Article    04th Jul, 2019

PPI Unveils the #ArtSpeaks2019 Initiative

In its quest to strengthen the programming impact of non-state actors, PPI has curated the #ArtSpeaks2019 Initiative to increase the diversity of policy and political engagement approaches available to civil society actors. Working alongside The #ArtSpeaks Network constituted of young and emerging industrial, fine and performing artists, PPI through this programme is keen to use their talents to promote citizens voice and agency for social justice causes.

by Admin PPI

Martin presenting at the #ArtSpeaks2019 Bootcamp at Garuga Resort Hotel.

In its quest to strengthen the programming impact of non-state actors, PPI has curated the #ArtSpeaks2019 Initiative to increase the diversity of policy and political engagement approaches available to civil society actors. Working alongside The #ArtSpeaks Network constituted of young and emerging industrial, fine and performing artists, PPI through this programme is keen to use their talents to promote citizens voice and agency for social justice causes.

Through the #ArtSpeaks2019 initiative, PPI will strengthen the organisational and innovative capacities of young and emerging artists as well as position them to support mainstream civil society campaigns for electoral integrity ahead of the 2021 general elections. The initiative will nurture talents and imaginations of emerging artists, enhance their creative capacities and facilitate them to reach out to more individuals especially the youth with a proposed audio-visual production titled ‘Enjalla’. At a recent #ArtSpeaks2019 bootcamp, artists curated and adopted ‘Enjalla’ to figuratively depict hunger for;

  • Freedom of expression,
  • Good governance,
  • Free, fair and credible elections, and
  • Good service delivery in the social sectors among others.

Through the #ArtSpeaks2019 initiative, Enjalla will be professionally produced in audio and video by the different industrial, fine and performing artists under the #ArtSpeaks Network. It will be targeted at mobilising Ugandans especially the youth to embrace issue-based elections, and demand for free, fair and credible elections in 2021. The Enjalla production will be promoted by the #ArtSpeaks2019 Network as a flagship song/video for elections using concerts, community theatre, election campaigns and individual performances by the participating artists.

Several other activities are planned to be implemented under the #ArtSpeaks2019 initiative including;

  • The #ArtSpeaks2019 fellowships involving artists and civil society actors to share and reflect on the concepts of free, fair and credible elections as critical to upholding social justice values in the country. By supporting the #ArtSpeaks Network members to appreciate these values, the project will directly build their capacity to innovate and produce visual and artistic performances that represent, reinforce and reflect such values.

  • Efforts to expand the membership of the #ArtSpeaks Network beyond the original 20 founding members will be undertaken. The expansion will be based on principles of engagement and coalescing including a clearly defined theory of change to demonstrate how the efforts of the #ArtSpeaks Network members beyond this project will represent, reinforce and reflect social justice values.

  • A one-day non-residential National Dialogue on Art and Pop Culture in pursuit for Social Justice will be convened as an opportunity to mobilise broader membership and build and explore the centrality of this emerging field in citizen civic mobilisation.

  • The overarching aim of the #ArtSpeaks Network is to mobilise and cause social change using individual talents and their collective power of artists. Based on this aim, this project is designed to use art and pop culture to inspire artists to develop audio and visual content that can directly expand social justice audiences and indirectly strengthen the demand side for good governance and electoral integrity. Once Enjalla is professionally developed and produced as audio and visual content, the #ArtSpeaks Network members will conduct several civic outreaches targeting marginalised and informal urban communities. Each outreach will involve members of the #ArtSpeaks Network doing live performances of Enjalla as well as their individual acts before community audiences.

  • Since 2018, PPI has focused on generating new knowledge on how the arts and pop culture can become a formidable approach to doing civic work in an era of shrinking space and limited innovation in the civil society sector. In PPI’s publication titled ‘the role of art and popular culture in promoting democratic principles and social justice’’ it was argued that art was accessible even to those that cannot read or write, yet it can be complex to deconstruct especially when it is carrying hidden meaning or used as a metaphor. However, if well framed and disseminated, art has the capacity to ignite constructive debates that can open new spaces and possibilities for delivering Democratic Principles and Social Justice. In this initiative, PPI will commission a study to explore how art and pop culture can best be harnessed to shift social perceptions of Ugandans towards actively advocating for a credible electoral democratic dispensation.

  • Building on the successes of the inaugural art and popular culture symposium and exhibition, the #ArtSpeaks Network in partnership with the Public Policy Institute, the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts (MTSIFA) and the Department of Dance, Music and Drama at Makerere University will convene the 2nd #ArtSpeaks Symposium and Exhibition. This activity involves (a) mobilizing young but promising industrial, fine and performing artists and providing them a space to showcase their compositions and artistic pieces in line with this year’s theme; and (b) holding a one-day exhibition and symposium to discuss, demonstrate and explore how art and pop culture can be harnessed to inspire Ugandans towards actively advocating for a credible electoral democratic dispensation.

Artistes test the system at the #ArtSpeaks2019 Bootcamp at Garuga Resort Hotel

See profiles of the founding members of the #ArtSpeaks Network

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