The Arts-Policy Nexus is a cross-cutting initiative of the World Policy Institute, directed by Senior Fellow Todd Lester that provides urgently needed support to artists grappling with intractable social issues. The work of many photographers, visual artists, filmmakers, musicians, poets and writers deals with the same challenges that keep policy makers up at night. These artists bring a fresh approach to policy issues like water and food sovereignty, human rights, migration, social inclusion, sustainability, climate justice, forced eviction and economic development, as well as firsthand accounts of citizen initiatives around the world. At the same time, policymakers and opinion leaders are seeking creative ways to catalyze innovation and engage wider coalitions in solving some of the world’s biggest challenges. Policy entrepreneurs may have access to the formal channels that can turn ideas and movements into lasting change in institutions and societies; however creative strategies can help to humanize their ideas and prescriptions, and connect with a broader public.
Despite the obvious benefits that collaboration can bring, there is not enough of a two-way dialogue between socially-engaged artists and policymakers. Policymakers often dismiss what artists have to say because it is not the formal language of public administrators, lawmakers, and diplomats, and because quantitative or scientific method-derived evaluation models do not easily convey the impact of artists’ work. Finding new ways to connect likeminded – yet isolated – groups in order to create broader constituencies for human-centered public policy may be crucial to our collective future.
The Arts-Policy Nexus simultaneously acknowledges creative resources within the fifty-year old World Policy Institute’s community and seeks to bring diverse voices to the policy table, providing a fertile, unique arena for solidifying common goals between traditionally disconnected camps. The Arts and Policy Nexus facilitates collaboration among artists whose work addresses social challenges and policy makers seeking creative ways to reach hearts and minds. In essence, the Nexus is an outreach and engagement approach that offers a suite of services and networking opportunities to artists, policy makers, journalists, movement leaders, community organizers and funders working on common issues.
The Nexus strives for more open dialogue and collaboration between the creative and policy camps. It seeks to empower artists to navigate funding and policy structures, while policymakers gain access to creative approaches for re-framing policy issues and designing campaigns to effectively disseminate new ideas and outcomes to a broader public. The World Policy Institute believes this will result in more effective policymaking and communication of policy needs and goals, as well as a collaborative model for social change in which artists and policymakers share equal footing.
Through public events, focused roundtable discussions, and facilitated one-on-one meetings, the Arts-Policy Nexus is convening and pairing artists and policy makers working on related issues with the goal of building collaborative projects, campaigns and platforms that promise more equitable policy outcomes. To this end, the World Policy Journal documents innovative examples at the nexus of art, culture, community, place and public policy through an ongoing blog series that has the potential to evolve into both a speaker’s bureau and the baseline for a range of case studies.
The World Policy Institute works across a range of issues requiring cooperation across borders and disciplines. We have already developed robust cross-sectoral networks around core themes like migration, economy, and sustainability. Bringing more creative voices into these networks through the Arts-Policy Nexus is a natural next step.
A Re-imagination of Policy and Health
On May 1, 2015, an Artist Roundtable (A.RT) hosted by World Policy Institute’s Arts-Policy Nexus brought together 11 like-minded artists for a conversation focused on the relationship between health, wellness, and agency. After this discussion, Canadian-based organization Musagetes commissioned "A Re-imagination of Policy and Health: Toward the Creation of an Arts/Health/Policy Nexus," by Nicolle Bennett, as part of the ArtsEverywhere.ca online platform and its related projects, to further explore shifts in our approaches to health and health policy.
June 11, 2014 – Who is Dayani Cristal? A Film Screening and Salon
World Policy Institute, CultureStrike, and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop present a film screening of "Who is Dayani Cristal?" and political salon on migration, border security, and social justice.
For a sampling of the issues that the film raises, check out the following articles from World Policy’s Arts Policy Nexus Blog:
- Right Not to Migrate
- A Dangerous Journey
- US Border Security: A Death Sentence?
- Exporting Desperation: Free Trade in Mexico
Cultural diplomacy is morphing before our eyes, extending beyond its traditional bounds into the space of humanitarian action and social movements. Today's program brings together artists, policy makers, philanthropists, diplomats, cultural organizations, business, and thought leaders to explore the power and potential of arts-policy collaborations.
World Policy Institute and Fireside Research present a screening of the award winning feature length documentary film on renowned Kenyan photojournalist Mohamed ‘Mo’ Amin, whose coverage of the 1984 Ethiopian famine drew the world’s attention to the crisis. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the filmmaker, Salim Amin; Chip Duncan of The Duncan Group; and pioneering journalist Riz Khan around Mo Amin’s legacy, the power of photojournalism to reach hearts as well as minds, and the changing role of the photojournalist in a world of digital photography.
In recognition of World Refugee Day, join documentary photographer Pete Pin and World Policy Journal managing editor Christopher Shay as they explore the unique imprint of the legacy of the Killing Fields on the Cambodian-American diaspora and the power of artistic expression in empowering a new generation as guardians of their family story.
Join us for conversation and libations with thought leaders from across the cultural spectrum. This panel discussion will explore recent and emerging trends in arts philanthropy and cultural policy in NYC and across the country. We'll unpack the complex questions surrounding these important issues, learn about the approaches of various institutions, and examine the roles they play, individually and collectively, in shaping our cultural landscape.