Innovating at the Intersections of Arts and Social Justice

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Resource Details
Publication Date: 
June 2015
Caron Atlas, Nayantara Sen, Maribel Alvarez, Kathie deNobriga
Number of Pages: 

Featuring Alternate ROOTS, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, and The Theater Offensive, this rich and rigorous publication examines the contours, possibilities and limitations of adaptive change for three arts and social justice organizations participating in EmcArts Innovation Labs for the Arts. These organizations have social justice missions and mandates, and are deeply connected to histories of social movements in their respective communities. In the Lab, they negotiated the productive messiness of adaptive change in ways that impacted their artistic practices and positioning, community and stakeholder engagement, and their social justice values and vision. 

In these stories, you will find many examples of strategies that create increased alignment between organizational policies and practices, and social justice values like equity, self-determination, inclusion and belonging. You will also discover ways that these organizations that employ artistic practice and social justice mandates engage and innovate differently with their communities and stakeholders. 

Key questions this publication attempts to answer:

  • Could Innovation Labs for the Arts support and strengthen adaptive change efforts of organizations that hold both artistic practice and social equity at the heart of their work?
  • Are there innovation and adaptive change frameworks, strategies, strengths and limitations that are different for these intersectional groups – as compared to arts-only organizations?
  • Are our Innovation Labs for arts organizations useful in the context of social justice movements, where long-term change occurs through many actors and at many levels, including through networks and community-based coalitions?


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