Photo of a performer during a performance of "Once Upon a Time"

There is a lot of talk about the worth and value of the Arts and whether or not they really do have the power to change the world.

I have personally known experienced and valued the power of the Arts. I have first hand experience of witnessing life-changing moments not only in myself but in others too.

I was very disappointed recently when I attended a workshop and heard panellists who should be advocating for the Arts, since they represent them, saying ‘arts cannot change the world’. How I so so so disagree.

I can understand that you might believe that a night out is not going to change your life. It might provoke you but change the world? But who knows it might have been the first time you have experienced a live performance and even if it is not, as long as it’s got an emotional truth about it, it will resonate, it should move something within you.

And if you actually participate in making Art the impact on your emotional, intellectual wellbeing is immeasurable. I have stayed in the Arts only because at the tender age of 20 I understood the impact of empathy, the impact of censorship and free speech, the power of unheard voices being listened to through theatre, dance, photos, film, music.

Most of my creative life has been in the joyful pursuit of engaging and enabling people, watching as they came out of depression, found their voice, their self worth, self esteem, self confidence so that they were able to simply hold their head up and look into someone’s eyes without averting their gaze. That’s the Arts effecting change.

I have watched people make their owns decisions and demand choices, I have watched them stay on in the Arts or find their direction in a job or further education. That’s the power of the Arts.

All of us who work in community, applied, participatory or educational Arts know and understand its potential to impact on society.

It enables difficulties and issues to be raised and discussed openly, it can generate momentum that challenges provision and legislation.

We at Spare Tyre are constantly walking that tightrope of Arts and Advocacy. The Arts acts as a catalyst, stimulus, mirror and in science these are all causes of change.