In the struggle for equality and social justice, the first war that has to be won is the propaganda war. The arts are the most effective tool in that battle for hearts and minds and must always be at the forefront of effective political organising, campaigning and education.
Liberating Arts builds on the highly successful 2016 Liberating Arts Day and is a hybrid event that shares characteristics with an arts festival, an academic conference and a celebration of trade unionism such as the Tolpuddle Festival and the Durham Miners’ Gala.
The festival will feature a three-day programme of cultural discussions, workshops and performances that will allow trade unionists, academics, cultural workers and creative activists from the UK and beyond to share insights about the central role of culture in our collective struggle for a more equal and just world.
Aims of Liberating Arts 2017:
- To inform the labour and trade union movement about the crucial role of art and culture in trade union organising, campaigning and education.
- To inform the labour and trade union movement about the crucial role of art and culture in achieving the political, economic and social objectives of trade unions.
- To build a deeper awareness of how trade unions can support cultural workers/activists’ efforts.
- To provide a forum for teachers, educators, academics, cultural workers, creative activists and trade unionists to explore the interface between politics, art and culture.
- To facilitate the building of a national network of politically and culturally engaged trade unionists, workers, creative activists, academics and educators.
Themes of Liberating Arts 2017:
- The Future is Unwritten – how do we use arts and culture to fight the determinism of the ’there-is-no-alternative’ narrative and the sparsity of the neoliberal imagination?
- Cultural Learning and Learning about Culture – how do cultural forms help engage us in learning, and what cultural forms would it be useful to learn about to advance left campaigns?
- The History of Culture and the Culture of History – working class culture and the history of the struggle for equal rights and social justice has all but disappeared from the mainstream. Is that because it no longer exists? Or has it been demonised and marginalised for political purposes? How can we support its reintegration?
- Climate Change and the Environment – what has the labour movement done to learn from the often spectacularly creative direct-actions of the climate change and anti-capitalist movements?
Roborough Studios, University Of Exeter, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4SB
Liberating Arts 2017 is being hosted by the University of Exeter, Drama Department and will be based in the Roborough Studios. The venue has three flexible workshop spaces with full studio-theatre lighting and sound. In addition we will have access to numerous seminar rooms and exhibition spaces in other adjacent buildings.
The studios are on the university’s, Streatham Campus and a 2-minute walk from the retail and catering outlets of The Forum. They are a 15-minute walk from Exeter St Davids, Exeter Central railway stations and the city centre.