Design and Drive Social Change

Age of Artists can help you to learn about the artistic practice so that you can apply it when designing and driving social change.

Everything in society is a problem!

A view of the world as “full of problems” is not a pessimistic view at all; instead, it is one that highlights the action-oriented and dynamic nature of our natural and man-made societies and communities. Problems that can be whittled down to the root cause and motivational basis for social change activities are usually very complex, and are so-called “wicked problems.” Designing local education systems, public health initiatives, or how to better preserve the environment are clear wicked problems. The key question is whether our problem-solving approaches are up to par with all the challenges we face individually and collectively.

Settling too early for a narrow definition of a problem will likely lead to, at best, a very partial improvement that might fade easily over time, because it only takes into account short-term planning. This is a “band-aid” and is not sustainable – and we can do better. We can solve complex problems in meaningful ways that bring a sense of balance, progress and quality of life to those who are impacted.

Why art-based approaches will help

One of the parallels when creating art and solving wicked problems is that artists, very often, complete artistic works by iterating through attempts as the path to progress – this is the same process through which a wicked problem can be resolved. These actions clarify an understanding of what the problem truly is, as much as it moves the situation forward. Often we, as spectators, think that we learn about what a social problem is (or was), the same way we think we learn about what Van Gogh may have done to painting in his time: in retrospective. In actuality, such retrospective accounts give us the wrong impression about how one actually experienced these situations.

The importance of engaging in an open, reflective, and action-oriented way, immersed within the situation and enabled to fail in tiny ways and course-correct, is perhaps one of the greatest lessons of the artistic-approach to problem solving.

How can Age of Artists contribute to your social change initiative?

Problems might be overwhelming and complicated, but progress can be made by recognizing the value artistic approaches bring when solving challenges for a diverse, global society. Our developing insights are drawn from artistic processes and point to unique ways that allow us to understand and make sense of them at the individual and collective levels ﹘ two elements at the core of tackling wicked problems.

Age of Artists can help you learn about the craft of artistic practice, so that you can apply it when designing and driving social change.