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Harnessing the Power of Identity & The Arts for Social Transformation

Exploring innovative approaches in East Africa and beyond Download Toolkit null


shapes our beliefs, values and sense of belonging


enable us to explore our identities, tell our stories, and challenge social norms

Identity and the arts can be a catalyst for positive change



Positively impact individuals and communities, fostering cohesion, understanding, and peace.



Leverage the rich diversity as a source of strength and unity



Understand how division and conflict is created to counter it more effectively

Download the Tool Kit PDF

2024 Edition. This tool kit was produced in collaboration with UNESCO to support practitioners to harness the power of identity for social transformation.


“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed”

- UNESCO Constitution

The Workshop

Our recent October 2023 workshop kickstarted the network and consisted of brilliant contributions.


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OICD - UNESCO Identity and Arts for Social Change Network


What is the purpose of the Identity and Arts for Social Change Network?

UNESCO’s renewed vision for education and the Framework for Culture and Arts Education outlines the need for;

'an education that equips individuals and communities with the knowledge and skillset to flourish together in increasingly culturally-diverse societies, and to build peaceful and inclusive societies anchored in learning that nurtures critical thinking, creativity, innovation and socio-emotional skills. This is only possible through the recognition and encouragement of creative expression, diverse behaviors, beliefs, values and symbols, which derives from culture and arts education.'

The purpose of the Identity and Arts for Social Transformataion Network is to create a dynamic and inclusive platform where organizations committed to this vision can come together to harness the transformative potential of identity and the arts. This network serves as a hub for knowledge exchange, collaboration, and resource-sharing, uniting artists, NGOs, civil society organizations, and government departments in their shared mission to address pressing societal issues through creative and artistic expressions. 


How can my organization benefit from joining this network?

 By becoming a member, you gain access to a dynamic community of like-minded entities with shared goals and a wealth of expertise in leveraging identity and the arts for social impact. This network provides opportunities for collaboration, enabling your organization to engage in innovative projects and partnerships, thereby expanding your reach and impact. You'll have access to resources, including best practices, case studies, and capacity-building tools that can enhance the effectiveness of your social transformation initiatives. Additionally, the network serves as a platform for knowledge exchange, allowing you to stay informed about the latest research, funding opportunities, and events in the field. 


Who can join the network?

The Identity and Arts for Social Transformation Network welcomes a diverse range of organizations that share a common commitment to harnessing the power of identity and the arts for positive social change. Our network is open to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations, and government departments, both at local and international levels. Whether you are a grassroots community organization, a cultural institution, a government agency, or an advocacy group, if you are passionate about using creative and artistic expressions to address pressing social issues and promote positive change, you are invited to join our network.


Is there a cost associated with joining the network?

No, joining the network is free and access to the resources will remain free for all members


What is the role of identity in social change through the arts?

Across the world, the form and nature of conflict and division is changing, with increasing deliberate attacks on cultural heritage, and attempts to instrumentalize or “weaponize” identity, ethnicity and culture. Building effective approaches to recognize and value different identities is of critical importance to achieving unity in diversity, respect for difference, social cohesion, reconciliation and sustainable development. Such approaches are vital tools in addressing the rising tide of intolerance, violence and threats to freedom of expression which challenge fundamental human rights and peaceful coexistence.


How can the arts be used as a tool for social change?

Culture and arts education emerges as a key tool to address the complex threats. Arts education has the potential to increase communities’ resilience against divisive manipulation. Drawing upon histories, traditions, endogenous knowledge, music, literature, drama, languages, and different forms of cultural expressions, arts education programs and interventions can be strategically deployed to prevent and respond to identity and cultural weaponization. Please see the toolkit for more information


What resources or support does the network provide to its members?


How does the network facilitate collaboration and partnerships between organizations?

The Identity and Arts for Social Change Network is dedicated to fostering collaboration and partnerships among member organizations through several key mechanisms:

1. We envision more regular events, conferences, and workshops where members can meet, exchange ideas, and explore potential collaborations. 

2. Members have access to a dedicated online platform or portal where they can share information about their projects, expertise, and collaboration interests. 

3. The network may actively facilitate collaborations by identifying common goals or areas of interest among its members and suggesting potential partnerships.

4. Members can access a repository of resources, best practices, and case studies related to identity and arts for social change. This information can inspire collaborative projects and provide guidance on successful strategies.

5. The network may inform its members about relevant funding opportunities and grants for collaborative projects, helping organizations secure the resources needed for their initiatives.

6. The network encourages members to share their expertise and skills, enabling organizations to tap into the diverse knowledge base within the community and seek advice and guidance from experienced peers.


What kinds of training or capacity-building resources are available to network members?

The Organization for Identity and Cultural Development offers a range of training and capacity-building resources to empower its members in their social change endeavors. These resources may include:

1. Workshops and Webinars: The network regularly hosts virtual and in-person workshops and webinars on various topics related to identity and the arts for social change. These events provide members with opportunities to enhance their skills, knowledge, and best practices.

2. Training Modules: We provide training which covers how human identities work, identity in community engagement, and how to leverage identity research for artistic expressions. 

3. Expert Consultations: The network may connect members with subject matter experts who can provide one-on-one consultations or mentoring in specific areas of interest, offering personalized guidance and support.

4. Toolkits and Resources: A toolkit of resources designed to facilitate the planning and execution of social change projects will be available to members to streamline their efforts and ensure their projects are successful.

5. Research and Publications: Access to research findings, publications, and reports on identity and arts for social change, providing insights and knowledge to inform members' work.


How can the network help organizations secure funding for their social change projects?

We encourage members to collaborate on projects and initiatives. Artists, NGOs and government departments can work together on proposals and applications for funding opportunities, leveraging their complementary strengths and resources.

We are built on the foundations of knowledge and resource sharing where grants and fundraising strategies can be shared between members. OICD is able to help implement a system to monitor and track the outcomes of funded projects, and highlight the impact of such initiatives to the funders and government.


How can government departments collaborate with NGOs and civil society organizations within the network?

Collaboration between government departments, NGOs, civil society organizations and artists within the network is crucial for effectively leveraging identity and arts for social change. Here are some steps and strategies to facilitate such collaboration:

1. Establish Clear Communication Channels:

- Create open and accessible communication channels within the network where government representatives, NGOs, and civil society organizations can engage in discussions, share updates, and express their collaboration interests.

2. Joint Initiatives and Projects:

- Encourage the development of joint initiatives and projects that address social issues through the arts. Provide a platform for members to propose, plan, and collaborate on projects that align with their shared goals.

3. Working Groups and Task Forces:

- Form working groups or task forces dedicated to specific issues or themes. These groups can consist of government officials, NGOs, and civil society representatives who work together to develop solutions and initiatives.

4. Regular Meetings and Workshops:

- Host regular meetings, webinars, and workshops that bring government departments, NGOs, and civil society organizations together to discuss common challenges, opportunities, and best practices.

5. Resource Sharing and Expertise Exchange:

- Facilitate the sharing of resources, expertise, and knowledge among members. Encourage government departments to share data, research, and insights that can benefit NGOs and civil society groups.

6. Capacity-Building and Training:

- Offer capacity-building sessions and training programs that focus on collaboration skills, communication, and understanding the needs and constraints of each sector.

7. Advocacy and Policy Engagement:

- Collaborate on advocacy efforts to influence policies that support identity and arts-based social change initiatives. Government representatives can work alongside NGOs and civil society organizations to advance common objectives.

8. Funding Opportunities:

- Act as a conduit for sharing funding opportunities, grants, and resources available to support collaborative projects. Promote joint grant applications and partnerships for funding opportunities.

9. Monitoring and Evaluation:

- Implement a shared monitoring and evaluation framework to assess the impact of collaborative projects. Regularly report on the outcomes and achievements of joint initiatives.

10. Community Engagement and Outreach:

- Collaborate on community engagement and outreach efforts to ensure that the voice and concerns of the affected communities are addressed in identity and arts-based projects.

11. Conflict Resolution Mechanisms:

- Develop conflict resolution mechanisms to address any disputes or disagreements that may arise during collaborative efforts, ensuring that issues are resolved amicably.

12. Recognize and Celebrate Successes:

- Celebrate and recognize successful collaborative projects and initiatives to inspire further cooperation and demonstrate the positive impact of working together.

By implementing these strategies and fostering a culture of collaboration, government departments, NGOs, and civil society organizations can effectively work together within the network to advance their shared mission of using identity and the arts for social change.

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