What a busy day – packed with new experiences, inspiring moments and great people!
This was the first day of Balmaceda Arte Joven’s 2-day international symposium. Set in BAJ’s own youth arts centre, this was attended by about 100 people – a mix of artists, young people, arts organisations, educationalists and policy makers.
The symposium started with a dance by young people, a welcome and then an inspiring speech by Loreta Brava, Executive Director of BAJ. Loreta talked about the importance of Artivism – the response of and by artists to repression through artistic activism. We do all know that art is shaped and responds to political concerns, but today I really understood this. Dictatorship and repression impacts on every fibre of society – and art reflects this. Loreta covered a wide range of issues including:
- How youth arts can be shaped by political repression, climate, activism, protest and transition
- Without art no reform
- The ways in which BAJ creates an endless space for creativity, training young people and transforming their lives
- Teaching is not about filling a water bottle in a factory but helping a flower to grow in its own way
The second speaker Lola Proaño’s speech was titled ‘Unveiling politics and resisting from memory: Artists of the Collective Fuerza Artistica de Choque’. She spoke very powerfully about how artists in Argentina are reflecting, commenting and portraying repression. Powerful words and images addressed elements of the following:
- An appeasement of memories
- Art reflecting the trauma of society – art has to be loud and clear
- ‘Loose genocide 2016’ – and some deeply disturbing images of theatrical portrayal which produces in time a memory of scene in which people were killed by state
- Dynamic images, emotion and perceptive art showing feeling and fear of Argentinian people
- Open space and public space linked to freedom and identity of people. Violence hiding behind political discourse.
The third speaker of the morning was Mirentxu Anaya from Educación 2020, which has a mission to improve education in Chile. She spoke about creativity as a tool for educational transformation and the formative work Educación 2020 is undertaking to facilitate teachers to become more child-centered and creative in their approaches. She underlined the importance and value of the arts in education and the fact that currently education is uninspiring.
My own presentation followed: ‘Transforming life chances: the role of the arts in building skills, employability and enterprise’. I was fortunate to be able to draw from all Artswork’s work in this presentation and in the subsequent panel discussion responding to questions from the floor.
And then – a delicious lunch with the BAJ team in an Arts Centre converted from a warehouse building!
After lunch we had a look at a Roger Ballen art exhibition, and then returned to the centre to see a film about the extraordinary work of Alicia Vega who has spent many years working with children and young people in a very deprived community, inspiring them with film making programmes and activities.
Finally, we joined a Roundtable discussion with senior BAJ staff and other guests to discuss the approach to drawing up a lobbying document for the next incoming government, making the strongest case possible to strengthen the artistic and cultural education in Chile. The recommendations from the meeting included:
- Investigating a scheme like Artsmark
- The need for a seminal report on the value of arts in education
- The agenda needed to include the importance of creativity across the curriculum as a concept
- There was a need to work with and support teachers
- There needed to increased and better evidence of impact of arts education
And finally, at 7 pm, soup, nibbles and mulled wine – a favourite in Chile on cold winter and spring days!
This week, Artswork’s Chief Executive, Jane Bryant, is working in Chile – and blogging daily about her travels. Keep up with Jane on Twitter @JaneVBryant, and read her previous blogs at the links below