CAHSS Faculty Presentations, Proceedings, Lectures, and Symposia


Art as a Way of Facilitating Social Change Processes

Event Name

Fourteenth International Conference on the Arts in Society

Event Location

Lisbon, Portugal


Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Presentation Date


Date Range:

2019-06-19 to 2019-06-21


As humans, our forms of communications are widely learned through our community, except for visuals. Visual information is the first and most important form of communication that spans universally throughout cultures and history. Images have an international language of their own, making them the most primal and interpretive source of information one can provide. In this paper, we introduce social polygraphy, a methodology used to facilitate social change processes. This methodology relies heavily on visuals, like drawing, mapping, and other diverse artistic expressions, to interact, initiate dialogue and participate in mutual learning with diverse populations. Engaging in social processes with populations that are different from our own, whether that be age, culture, background, or beliefs, can be extraordinarily challenging, especially if we are dealing with conflicting views. Through the process of social polygraphy, participants uncover the wealth of information and knowledge that resides in them, better understand the positions of others, and can find diverse ways of reaching a mutual understanding. We illustrate the steps of the methodology with a case from an Afro-Colombia community.