How can arts empower, educate and change people for good?

We asked our Nomadways artivist community and here is what people said

5 min readJun 23, 2019

In June we invited our community to share examples of how arts (embodied, visual, music, performing….) can be used for education and social change, for sending powerful messages and to empower others. At Nomadways one of our core values is to share the knowledge and good practice, thus it was a good time to make this shiny goodie and compile a small but powerful catalogue of great people’s initiatives. Feel inspired? Good. Share it to inspire others!

Getting visual about it

Boys can do by Garçon Milano

Visual arts are a very powerful tool for passing on messages. Our brain processes the visual information the fastest. Illustrating things that matter to us, or bother us, has its own life now on the Internet — talking not only of beautiful artworks by experienced artists but also of funny and powerful memes. Surely there is a lot of pollution out there, but digital and visual culture and literacy is a lovely skill of 21st century for us to develop.

How about this illustration demonstrating that boys can do anything they want? No matter the social norms and what others expect from them!

(Thank you, Anne, Kika and Ilze for sharing this with us!)

art by Barbara Pozzi

With play of colours and simplicity, it is not hard to address difficult challenges or express the issues that you are facing so others can understand them better. A powerful image we love is this artwork by Barbara Pozzi surrounding the theme of mental health and looking after each other. Got the chance to discover it thanks to our Lily and her “Real Talk”.

Fine Acts’ campaign on fake news and media literacy

Talking about visual, videos absolutely rock! They are impactful and easy to understand. They can be even more powerful with play of music, sounds, silence… Here, a great video that comes from Bulgarian based social acitivism platform Fine Acts and addresses the topic of fake news in a very declisious (or not really) way.

Dance it out!

Our Daniela Barata pointed out how amazing is to use dance, exercises of dramatic expression and art therapy as a tool for self devolopment, especially for children and teenagers at a mental health unity. It can also help fight mental health challenges, as our Goetz Martiny shared with us how juggling did amazing work to fight depression:

During my 8 weeks in the depression ward I tried to start practicing juggling again and ended up teaching my fellow patience. After successfully teaching several people a new skill we all had improved our self esteem and in the process naturally started to use our forgotten social skills. The bonding created a closer relationship between patients and was the beginning of a “we for us” mentality where we ended up helping and supporting each other. We started cooking, making music, going for walks or visiting venues/events together.

Physical health issues can also be turned into creative practice — have a look at his video shared by our Anne Merlin presenting how Parkinson symptoms can be turned into a strength through dance:

Video by Popping For Parkinson’s

Performing arts are another way to make people stop, look and think about what you’re showing them. As a creative practice it is so powerful, because it directs at most of our senses — it’s visual, it’s emotional, you see it, hear it, can touch it, can feel it! It can happen anywhere, anytime — you don’t need a special stage because you can make any environment your stage. Like this flashmob in Hamburg during the G20 summit that our Marc Nikoleit shared with us:

Video by 1000 Gestalten

Music, too

Listen to the songs here.

Since dancing goes so well with music, it’s good to mention how powerful it actually is. It is part of our daily lives — it’s simply everywhere around us. It accelerates emotions and brings our minds and souls into another place. Music was a main weapon for many social revolutions and movements. Here, a recent example that our Anne also reminded us about:

Ever since the Sudanese protests started in December 2018, musicians, poets and visual artists have been slowly but steadily reinforcing the movement. When it comes to music, the majority of the output has been hip-hop in all its various forms including trap, which as far as anyone knows, was never the sub-genre to be associated with consciousness or even a cause. This phenomenon is an indicator of the country’s pride in its African identity, as well its unique juxtaposition as both an African and an Arab nation.

Enjoy the playlist here and dance it out!

Play for better understanding

Our Kika is currently exploring creative ways to teach young people history and she shared a super useful game to make people think of the real situations while learning about the events in the past:

Learning history is certainly important, but there’s a lot of it. Students need to learn about historical ways of life, lives of individual people, cultures, dates, quotations, documents, and much more. Keeping everything straight can be difficult. So if students can learn and practice their knowledge through games and activities, that can make a tough job just a little bit easier.
Great idea for exercise is a time machine. It involves one student ‘traveling’ in a time machine and describing what they see. It is the job of the class or group to guess what time period they traveled to.

Join us!

Want to be part of our curating team? Yes, please! We believe in sharing information, knowledge, good practice and inspiration. So, why not become part of our community?

Follow our social media accounts where we will share our next calls for such a joint effort to rediscover awesomeness — facebook, twitter and instagram.

Or subscribe to our monthly newsonce in a month we send our project invitations and artivists’ news.

Or join our community of artivists here as a new member!




Crafting art for social change! We do kick-ass international workshops for artists, educators and youth workers.