Fresh from the Field: Growing Leadership Skills Through Art and Creativity

Art is an important aspect of all of our work because art transcends social, cultural, and geographic barriers. It can convey thoughts and feelings that are sometimes difficult to express, especially if they are deeply personal. It can provide a new perspective on complex ideas. At the same time, the visuals and sounds of art linger with us, solidifying the message in our minds and hearts and further inspiring action.

This is why we train emerging and seasoned leaders to utilize art as a tool to amplify their activism. Participants in our trainings, whether through the Creative Environmental Leadership Program or the East African Girls’ Leadership Summit and Mentor Program and most recently Sauti Ya Dada, learn how to weave art and creativity into their advocacy efforts (detailed in our most recent Annual Report).

But did you know that art and creativity can be used to develop leadership skills?

Participants in our Creative Collaboration course in Peru use art to grow as leaders, examine environmental issues in their communities, and learn to be more collaborative as leaders and in identifying solutions to local challenges. So far in the course, participants have used art in the following activities:

  • Creating their own mandalas to explore the ways their social identities have privileged (see picture), advanced, disadvantaged, or caused them to suffer;

Mandalas created by the Peru cohort

  • Designing inclusive ways to reach groups who live in more remote locations without access to internet, such as reviving radio communication or creating a “travel kit” for educational efforts

As the Creative Collaboration course comes to an end and our Creative Advocacy trainings begin, we look forward to see what the next cohort of emerging and seasoned grassroots leaders create in their journeys to build a more just and sustainable planet.