Can art change the world? Policymakers and activists alike have created public value through cultural interventions— and in this module we examine how they did it.
Using the Harvard Case Method, we analyze the creative practices of change agents from around the world to draw lessons in strategic leadership.
The change agents that we focus on operate from a range of positions and platforms in society, pursuing a variety of social outcomes. Examples of cases included in the module are:
- Mime performances in Colombia’s capital of Bogotá, instigated by Mayor Antanas Mockus, with the aim of changing social behaviors and reducing traffic fatalities;
- Puppetry and storytelling in the state of Rajasthan, India, by social activist Shankar Singh, increasing awareness of government corruption and promoting collective action;
- Flashmobs in Chile, initiated by LasTesis, an artistic collective, challenging perceptions of gender-based violence as well as widely held, epistemic beliefs of what counts and does not count as “evidence” and “knowledge.”
You will learn to systematically and critically analyze the social impact of such creative practices. Your assessment will be guided by practical analytic concepts, such as “public value” and “theory of change,” as well as useful concepts in the field of cultural philosophy, such as “social performance” and “public ritual.”
This way, you will enhance your capability to exercise strategic leadership in order to unlock the potential of artistic/cultural interventions to spark social change.
Each case-unit includes analytical and creative assignments. Please note that although this module may appeal to creative minds, it will primarily draw from your analytical capabilities.