Arts and Social Change is an interdisciplinary group concerned with the practice of the creative arts and its use in pursuit of social change.
Our membership is drawn from researchers working across the University, with diverse interests and a shared commitment to social justice. Creative practitioners, educators, anthropologists, geographers, criminologists and social scientists work in collaboration with international, national and local community and societal partners to enable better understanding of how we can facilitate social change and justice through artistic and creative means.
Our members span a wide range of disciplines and fields. We are engaged in research which promotes visibility and representation of diverse individuals, groups, identities, bodies and voices while simultaneously challenging and questioning existing structures around power and representation. Our researchers seek to negotiate complex territories in the areas of instrumentalism and efficacy by also questioning ethical and methodological practices.
Involving seven universities in the UK and one in the USA, as well as several community arts groups, grassroots organisations, theatres and other partners, this project is part of the AHRC Connected Communities programme.
Dr Tanvir Bush is an Associate Research Fellow on the D4D project about disability and exclusion. She is also a writer and the instigator of SenseAbility and the Creative Writing Laboratory, local community initiatives. Her novel CULL has recently been published by Unbound to critical acclaim.
Dr Helena Enright is currently working with local charity VOICES, a survivor-led charity which deals with domestic abuse and violence to develop a creative training programme for legal professionals in the Southwest drawing on survivor’s experiences.
This is a new theatre of testimony piece by Dr Helena Enright which documents the contemporary lived experiences of mothers in prison against the backdrop of 100 years of maternal incarceration. The play is the result of Helena's research undertaken with mothers in prison, in association with Geese Theatre and the University of Warwick.
Dr Agata Vitale is conducting research on Assessing the effectiveness of the Tree of Life (ToL) intervention in promoting resilience and integration in refugee women with HIV; this study is done in collaboration with Professor Nigar Khawaja (School of Clinical Psychology, Queensland Institute of Technology, Australia) and Dr Judy Ryde (Trauma Foundation South West).
In addition, Agata and Helena Enright are currently exploring opportunities to develop a drama based intervention to support resilience and integration in refugee women living with HIV.
June Bianchi is currently leading the UK aspect of the project ‘ArtsTogether: integrating migrant children through the arts’, funded by the European Commission’s Asylum Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).
ArtsTogether, a partnership with five European countries, promotes development and implementation of innovative expressive arts educational activities to foster societal integration, challenge discrimination, and increase third country nationals’ participation in education, social activities, cultural life, and representation frameworks.
Bath Spa University, the UK partner, is creating the ArtsTogether Inclusive Curriculum, a collection of expressive arts educational materials, resources and strategies to be piloted in Greece and Italy then made available across Europe, providing policy recommendations at all educational levels.