July 01, 2022

Engine for Art, Democracy & Justice

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EADJ is a trans-institutional collaboration between Vanderbilt University, Fisk University, Frist Art Museum, & Millions of Conversations. This initiative is a platform for creative and social exploration in the development of new knowledge and practices

 

The current “United Nations Guidelines on Safer Cities” take a new and welcome peoplecentered approach to improving urban life. Until recently, safety was generally understood as security and pursued in top-down strategies of policing and infrastructure. The visual effect of the new document adds participatory arts to the agenda for urban safety; but there is yet no verbal link between art-making and safety. The Guidelines show pictures of collective arts that reduce violence but don’t comment on what the arts do for safety. A brightly painted barrio,ii graffiti murals, hip hop singers, break dancers, and a gender balanced drumming band all appear as decoration, it seems, rather than illustration. iii This is a costly blind spot.The current “United Nations Guidelines on Safer Cities” take a new and welcome peoplecentered approach to improving urban life. Until recently, safety was generally understood as security and pursued in top-down strategies of policing and infrastructure.

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