Art for Social Change Project (ASC!)

What is Art for Social Change?

There are many ways of defining art for social change. In each of these cases, art for social change strives toward effective engagement with social issues that integrate and celebrate imaginative thinking, helping people to find new ways to see and be engaged in the world. In the context of the ASC Project, three types of art for social change are considered:

Those that are artist-driven, wherein the social change content is in the work of a single artist or group of artists;
Those in which the artist acts as a facilitator or catalyst to, art-making with groups, using specialized forms of art-creation;
Those in which the artist acts as a facilitator in group problem-solving contexts using arts-based processes but not necessarily with the goal of group art-creation.

About ASC! Project:

The arts, especially participatory, community-engaged approaches, are increasingly recognized as core elements of all kinds of change agendas.

In 2013, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) provided a $2.5 million grant to support the ASC! Project: a five-year, national research initiative on art for social change and the first study of its kind in Canada. Hosted by Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University (SFU), the initiative developed out of the seminal work of ICASC, a partnership created by Judith Marcuse Projects (JMP) and SFU in 2008.

The ASC! (Art for Social Change) research project brings together artists, scholars, students and change makers from diverse public and private sectors to better understand how these practices are evolving in Canada as well as to provide information, opportunities for exchange, and resources for both practitioners and those interested to learn more about the field.

Over the next five years, we will share our research here and provide suggestions and perspectives about the field.

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