CFP: The Aesthetics of Creative Activism

Apologies for the re-posting, there was some confusion regarding the deadline for submissions, which is August 2022 (not 2021).

(A special issue of the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism)

Guest Editors: Elspeth Tilley and Nicholas Holm

As both a field of study and form of practice, creative activism seeks to understand how artistic forms can serve the ends of activist interventions. To date, most emphasis has been on the activism component, drawing on theories of social movement formation, participatory action, and community organising. While there has been passing mention of aesthetics (relying heavily upon Rancière) the ‘creative’ term in creative activism remains woefully undertheorized. There are some scholars who have asked important questions about affect and effect, but overall, creative activism is ripe for deeper research into and theorisation of its aesthetic forms. Key questions include how creative activism differs from other activism, what makes it creative, and how (whether) the artistic components function effectively to achieve or enhance social change.

The Editors welcome submissions on any philosophically informed exploration of artistic forms as activist interventions., including, but not limited to:

• Ethics and morality in and of artistic activism
• Relationships between aesthetic value and artistic activism
• Affect and effect in and of creative activism
• Race, creativity and social justice: from jazz music to BLM and beyond
• Advancing an aesthetic theory of creative activism
• Didacticism and its discontents
• Pandemic shock, climate grief, and compassion fatigue: artistic responses to overwhelming topics
• Catharsis and creative activism: compatible or opposing forces?
• Creative activists as futurists: the role of artistic imagination in accelerating social change and generating future solutions
• Creative activism evaluation: how does scholarship from aesthetics and art criticism help us determine outcomes and effectiveness?
• First-order change versus second-order change: can art achieve systemic alteration or only awareness and individual empowerment?
• Critically analysing the forms, claims and creative processes of artistic activism: avoiding art-washing, and challenging assumptions about what works, what has value, and why
• Decolonization, anti-capitalism, and the role of creative activism in resistance or transformation

Publication is expected in Spring 2023. The deadline for submission is August 1, 2022.

Submissions should not exceed 7,500 words and must comply with the general guidelines for submissions (see “Author Guidelines” on the JAAC page on the Oxford University Press website: Upload submissions to the JAAC online submission website,, making sure they are identified as submissions for the special issue.

If you have questions please contact:
Nicholas Holm < [log in to unmask]> or Elspeth Tilley < [log in to unmask]>

For the complete cfp:




Dr Nicholas Holm |Senior Lecturer in Media Studies

Building 7, Room 7C43 |Massey University |Wellington |Aotearoa New Zealand

DDI 04 979 3544 |ext. 63544 | [log in to unmask]

Recent Publications
Holm, N. (2021)
No Time for Fun: The Politics of Partying during a Pandemic, Cultural Studies 35.2-3.

Holm, N. (2020) Bright Grey: The Political Dialectic Of Bureaucratic Boredom, New Formations 100.

Holm, N. (2020) Consider the (Feral) Cat: Ferality, Biopower, and the Ethics of Predation, Society and Animals (Online Advance).

Holm, N. (2017) Humour as Politics, Palgrave MacMillan.


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