chapter  6
26 Pages

New narratives

Rethinking activism through art in the youth project ‘Voices that Shake!’
ByPaula Serafini

This chapter examines the case of Shake!, a radical education programme on art and activism that provides young, marginalised people with tools for devising creative responses to social injustices. By drawing on interviews and instances of observant participation, as well as poems written by participants, this chapter focuses on three main themes: first, the use of spoken word as an embodied, performative practice that can be adopted as a form of personal transformation and political action. Second, the relationship between the individual process of self-transformation and the collective fight for structural change, building on and contextualising ideas on prefiguration developed in Chapter 3 and ideas on collective identity developed in Chapter 1. And third, the instrumentalisation of art as a tool for social change in the specific context of a radical pedagogy project centred on environmental and racial justice. This leads to a discussion on the nature of activism and how by looking at art as a form of political action we can reconsider and contextualise certain notions of what constitutes a political and an activist act, drawing mainly from Rancière’s concept of dissensus.