Monday, May 4, 2009

The arts, human development & human rights

What if participating in the arts can transform not just your sense of self-expression, but also your health and your involvement in your community? Is there potential for synergy between artistic exploration and better health and human rights?
A joint project between Pittsburgh's Andy Warhol Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Niterói, Brazil, explored this question in one of the favela (shantytowns) outside of Rio de Janeiro. Jessica Gogan (left), Director of Special Projects, says:

'The concept of Communiarte is simple: Connect art, health and social justice, give it a supportive framework, and see what happens.'
What happened in this case was an explosion of art, and the documentation and mapping of life in the favela. For lawyers, this approach presents a striking alternative to our often litigation- and lobbying-focused strategy for human rights work.
I'll be learning more about this and, more immediately to hand, about the work of University of Pittsburgh law students in the Pittsburgh Street Law and Human Rights Education Project, in a conference entitled "The Arts, Human Development, and Human Rights," being held at the University of Pittsburgh over the next two days. The conference brings together folks from the Niterói and Pittsburgh projects with educators from the medical school, law school, anthropology department and elsewhere -- all looking to learn from the artists.

1 comment:

Victoria said...

This is a great initiative. The ideas lately of bringing into projects geared at artistic expression into international development are wonderful and give new opportunities. It reminds me as well of the Kids with Cameras projects now being replicated in many shantytowns after having started in Kolkata.