The Power of Art 

in Activism

15th July, Monday | 16.00-18.00 GMT/UTC  | 17:00-19:00 BST  |  18:00-20:00 CEST

“Art is not neutral. It either upholds or disrupts the status quo, advancing or regressing justice. We are living now inside the imagination of people who thought economic disparity and environmental destruction were acceptable costs for their power. It is our right and responsibility to write ourselves into the future”. ― Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds 

Whether visual arts, sound, performance or writing that seeks to sit with the uncomfortable urgencies of our time can embolden our advocacy work and remind us why we do what we do, whilst restoring our belief and hope in the collective capacity to create change.

This In Conversation will delve into the unique power that socially engaged or concerned art offers us for the worldbuilding, imagination and courage we need to challenge the dangerous status quo we currently find ourselves in. What constitutes activism in art? Is there a difference between artworks that explore injustice through forms disseminated in cultural institutions and the art movements that are involved in direct interventions? Does the artwork need to prove a tangible impact to be qualified as activism? Furthermore, do artists and cultural practitioners exploring the issues of our time even consider themselves activists? However we might differ in our responses to these questions, many of us are aware of the power that art holds in challenging social and environmental injustices, addressing oppressive power structures and engaging with our current struggles in ways that can transform our spirits and allow us to experiment in the liberatory worldmaking necessary for our futures.


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Nada Atieg

Nada Atieg is a journalist, cultural worker and organiser based in Zurich Switzerland. Her work centres around prefigurative politics, art and religion as a form of resistance – primarily through writing, radio and performance. She values collaborative, collectivised and non-hierarchical structures.

Alia Alzougbi

Alia Alzougbi is a cultural strategist, artist and facilitator working at the intersection of art and social and environmental justice. Her practice uses the arts to interrogate the fundamental causes of inequality and explore alternative modes of understanding the world and being in it, foregrounding dignity for all beings and Earth, our only home. She has worked with national and international organisations as an artist and storyteller to create critical encounters in education and the arts towards collective liberation, from local corner shops to world-renowned museums. Alia is a Chevening Scholar, a Clore Fellow and Associate, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Prior to joining Shubbak, she was Director of the global citizenship education organisation Global Learning London. She is Chair of Maslaha, an organisation which seeks to change and challenge the conditions that create inequalities for Muslim communities in areas such as education, gender, criminal justice, health, negative media coverage and a continued climate of Islamophobia. She is also a trustee at Tamasha, a dedicated home for both emerging and established Global Majority artists. She is rehearsing moving through life with critical humility, joy & slowness, finding the last one to be incredibly challenging to hone. She pays it forward by volunteering nationally and internationally as a coach and mentor to those experiencing systemic barriers in the cultural and creative worlds.


Lorén Elhili

This In Conversation will be moderated by Lorén Elhili. Lorén Elhili is a curator and cultural worker and coordinator of GDF’s Harvest Festival Marrakech. She works with the curatorial as a tool for the creation of alternative spaces that can heal, create resource sharing, build resistance to imperialist structures and think collectively through social repair. Her dual heritage and working-class background inform her interests in manifestations of diasporic identity, cultural hybridity and the ways in which these entanglements are produced within the contemporary and play out in the fabric of public life. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London in History of Art and Curating.

Photo of Lorén Elhili















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