Grassroots leadership & the arts for social change.

Throughout history artists have led grassroots movements of protest, resistance, and liberation. Their efforts kindled a fire, aroused the imagination, and rallied people, culminating in real transformational change. Please join the editors of Grassroots Leadership & the Arts for Social Change (an ILA 2017 BLB volume) for a sneak peek discussion on the concepts, practices, and examples put forward in this groundbreaking book. Hear from a few of the scholars, artists, and practitioners, who participated and rallied around a topic that has been severely ignored in the scholarship on leadership.

International Leadership Association
Enrenrich, S.
Bottomley, K.
Ross, G.
Hayden, J.
Presentation Date: 
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Event or Conference: 
International Leadership Association 18th Annual Global Conference
Presentation Type: 
Discussion Panel Participant
Boyer's Domain: 
Presentation Location: 
265 Peachtree St. NE
Atlanta, GA 30303
United States
Throughout history artists have led grassroots movements of protest, resistance, and liberation. They created dangerously, sometimes becoming martyrs for the cause. Their efforts kindled a fire, aroused the imagination and rallied the troops culminating in real transformational change. For instance, slaves sang “No More Auction Block For Me” under their breath, out of earshot of the master as a statement of purpose or defiance; songwriter Joe Hill courageously faced a five-man firing squad on November 19, 1915 after working tirelessly with the Industrial Workers of the World; following the September 11, 1973 Chilean coup, folksinger Victor Jara boldly stood in Santiago’s stadium before he was tortured, beaten, electrocuted, and machine-gunned to death; Musicians United For Safe Energy (MUSE) demonstrated, performed, and raised money for the anti-nuclear movement; Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali known for his political criticism of Israel, was mortally wounded after being shot in the face by unknown persons in London in 1987; and more recently, in January of 2015 the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were senselessly murdered in their administrative offices in Paris. Their art served as a form of dissent during times of war, social upheaval, and political unrest. Less dramatically perhaps, artists have also participated in demonstrations, benefit concerts, and have become philanthropists in support of their favorite causes. These artists have been overlooked or given too little attention in the literature on leadership, even though the consequences of their courageous crusades, quite often, resulted in censorship, “blacklisting,” imprisonment, and worse. Howard Gardner is one of the few leadership scholars that discuss artists in his book, Creating Minds (1993). Even though the book makes a bold attempt at highlighting artists from the 20th century who made significant breakthroughs in their respective professions, his argument never touches upon artists’ contributions towards societal change. The BLB 2017 volume seeks to explore the intersection of grassroots leadership and the arts for social change by accentuating the many victories artists have won for humanity. History has shown that these imaginative movers and shakers are a force with which to be reckoned with. Through this volume, we hope readers will vicariously experience the work of these brave figures, reflect on their commitments and achievements, and continue to dream a better world full of possibility. The editors for this issue of Building Leadership Bridges have selected papers, essays and creative works that explore the intersection of grassroots leadership and the arts for social change. The submissions are supported by a theoretical, philosophical, and/or disciplinary grounding. They include traditional scholarly articles/essays, personal reflective narratives, ethnographies, plays, poetry, visual art, and photo essays, as well as reports of research and discussions of how educators and practitioners have used these concepts in their classrooms, in their personal development, and in leadership workshops.