Grassroots Leadership and The Arts For Social Change

Panel/Workshop Organizer Last Name: 
Koehnlein
Panel/Workshop Organizer First Name: 
Bill
Panel/Workshop Organizer Affiliation: 
Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB)
Host/Sponsor: 
Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB)
Abstract: 
Throughout history artists have led grassroots movements of protest, resistance, and liberation. They created dangerously, sometimes becoming martyrs for the cause. Their efforts kindled a fire, aroused the imagination and rallied the troops, culminating in real transformational change. Their art served as a form of dissent during times of war, social upheaval, and political unrest. Less dramatically, perhaps, artists have also participated in demonstrations, benefit concerts, and have become philanthropists in support of their favorite causes. These artists have been overlooked or given too little attention in the literature on leadership, even though the consequences of their courageous crusades, quite often, resulted in censorship, “blacklisting,” imprisonment, and worse. This panel, and the recently-released book (April 2017) "Grassroots Leadership and the Arts for Social Change" (Susan J. Erenrich and Jon F. Wergin, eds. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing, 2017. ISBN: 978-1-78635-688-8.), seeks to explore the intersection of grassroots leadership and the arts for social change by accentuating the many victories artists have won for humanity. History has shown that these imaginative movers and shakers are a force with which to be reckoned with. Through this panel and forthcoming book, we hope panel participants will vicariously experience the work of these brave figures, reflect on their commitments and achievements, and continue to dream a better world full of possibility.
International Leadership Association; Cultural Center for Social Change; American University