Arts and Creativity as an Engine for Social Change Leadership

Amparo Hofmann-Pinilla,
Millard "Mitty" Owens,
Kathie deNobriga,
Ms. Abby Scher
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How does art unleash, create, and transform power for social change? What is the role of art in understanding and facilitating leadership? And how do we create effective processes to help social change leaders reflect and improve upon their work?

These questions will be the focus of a dynamic, interactive dialogue presented by The Research Center for Leadership in Action (RCLA) – an action-reflection program, housed at New York University, that works with national leadership programs and is developing a special initiative in ‘social change leadership through the arts’. Members of RCLA’s staff, along with nationally-recognized leaders in arts and social change will present lessons gleaned from participation in a series of in-depth, sustained dialogues using the increasingly popular ‘cooperative inquiry’ (CI) methodology.

Two CI groups on the arts have been organized by participants from Leadership for a Changing World (LCW), a signature program of the Ford Foundation in partnership with RCLA, and the Next Generation Leadership Program (NGL), sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation. Each CI group consisted of social change leaders who represent art-based organizations working with disenfranchised communities or non-profit organizations interested in learning to use the arts in their communities. The CI group participants have been holding systematic meetings and cycles of action/reflection to address compelling questions regarding the use of the arts in social justice work.

Leaders who participated in the CI groups will share some of the group’s key findings. In addition to the issues posed above, the panel will explore how the arts can dislodge “crusty” traditional political/social practices?; create new rituals among people; build bridges between people of different cultural traditions and social groups; and give voice to marginalized communities and affirm their sense of entitlement. The panel – consisting of both community leaders and RCLA program directors from LCW and NGL - will provide an overview of the RCLA arts and social justice initiative and discuss the role of cooperative inquiry as a methodology for exploring art and social change and the importance of collective reflection as a vehicle for making sense of experience and fostering mutual learning.

Keywords: Social Change, Arts for Social Justice, Collective Reflection
Stream: Art in Communities
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Amparo Hofmann-Pinilla

Associate Director, Research Center for Leadership in Action, New York University - Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
New York, NY, USA

Amparo Hofmann-Pinilla (MA Phil, in Sociology, NYU; LLB in Law, Universidad Externado, Colombia, S.A) plays a key role in the R&D component of Leadership for a Changing World implementing cooperative inquiries. Amparo directed a peer and social service study and theatre workshop program for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Millard "Mitty" Owens

Associate Director, Research Center for Leadership in Action, New York University, Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Millard "Mitty" Owens (MS Community Economic Development, New Hampshire College; BA Yale University) worked on affordable housing and micro/small business lending, he consulted on an initiative for strengthening the ties between art and community development, and serves on the Harlem Center for the Performing Arts advisory board.

Kathie deNobriga

Independent Consultant

Kathie deNobriga (MA Theatre, Wake Forest University), founding member of Alternate ROOTS, a service organization for community-based artists, now an independent consultant for grass-roots arts organizations, state arts agencies, and foundations interested in building organizational capacity.

Ms. Abby Scher

Research and Editorial Consultant, Political Research Associates

Abby Scher (Ph.D in Sociology, New School for Social Research; BA in Anthropology, University of Chicago) organized the independent and ethnic press as Director of Independent Press Association and has played an active role as a cooperative inquiry participant reflecting with other leaders about the work of the ! arts in social justice.

Ref: A06P0403