This book explores the role that arts and culture can play in supporting global international development.

The book argues that arts and culture are fundamental to human development and can bring considerable positive results for helping to empower communities and provide new ways of looking at social transformation. Whilst most literature addresses culture in abstract terms, this book focuses on practice-based, collective, community-focused, sustainability-minded, and capacity-building examples of arts and development. The book draws on case studies from around the world, investigating the different ways practitioners are imagining or defining the role of arts and culture in Belize, Canada, China, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Kosovo, Malawi, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, the USA, and Western Sahara refugee camps in Algeria. The book highlights the importance of situated practice, asking what questions or concerns practitioners have and inviting a dialogic sharing of resources and possibilities across different contexts.

Seeking to highlight practices and conversations outside normative frameworks of understanding, this book will be a breath of fresh air to practitioners, policy makers, students, and researchers from across the fields of global development, social work, art therapy, and visual and performing arts education.

chapter |16 pages


Bringing forth human expression, forming identity, and empowering communities through arts and culture: Who defines it? Who is it for? Who gets to do it?

chapter 1|17 pages

A temple of art in the middle of the desert

Reflections on creating Motif Art Studio and the role of art in the Sahrawi refugee camps

chapter 2|21 pages

A Painted Conversation

Narratives in community-based mural making processes

chapter 3|14 pages

Ojos que Sienten

Changing the narrative of seeing through sensory photography

chapter 4|17 pages

Turning higher education hierarchies inside out

Sticky encounters in co-designing a community centre using multimodal interventions

chapter 6|14 pages

Healing and education through the arts

A HEART-based approach

chapter 11|14 pages

Bridging communities through innovation

Art, design, and entrepreneurship: COPE NYC

chapter 12|16 pages

Feminist art and education

Facilitating a cross-cultural exchange: U.S.–China Art Summit

chapter 13|20 pages

Moving the margins in Malawi

Culturally responsive art education for girls