Arts for social change

Some interesting online discussions of late about how social marketing can use the creative sector, and how creative industries can use social marketing.

Among these, a couple of fascinating resources from Nil Navaie of Arts for Development, that I excerpt here with Nil’s permission:

The [creative] industry involves employees of arts and cultural organizations, industry related equipment and material suppliers, educational institutions, businesses and services in architecture, design, fashion, arts and antiques, advertising, museum, entertainment, film, video, computer games, TV, radio, and more.

The creative economy is estimated to be worth $2.2 trillion globally.

In fact a few years ago the Arts for Global Development (Art4Development.Net) initiative (and I) conducted a research focusing on the creativity sector and the way it interacts with social change processes worldwide.

The findings of that international online survey are compiled under a report titled “CreativeChange WorldWide”. The document also focuses on Creative Social Entrepreneurship, and provides examples on how arts, in any type and style, is used by individuals and organizations in creating a positive change, particularly in achieving goals that were set at the UN Summit in 2000 (the Millennium Development Goals).


You may find more information about this document and its corresponding projects (that we have been co-organizing with the UN Millennium Campaign and TakingITGlobal) at:

Another paper examining creative industry/arts in the marketing field is the “Societal arts marketing: a multi-sectoral, inter-disciplinary and international perspective” titled chapter in Arts Marketing book published by Elsevier in 2004. (  This chapter focuses on arts marketing with a twist of social responsibility!


  1. I am glad to hear this discussion as well.
    I am trained in health communication from Tufts Med but have been engaged in art.

    And until Hurricane Katrina, I have been looking to create ways to blend arts and health on a macro- and community behavior change level. Arts have value to the community from so many different angles. I wish to explore the possibilities.

    I began as a great project to engage the community into the arts to bring awareness of change needed in our communities. By working on this I have developed a nonprofit, Creative Cause, to help develop a community of other creatives who believe in using their talents for a social change in our communities and who are lending their talents to do that. To further my exploration in this area I am going to NYU in partnership wit WHO this summer to complete a program in integrated marketing communication for behavioral impact in health and social development.

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