The Paradoxes of the Arts, Policy, and Diversity

Symposium Thu 11 Apr 2002 Admission: $5
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Following the events of September 11th, questions concerning the role of arts and culture in political discourse and social action have taken a new shape. In particular, we search for modes of communication, expression, understanding and action within and between societies we recognize as increasingly diverse. Because the arts create and communicate meaning, international, national, and local cultural policies which facilitate or hinder the expression of different perspectives engage us with increased urgency. n the face of globalization, terrorism, and cultural frustration, we look at how cultural policies support, transform, or undermine cultural diversity and autonomy. Does an international or national cultural policy imply the homogenization of cultural production? How is this related to certain kinds of cultural imperialism? How might the web of arts and culture create modes of communication that will contribute to greater mutual respect and understanding?

This symposium focuses on cultural policy, diversity, and the arts. It asks critical questions around how the arts are used to communicate across difference, and from a place of difference. Presented by Leslie Prosterman, Senior Fellow at the Vera List Center, the session is a visioning project which focuses on strategies and suggestions, ideas, problems, and successes for arts as diversity communication. It focuses on policies that affect audiences, access, and availability. James Early discusses international policy and organization, Ana María Ochoa Gautier presents a case study in Colombian national policy, and Suhair Hammad speaks on her local work with the City Lore and Animating Democracy Project. Hammad also facilitates a poetry writing exercise with the group.

Leslie Prosterman, Fellow of the Vera List Center for Art and Politics

James Early, Smithsonian Institution
Ana María Ochoa Gautier, Centro Nacional de las Artes
Suhair Hammad, poet and cultural commentator