Alliance Magazine March 2015: ‘Why should philanthropists fund the arts?’

Should philanthropists and foundations fund artists directly to create the art they want to make? Should they fund theatres and galleries to make art more available to more people? Should they fund only work that explicitly promotes social change? Or should they fund the arts ‘in their own right’ – whatever that means? 

These are the questions that run through all the articles and interviews in the March issue of Alliance.

This issue was orginally proposed to the Alliance editorial board by the Working Group on Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace. The proposal was a result of an inquiry embarked upon by the Working Group in 2013 with the objective to stimulate and leverage conversation about how philanthropy can use arts and culture for social justice and peace work. It resulted in a paper entitled, ‘Framing the Discourse, Advancing the Work – Philanthropy at the Nexus of Peace and Social Justice and Arts and Culture’ by Moukhtar Kocache. The paper looks into existing practice, information and tools on the use of arts and culture for social justice and peace-building, examines the key dynamics and questions around philanthropy’s engagement at this nexus and makes recommendations to increase the impact of funding at this nexus.

The March 2015 Alliance issue edited by Hania Aswad (of the Naseej Foundation and the Working Group on Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace) and Fiona Ellis (of Millfield House Foundation) helps to further the inquiry initiated by the Working Group and highlights different perspectives and approaches to the work. Moukhtar Kocache said,

“This issue is critical if philanthropy is to broaden its vision and scope of interest and to really respond to the way communities and activists are increasingly blurring the lines between disciplines and practices for the sake of social change. Systemic radical theories of change in today’s world must consider the role of expression, culture and how individuals and communities craft new values and perspectives in their day to day missions for development and social justice; this special issue of the Alliance magazine helps shed light on the various ways this can be approached, comprehended and supported.”

Subscribers can read the electronic issue here.

Read the article ‘Why do dictators lock up the poets first?  by the guest editors, here.