grants for creative actions and projects and to apply for participation in Training of Trainers for West Africa Creative Activism Team. Selected applicants will join a network of artists, activists and journalists from different countries passionate about promoting artistic activism in West Africa and beyond, and access information and support from that network.

To apply please complete the information on the form at this link,  attach your CV with relevant to this initiative information and submit it. Due to the high numbers of applications, we may not be able to respond to every inquiry. If you have questions, please email: aba@osiwa.org or madiallo@osiwa.org.

Applications will close on October 30th, 2019. Selected applicants will be notified by November 15th, 2019.

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ABOUT THE Art Action Academy AND C4AA

The Art Action Academy (AAA) is designed to help artists who want to be socially engaged to be more effective in bringing about change. The AAA presents new ways of doing art and activism, drawing upon artists’ perspectives, expertise and understandings. The workshop also helps artists build a community of practice, an extended network of artists in a region and around the world who provide support after the workshop.

The AAA curriculum includes exercises to help you see how activism is typically done, and how to do it better by using art and culture to reach people at a level of personal experience, story, emotion and fundamental values. The workshop takes a deep dive into the history of effective artistic activism around the world, drawing out lessons that can be applied locally but also revealing how tactics must be culturally specific in order to resonate. Workshop participants bring their own examples of artistic activist tactics that have worked in their regions and cultures. Together we examine why these are effective and how to draw from them for new and innovative campaign ideas with objectives and goals aimed at fundamental change. The workshop facilitators talk about how to use cognitive and behavioral science to change people’s minds and behaviors, and exercises help participants examine how you might use this science, as well as morality and storytelling, to change culturally-specific narratives. Working like anthropologists, together the group will examine those culturally-specific narratives, use outcome-based design thinking techniques to invent new ones, and collaborate to create an action that puts the workshop’s lessons to the test.

The Art Action Academy has been held in over 10 countries with over 800 participants. Here are what some of our participants have said about the training:

“This is a tremendous gift to art activists – it meets many needs and fills in gaps we may not realize we have.”

“Thank you both for this workshop. A clear agenda that has been fine-tuned over time. Really excellent content, structure and method.”

“I thank you for your great efforts, passionate training, am leaving this …training room a more empowered, creative African Woman.”

“I’ve been looking for something to reinvigorate/refresh/renew my commitment to activism. You provided it. Thank you.”

“A great opportunity to open my mind and explore ideas. The teaching instills confidence and a sense of empowerment and creativity which everyone should have.”

The Art Action Academy will be led by the directors of the C4AA Stephen Duncombe, Steve Lambert and Rebecca Bray in collaboration with Center for Contemporary Arts – Skopje, North Macedonia and Macedonian Creative Activism Team. The AAA will be organized by Open Society Fund Bosnia and Herzegovina, in cooperation with Foundation Open Society – Macedonia, Open Society Foundation Albania and Open Society Foundation Serbia. The activities in West Africa region will be implemented by OSIWA and La Muse.

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 About the Organizers & Facilitators

Stephen Duncombe is a Professor of Media and Culture at New York University. He is the author and editor of six books, including Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy and the Cultural Resistance Reader, and is a life-long activist.

Steve Lambert is a conceptual artist and Associate Professor of New Media at SUNY Purchase. His art has been shown everywhere from marches to museums internationally, has appeared in over fourteen books, and four documentary films.

Rebecca Bray is C4AA’s managing director and seasoned designer that worked for Smithsonian Institution and as director of her company she has been helping nonprofits understand their potential in order to reach out to new audience via attractive interactive experiences.

Bah Adama Bilia is author-director-trainer and uses art and creativity to drive social change and promote good governance. He initiated and heads Studios Kirah and La Muse, a space and cultural incubator, which he is initiator

Ibrahima Amadou Niang, “Ibou”, is the Head of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) Guinea country office and a creative activist, researcher, and published author. For over ten years he has been striving to advance democracy and human rights across Africa.

The Center for Artistic Activism trains artists and activists around the world to use their own creativity and cultural knowledge to make positive change. More at https://artisticactivism.org/.

La Muse is a cultural association, based in Guinea, which promotes creativity as an engine of development and social justice. La Muse launched in June 2017, The Kirah Studios, through a project entitled The art governswhose objective was to interest students in art in different practices of good governance and to foster creative activism.