Politics of Change was a gathering in Brussels during a 3-day workshop arranged by so-on and hosted by okno, both cultural organizations composed of several members engaged in different aspects of the artistic creation.
The call, made by the filmmaker and activist Annemie Maes, had different goals. One of them was to reflect on topics as gender and activism in the cultural field, another was the sharing of common technical tools to be used for sharing and spreading the word.
One of the main issues we confront today as artists, thinkers and activists, is the fragmentation of our landscapes and the difficulty of access to mainstream media.
The artistic and cultural field remains a field where only a few actors achieve a mega status and become icons. Which strategy should be used to raise the number of multiplicators and create networks to get support and collaboration?
The participants in the workshop came from different fields, writers, students, filmmakers, anthropologists, journalists, visual artists, economists, researchers.
Annemie Maes presented the Indian Barefoot College project, a successful example of alternative education and empowerment of women in rural areas in Asia and Africa. With a focus on sustainable techniques related to solar energy women from rural areas are trained during 6 months to become solar engineers. The goal is to enlighten their home villages and use their new skills to empower the local communities with energy based on solar PV and solar cookers, teach other women and share their newly obtained knowledge in an hands-on way.
Films from Bolivia and Palestine were also showed as examples of grassroots engagement and networking. The borders between art, technology and activism are often vague and it’s interesting to reflect upon their specificity and special demands.