There was an interesting TED conference video about the power of arts to drive social change from a November session in India. I have seen performance pieces that deal with sexual assault and violence before, but the speaker, Mallika Sarabhai, shows examples of using skits and songs to advance public health concerns. In this case, to teach people to filter their drinking water through clean cotton cloths folded eight times.
Some of her examples are polemical, but after finishing her first piece she points out that a performance about a controversial topic is a lot more palatable than walking in the room and announcing that you are going to talk about the controversial topic. She argues that social leaders who strive for change need to harness the universal language of the arts to bring it about.
My favorite quote: “You have treated the arts as the cherry on the cake. It needs to be the yeast.”