Does art create change or react to it?

panel Discussion

Four creatives with experience on both sides of this, discuss their experiences of writing about social and political change and the effectiveness of this. There will be time for questions and discussion with the audience.

@ Sulafa Hijazi
Sulafa’s work is featured in Parallel Republic Exhibition which is part of Celebrating Syria Festival


We live in a time when we can watch a revolution happening live on the street, filmed on the mobile phone of a person on the other side of the world. What can plays, stories and performance add to such powerful communication of human experiences?

Is there more pressure on contemporary artists to consciously express and reflect the political turmoil in the world, than in any other era?

Does the speed of mass media mean an artist has to be more politically accountable and aware than ever before?

Or does it free the artist to produce a different form, and pace, of responding to political change, conflict and corruption?

Some artists in countries of relative peace and prosperity feel a responsibility to express the “global village” we are all connected into – but is this patronising, a vanity project by western artists?



Ben Power is a theatre maker, director and lecturer in performance, based in Manchester. His recent work, Spring Reign – a play about the conflict in Syria, produced in partnership with Rethink Rebuild Society, toured theatres across the country in Spring 2017. Ben’s work is often socially conscious and created with political intent.




Ruth Daniel is an award-winning cultural producer, activist and social entrepreneur. She is co-director of the organisation In Place of War which works with creativity in sites of conflict to empower young people by sharing tools that enable them to create their own opportunity in challenging contexts.





Dr Beccy Kennedy is a Senior Lecturer in Art History at Manchester School of Art and Route Leader for the MA Visual Culture​. Her research areas include: diasporic and postcolonial art, contemporary political art practices in Asia. Beccy has curated two exhibitions for Asia Triennial Manchester and is co-editor of the book, ‘Triennial City: Localising Asian Art’.



Charlotte Keatley is a writer: her award-winning, landmark play ‘My Mother Said I Never Should’ is translated into 31 languages, the most performed play ever written by a woman. She writes for theatre, radio & film, as journalist & broadcaster for BBC, has run creative workshops from Sarajevo to Burnley. Her recent play for the RSC dramatised the Georgian civil war and the civilian experience of rebuilding a country.







Thu 20/07/2017

19:00 – 20:45

 International Anthony Burgess Foundation

3 Cambridge St
M1 5BY
United Kingdom

£5/ £3 / Free for refugees and asylum seekers

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