Through our work we are exploring the role of arts and creativity in growing a more caring society. Could arts be a ‘superconductor’ for kindness?
We believe that the arts have the potential to strengthen our capacity for empathy, friendship, social bonds and concern for others, including future generations; and in turn growing kinder, socially cohesive communities.
The arts can entertain and delight us. They magnify how we think and feel. They can challenge, surprise, disrupt, provoke and cause offence. They tell stories of our own and others’ lives, and help us imagine other worlds and other ways of being. Over the centuries people have believed that the arts have profound effects, both positive and negative.
We are not arguing that every encounter with the arts can or should be expected to have a positive impact. However, for People United, setting out purposefully to promote social change, we are adamant that trying to understand what happens when people experience the arts is vital.
If you are interested in this area of work, please get in touch through our contact page. We are interested in developing links with like-minded academics, organisations and individuals.
When times are tough and the loudest voices that are heard are often the harshest, it is easy to think that acts of individual and collective kindness must be amongst the first casualties. So it is hugely heartening to read this paper – it affirms both the power of kindness and the transformative potential of the arts in relation to it. As a starting point for a wider debate, it connects evidence to theory, underpinned by People United’s own practice, and I recommend it to anyone trying to tell the story about how their work helps to make the world a better place.
Moira Sinclair, Executive Director London and the Southeast, Arts Council England