Tapping into the power of art as a conduit for change, artists around the world are to an ever-greater extent using their work to weigh in on some of the most pressing political and social issues of our times – be it extremism, the refugee crisis or the effects of digitisation – with the aim of influencing public understanding and opinion. Internationally acclaimed Cuban artist Tania Bruguera is at the forefront of this effort. Her politically motivated installations and performances engage the audience as active participants rather than spectators. Alongside works examining the social implications of political and economic power, she has also developed more long-term projects, such as setting up the Hannah Arendt International Institute of Artivism in Havana, which offers residencies for international artists that combine their artistic work with political activism. At Falling Walls, Tania will talk about her research into ways in which art can effect social change and teach civic responsibility in the face of oppression, and how an approach she calls ʻarte útilʼ (useful art) can contribute towards finding practical solutions to sociopolitical problems.

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