Words into actions: Can artist-led manifestos create real change?

This Nestival of Ideas panel discussion was held at The Nest on March 18th 2022. Artists create manifestos as artworks, tools, provocations, rallying points, handbooks…. Just how effective are manifestos at creating change? And what can we do to make them more effective?

The panel features Zed Lawal, whose work includes the More Than A Moment Pledge for action with and for Black creatives; Dan Thompson, who most recently pulled together the Coventry Artists’ Manifesto for Access; and Derek Nisbet, Co-Artistic Director of Talking Birds, whose most famous manifesto is the Virtual Fringe. It was chaired by Philippa Cross.

L-R: Chair Philippa Cross, and panellists Zed Lawal, Dan Thompson and Derek Nisbet.

Nestival of Ideas Ep 1 – Artist Manifestos Talking Birds‘ Podcasts

Nestival of Ideas talk/panel discussion held at The Nest 18th March 2022 Words Into Actions: Can artist-led manifestos create real change? Artists create manifestos as artworks, tools, provocations, rallying points, handbooks….  Just how effective are manifestos at creating change? And what can we do to make them more effective?  What does a manifesto look like and what happens when it is finished? How do we galvanise people behind a manifesto? What are some of the barriers to change, and can artist-led manifestos creatively overcome these?  Are artist-led manifestos any more or less effective than other kinds of manifestos (or action)? Are manifestos something that artists in particular are drawn to?  How do we use manifestos to keep momentum and can we achieve real change through manifestos alone, or are they more effective as part of a suite of actions?  How do we use the manifesto to keep actively pushing at things even when they drop off the news agenda? How do we avoid empty words, good intentions or virtue signalling? The panel includes Elizabeth Lawal, whose work includes More Than A Moment Pledge for action with and for Black creatives; Dan Thompson, who most recently pulled together the Coventry Artists' Manifesto for Access; and Derek Nisbet, composer, film-maker and Co-Artistic Director of Talking Birds, talking about The Virtual Fringe (2004). Chaired by Philippa Cross, General Manager of Talking Birds.
  1. Nestival of Ideas Ep 1 – Artist Manifestos
  2. Words and Music Recorded (BBC R3) live in Coventry (extract)
  3. Into The (Russian) Ice
  4. Into The Ice
  5. Danse Macabre

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