November 28, 2020

Harnessing the power of human imagination for social change

Art can change the social contract with society and shift the power of imagination into collective development.

2 min read

If art could provide us with a way to look deeply into ourselves—our past and our present complexities—and if it could provide us with the tools and the language to imagine new and different futures, free from the oppressions we are currently surrounded by, then art can lead us to the radical possibility of truly equitable, inclusive, just, transformed and caring societies where we are all free.

In an increasingly globalized and challenged world, the role of art and culture is often questioned. Set against difficulties like inequality and wealth gaps, gender-based violence, and lack of basic essentials such as water, sanitation, decent housing, affordable healthcare and quality education—art can seem like a nice-to-have rather than a necessity.

But we know that we enjoy art and we certainly couldn’t imagine this year where many of us have been sheltered in place, without film, music or literature. So is it possible to go further and to imagine a world where art is central and essential to how we think about and create the world we want to live in?

This is an excerpt from the article This is how to harness the power of human imagination for social change by Refilwe Nkomo.

This article is a part of a special series on the connection between inner well-being and social change, in partnership with The Wellbeing ProjectStanford Social Innovation ReviewSchwab Foundation at the World Economic Forum, and Skoll Foundation.

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The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a nonprofit established in 1971 and based in Geneva, Switzerland. It engages political, business, cultural, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas. The WEF hosts an annual meeting every year in Davos, Switzerland, and several regional meetings, that bring together business leaders, international political leaders, economists, celebrities, and journalists to discuss global issues. The organisation also provides a platform for leaders from across stakeholder groups to collaborate on projects and initiatives.