Share Article   
Submit to Facebook

New publication on the relation

between art and politics

IETM, international network for the performing arts, launches its new publication The Art of Disobedience, that looks at how art interferes and engages with politics. It is the third issue of IETM’s Fresh Perspectives – series of publications exploring how the contemporary arts sector is engaged with the crucial issues of today’s reality.  The Art of Disobedience is produced in collaboration with LIFT – London International Festival of Theatre and written by Daniel Gorman.


Artists have power. The power not just to create, but also to transform. For as long as ‘art’ has existed, it has been ‘socially-engaged’. Political art, socially-engaged art, art activism, is nothing new. However, the world is becoming more political. What role do artists have at this key moment, where political engagement and apathy lie side by side? What is art for?

Artist, cultural manager and activist Daniel Gorman is the author of this challenging publication. Talking from his own practical experience in Europe and in zones in times of conflict, he takes us on a journey through four crucial questions:

  • What use are the arts when your country is burning?
  • Can the arts help to build a better world?
  • Can you accept funding for your arts coming from ethically controversial sponsors?
  • Is it ‘right’ to call for the cultural boycott of a country?

With courage, experience and lucidity, the author presents the complexity of the topic, not giving in to pessimism, and providing food for thought both for seasoned practitioners and for beginners in the arena of politically engaged arts.

This publication focuses primarily on case studies which are based on in- person, online and email interviews, with further support from questionnaires completed by over 60 individuals from the IETM network and wider afield.

As usual for the Fresh Perspectives series, The Art of Disobedience aims to scratch the surface of some of the important debates currently taking place in the contemporary arts sector. We hope this new issue will further the discussion within the IETM membership and with the wider international performing arts community. The opportunity to continue the conversation was our recent plenary meeting – IETM Budapest 2015 on the theme Democracy.

Fresh Perspectives 3: The Art of Disobedience

Free download at

All IETM Publications:

IETM’s Fresh Perspectives

is a series of publications that explore how the contemporary arts sector is engaged with the crucial issues of today's societies: politics, economy, gender, environment, globalisation, etc. Fresh Perspectives give an expert’s view on the value of contemporary arts and cultural practice to individuals and society.


is a dynamic, engaged and forward-looking network for the performing arts sector as well as a resource and reference point for innovative contemporary art. IETM consists of over 550 subscribing professional performing arts organisations from more than 50 countries. They are engaged in innovative, contemporary performance work and are committed to cross-border artistic exchange and collaboration.


For over three decades LIFT has presented the stories of the world to every corner and community of London, supporting and nurturing artists and organisations who have changed the landscape of arts practice in the UK. The core values of LIFT remain constant: being passionate about providing opportunities that develop the talent, skills and creativity of artists and young people and that break down the barriers to participation in the arts.