Immigration: Arts, Culture and Media 2010 / A Creative Change Report
In fall 2009, The Opportunity Agenda launched an Immigration Arts and Culture Initiative with the goal of fostering arts, culture, and media activities that promote the inclusion, integration, and human rights of immigrants in the United States. As part of the initiative, this research study was conducted to identify examples of arts, culture, and media projects that effectively move hearts and minds, break down prejudice, inspire community engagement, and, in the long term, encourage public support for the fair treatment and inclusion of immigrants in American society. The study draws out theories of change with respect to cultural strategies, notions of best practices, challenges in arts and immigration work, and offers recommendations for those working at the intersection of immigration advocacy and the arts. In contrast to some other social justice fields—health care reform or green jobs for example—immigration may be more inherently culturally based. By virtue of the immigrant’s path in life—moving from one culture to another, experiencing displacement—there is a compelling motivation to preserve, celebrate, and express one’s story and heritage. From films to theater to online video, from campaign-driven activist art to work that is more personally expressive or culturally celebratory; from high art to pop culture, commercial media to community-based arts, there is a rich and robust trove of creativity, diverse in form, content, audience, and intention.