This phenomenological study highlights the ability of artistic activists to utilize art for political, creative, and social change. Artistic activism is a tool that can be used to mobilize people from different backgrounds to achieve a goal or challenge injustices (Mouffe, 2007). The best practices of artistic activists can be shared with others to positively transform society and address sensitive issues. Increased access to the internet and social media has facilitated the proliferation of art, politics, and culture which has caused a greater influence on people on local, national, and worldwide levels. This influence can have profound effects on the way that individual identities are formed in society. It can also lead to either nonviolent or aggressive social protests. Artistic activists understand that activism can constitute some level of cost for artists and creators. However, many artistic activists view the cost as necessary to obtain their goals. This study pinpoints the discrepancies between the majority entertainment leaders which are white males and three underrepresented groups: Women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQIA community. Critical Race, Feminism, Queer, and Adult Learning theories provide a lens through which these discrepancies are analyzed. This analysis leads to the overall theory of Transformational Change and provides an explanation of how and why individuals, groups, and sectors of society form alliances behind a common cause. Six common causes emerge from the literature: Togetherness, Consciousness, Communication of Feelings, Action, Finances and Resources, and Escapism. Nine elements from the study participants are developed as non-negotiables for artistic activists.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Arts -- Political aspects; Politics in art; Social problems in art; Artists and community

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Farzin Madjidi