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Art and Social Justice Conference in South Africa

August 19, 2009

Art and Social Justice website

Durban University of Technology and Art for Humanity invite you to a three day international conference on Art and Social Justice.

Dates:  21 – 24 March 2010
Venue: Durban University of Technology (DUT), Ritson Rd Hotel School, Conference Centre, Durban, South Africa

This major event…involving the collaboration between artists and poets… is consistent with UNESCO’s principle objective as regards the promotion of intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity. It will no doubt contribute to emphasizing the unique role of the arts as a means of dialogue, communication and understanding… giving its aim of promoting ethical values through artistic expression and creativity.

With these words, Koichiro Matsuura, Director General of UNESCO, asserts UNESCO’s support and patronage of the Art and Social Justice conference and the associated ‘Dialogue among Civilisations’ project ( a unique print portfolio that juxtaposes responses from visual artists and poets on issues of social justice. The exhibition of this project will open on the 21st March 2010 at the Durban Art Gallery.

The conference aims to explore the role and relevance of the arts in addressing issues of social justice. In line with the objectives and principles of the conference organizers, Art for Humanity, the concerns of this conference are primarily directed towards advocacy.  The conference serves as a platform for art practitioners and organizations to share experiences drawn from a variety of international contexts to discuss mutual concerns and find solutions to commonly experienced challenges.

The conference aims to arrive at a concrete set of resolutions which can be developed into a policy document about the role of the arts in affecting social change, cultural development and equity.

In line with the hosting institution’s commitment to academic research, the conference is secondly addressed at academic researchers with an interest in art and social justice, who critically examine relevant works in the fields of literature, visual arts, music and performing arts.  Preference will be given to papers that explore theoretical avenues to the credible evaluation of public art and art projects directed at advocacy. This dual approach, which will be played out in parallel sessions, is intended to bridge a crucial gap, which frequently divides scholars and practitioners in the arts.

Main theme ‘Arts and Social Justice’

You are hereby invited to submit an abstract on either one of the following Sub- Themes:

1. Arts and Social Justice in historical perspective
2. Arts as mediator between traditional/religious practices and human rights
3. Arts, communication,  advocacy and audiences
4. Arts  as expression of cultural diversity in the context of globalization
5. Arts as heritage and the right to identity
6. Promoting  ethical values through artistic expression and creativity in arts education
7. The challenges facing  arts activism in the 21st century
8. Art activism advancing the Millennium Development Goals
9. Exploring the benefits for donor organizations supporting the arts for social justice
10. Promoting social justice  and intercultural dialogue through the arts
11. Exploring the link between art, social justice and health

Who should attend?
Art for Humanity members and affiliates
Independent researchers
Academics in a range of disciplines
Members of NGOs in the broad fields of art and social justice
Activists and members of and civil society groups, including e.g.; the Treatment Action Campaign
Members of Arts funding bodies
Representatives of Ministries of Culture
Members of Arts representative bodies
Local government representatives
Policy makers  in the fields of arts and social justice
Arts educators and administrators
Members of private foundations
Corporate sponsors
Persons  with an interest in arts support
Members of advertising agencies involved in using art in public educational campaigns
Media agencies and members of the press
Gallery and Museum Curators

Important Dates
Submission of abstracts: 31 Oct 2009
Notification on acceptance of abstract: 30 Nov 2009
Final date for early-bird registration: 06 Jan 2010
Final date for late registration and withdrawal: 21 Feb 2010
Final date for full paper submission (if to be published in the CD-ROM): 02 Feb 2010
Final Date for full paper submission to be published in Conference Publication: 31 May 2010

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300-400 words on line at using ‘Art and Social Justice Conference, abstract submission’ as a subject headline. All conference details can be obtained from:

Early bird registration before 6th Jan 2010 = R3750
Late registration after 6th Jan 2010 = R4250
Student before 6th  Jan 2010 = R3000
Student late registration after 6th Jan 2010 = R3500
The conference fee for delegates will be between R3500 – R4250, does not cover flights or accommodation.

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