Get artivist ! Training for youth workers

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1. Get artivist ! Training for youth workers

  • One of the motivations of the Artivism project was to create training a toolkit that could serve as support or inspiration for youth workers (professional or volunteers) or young artists who wish to engage in artivist work processes with other youngsters.  We don’t think our logic to approach an artivist process is the only possible one, but this is the one we tried and that we are happy to share with you.  We invite you to take all these chapters as a dialogue:  not as manifestations of a non questionable doctrine, rather as a party in a conversation who can inspire your own questions and reflections.  You can go through this process alone or even better, together with the little group of people.  We experienced artivism as a collaborative process, based on discussions, negociations and co-creation, so we invite you to try the same.

    TO EXPLORE  Workshop outline for 7 hours (short initiation)Workshop outline for 30 hours (trainers’ training)

    TO THINK How could you most benefit from an “artivist training”? Alone our in collective – together with colleagues or a group of young people you’d like to work with?

    TO READ The ARTVISM User guide is now available in English , French , Spanish and Hungarian

    Alone or in a collective, here is the learning path we propose:

  • 2. What is artivism ?

  • In this section we propose you three introductory readings.

    “learning and working with artivism: practising the dynamics of social transformation” is written by our colleague Eva Aladro Vico, who participated in the artivist project on behalf of the Universidade Complutense de Madrid. This text looks at how artivism can serve as a tool for youth wishing to tackle social challenges.

    “A short history of artivism” is a very brief summary of an otherwise big history, prepared by our colleague Emilie Brigouleix, who worked with élan interculturel on the project.

    Finally the “abecedarium of artivism” is a co-constructed inventory of what artivism was for us, i.e. for members of the Artivism project.  Consider this as some mental map that helps to pin down all the associations, concepts that were important for us.  Artivism Is not necessarily the same for you.  By the way this is why we would like to encourage you to create your own abecedarium of artivism.  How to do this collectively is described a bit later on.

    Interested in theory? Read the special edition of Comunicar published by our Spanish and British colleagues Here

  • 3. our artivist processes – case studies from Budapest and Paris

  • If you are at the beginning of constructing your own artivist projects you may benefit from learning about our processes. This may help you to identify elements of inspiration that you would like to adopt but also things you’d definitely do differently. In any case it is a good learning opportunity.

    We imagined our « artivism » project as a learning process, building on consecutive phases that would allow us to progress with the same group of young people, who may have never worked with art before.  Here is a quick recap of these phases:

    1. “Ideas bank”: identifying the issues, questions that are most relevant for participants and deepening our understanding of these issues
    2. Learning from practicing artivists how they work and what themes they tackle
    3. “Initiation workshops”: acquiring artistic techniques and methods that artivists use
    4. “Campaign”: putting the ideas and art techniques together to express the issues in artivist language, sharing the campaigns with special target audiences.

    To give you a better idea of how these steps work in practice, in this chapter you can read the description of how our process unfolded in Paris and in Budapest.  The project had very different contexts and participants in the two cities, we hope that these two case studies can offer you inspiration to develop your own process.

    TO THINK Based on films and case studies, what do you see as main challenges, potential risks in an artivist process?

    A case study from Paris

    A case study from Budapest

  • 4. Get to know each other, build the group

  • This may sound common-place, but the most important ingredient in a collaboration process are the people involved and the quality of engagement they bring into the collaboration. No amount of external inspiration, material resources and techniques can compensate for that if it is missing. Make sure then to give importance to how the team members encounter and get to know each other. Don’t shy away from using techniques of non-formal pedagogy to create a space for people to get to know each-other in playful ways. You can also add your favourite focus. For instance, to initiate an international artivism training we used the sequence bellow, which only had non-verbal activities. Why did we chose that? In our group there were people with four different languages, and to the languages, the accents a whole lot of preconceptions and stereotypes could be connected (compare the status of a native British English speaker to the one with a huge French accent and a limited vocabulary). So we wanted participants to meet each other and create the first impressions outside of all these associations and status differences. Use this as an inspiration, and create your own sequences. We used several activities of Augusto Boal’s Games for Actors and Non Actors.

  • 5. The Archive

  • As part of the project, we have collected 50 militant arts projects accessible on our website. These archives are intended to be an educational tool at the disposal of young artists. You can also rely on references to guide the participants of your workshops that you have chosen or that we have already selected! Or suggest that participants bring their own references!

    What was important for us during the collection of the archives

    During our collecting of artistic projects, we tried to propose artists representative of the multicultural society where we live. Indeed, we think that showing artists from different cultures or origins of the dominant society is important. Some would say that “only the work is to be looked at and not the origins of the artist” however, offering representations to minorities contributes to their feelings of inclusion – in the group – but also in society. And this allows us to offer positive role models to identify and thus offer opportunities to everyone! For example, to propose artistic projects realized by female artists makes it possible to change the representations and that they are no longer confined to the role of “wife of ….. /companion of this great artist”. By showing some positive models, the representation inspires the people who identify with it, while at the same time accustoming others to positive representations / models of minorities. We also try to choose artists who talk about topics that directly concern them. And to collect different themes and tools!


    TO EXPLORE Artivist archives online:
    TO DOWNLOAD Artivist archives available for downloading in: ENGLISH / FRENCH / HUNGARIAN /SPANISH
    TO TRY OUT Activity “the archives – learning from others

  • 6. ideas bank – collecting and deepening ideas

  • The question of the subject is one of the most difficult ones for people who are not used to artistic creation and who find themselves in art mediation workshops – be it by choice or coincidence.  The invitation to decide what an art work should be about often implies too large a freedom.  Facing the unlimited options, people often resort to simple choices, based on copying another artwork or an artist they admire.

    Clearly, in some artivist initiatives the subject precedes the desire to create an art work: first there is an anger, and indignation upon an oppression or an injustice that triggers the desire to do something about it.  In this case the subject matter imposes itself with an easy evidence.

    But in our artivist project we invited young people to start to work with us even before we knew what they were concerned about.  In fact, our invitation to work with us had the somewhat hidden agenda to actually help them reflect on what they do and do not like in the society around them, and identify for the sake of the artistic work what they would really like to change in society.  Hence we needed ways to bring to the surface their concerns, indignations and angers.  We needed to identify these subject matters in co-constructive, horizontal ways to avoid us forcing and agenda that seems importance for us, but not for them.

    The activities we present in this section show different strategies that can be used for this purpose: identifying issues that matter through a variety of art forms, but always in cooperation and through an invitation to contemplate our immediate surroundings and our place within.


    TO EXPLORE  The ideas which our participants collected
    TO TRY OUT ‍ Go for a walk with your camera in the pocket and take pictures of all things you find on your way that you’d like to change, that make you angry or simply puzzled. Th ebest if you can get some friends or colleguaes to do the experiment together and then compare the results of your hunting tour. Just beware: thake care of the privacy of people you see. Don’t take pictures of people from close up without their consent try out sequence of activities to explore stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination
  • 7. Getting initiated to the tools of artivists

  • The third phase of our artivism project was dedicated to the transfer of artistic skills and techniques that participants would need to be able to express their ideas. But how to transfer complex artistic techniques and languages in a very short time? To guarantee a good quality transmission we wished to invite professional artists to work with out participants. And to ensure that the method of transmission is swift and practical we invited artists to keep these two foci:
    “Focus on the active ingredients of the art forms”
    According to artist Werner Moron, just as medicine contains an active substance that provokes a change in our bodies, different art forms contain such ingredients that are at the core of the art form. For us, “active ingredient” is a metaphor that conveys the key elements in an art form that can take an effect even in small doses (without doing an extensive training in/about the art form).
    During our workshops we invited artists to identify the “active ingredients” of their specific art form, that could give access for participants to a few of the key skills needed to create art works. The selection of such “active ingredients’” helped us to focus the work in a hands-on fashion, without necessarily mobilising previous expertise in the art form or in art history.
    Hands-on interactive transmission
    It wasn’t our ambition to offer an exhaustive training to participants about specific art forms, rather to equip them with the skills necessary to apply that art form to communicate the messages they chose. So we asked our artists to devise interactive, experiential workshop that give ideas on how such application can happen. The methods that will follow were chosen and developed based on this reflection.
    Please have a look at the section of the website dedicated to “workshops for youth – initiation” for an overview.
    Then, feel free to pick a selection of initiation workshops.

    TO EXPLORE  The workshops we had with our participants on
  • 8. ARTIVIST CAMPAIGN how to give visibility to your message?

  • The final maybe most important phase of an artivist project is the campaign.
    Indeed, our Artivist project made naturally sense for the core participants who were building up the campaign, but in order to achieve a real impact we had to reach external audiences also. Our artivist campaign had to make sense to those who have not participated in its creation.
    Per essence, Artivism uses the seductive form of art to express or denounce a political idea and those final products (poster, photo exhibition, public art, demonstration, theatre piece, etc) require an audience to exist; to have an impact. During our local artivist project we have realised that each of our projects had its own subject matter, and its own public – very specific to the site and social environment we were intervening in.
    In Budapest we worked with chalk drawings in public space to incite citizens to participate in the parliamentary elections in April 2018. We organised an exhibition “I fail therefore I am” a photo exhibition in public space
    In Paris we have presented the short film, journal, posters, post cards that migrant residents of a housing project created in different events and festivals organised on the site.
    In Madrid students of UCM and their collaborators presented the collaborative film they have created about abandoned villages.
    In Nottingham we proposed an interactive workshop event for young people to create thematic animation videos.
    In the following you can read about a selection of activities that can inspire your own artivist campaigns. Do remember however, that there is no golden rule: the good campaign is the one that corresponds to your specific subject and the public that holds the key to make the changes you desire.
    In our project the campaign process of disseminating the Artivist messages to an external audience brought many positive aspects. Participants gained recognition of their work, their ideas spread and touched, inspired others. If this step requires to evaluate some risks, it remains a beautiful and meaningful process that will bring back the role of social actor to art.
    Please have a look at the website dedicated to “workshops for youth – artivist campaign” to have an overall idea of what we did. Download the activity sheets to explore how the activities were carried out.
    You can read about our concerns and reflections on how to deliver a powerful and ethical campaign in the following section also dedicated to “reflections”.

    TO READ Artivist campaign in spain

    TO EXPLORE  The campaign events we carried out in our workshops in Paris, Budapest, Madrid and Nottingham
    If you speak French: read the “Journal” created by the Paris group
  • 9. Reflections for future artivists

  • Who should initiate and lead artivist projects and how? Our spontaneous answer is: anyone, anywhere, anyhow! But whether you are a motivated university professor, a recognized artist, a passionate NGO worker or an engaged citizen will define the context of your artivist work, the challenges you’ll face and the benefits you may have. In this final chapter we have collected some of our observations, concerns from our own workshops that we think you can benefit from as future artivist. These suggestions of course are not universally valid, they reflect the special context of our work, and that is their main limitation.
    This section addresses the risks of artivist projects, in particular issues of ethics and the potential reproduction of inequalities within a project that nevertheless criticizes these same inequalities. We are aware that many artivist initiatives can have an entirely different form, they can be genuine community practices, or collaborations led by group of youngsters etc. Accordingly, some of our suggestions / conclusions will make sense to you, some less, try to learn from our mistakes and victories as you can.

    TO THINK Do you feel like engaging in becoming artivist? What would be important for you? With whom would you like to do your work? Where? Why? What would you hope to achieve? When would you really be satisfied and when would you be disappointed?