Word Travels

The art form known as Spoken word  is defined as “an oral art that focuses
on the aesthetics of word play and intonation and voice inflection.” It includes many kinds of poetry recited aloud, from 
hip-hop to traditional poetry readings to poetry slams

Developed to “inspire and inform”, art association Word Travels  calls
those inspired by ‘spoken word’ to “speak, scream, sing, rap, howl or whisper” their way to empowerment.
 Through practices of representation and participation, Word Travels provides a ‘unique global stage’ for artists. Abe Nouk is one such artist. Listen to his voice, hear his strength and prepare for his courage, as you watch his following performance…

Abe Nouk

Abe Nouk – Spoken-Word Poet, MC, Author, Hip Hop Fanatic

It is my belief, injustice and oppression feeds on fear and silence. In direct opposition; Word Travels! Coming out into full view, challenging minds and hearts and reconciling lives.  

Word Travels echoes social justice deep within its Core Beliefs of…

People build personal strength and confidence through creative expression.
Communities build strength through unified creative expression.
Artists are catalysts for change.
Everyone is the hero of their own story.
Live humans sharing their thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams and stories with you are extremely valuable.
Respect, explore, engage and attempt to understand a variety of cultures, languages and beliefs.

Poetic Justice

Poets have long expressed art through verse to accentuate discontent, shame and hope. Words coalesce to pen an artists purpose. From this expressive practice of social justice, lyrics have the potential to call us to action.

Take the life of Judith Wright,  a poet, environmentalist, social activist, and a formidable force in progressing Australian conservation and Aboriginal land rights. Her daughter, Meredith McKinney said of her mother’s conservation polemic;  “In the beginning it was just really because she could see the destruction happening to the natural habitat, she could see it was happening everywhere and nobody seemed to be doing anything. She said, ‘This can’t go on.’” Meredith lamented that Judith realized many people shared the same feelings yet there was no action because nobody knew what to do. 

Many accounts of Judith’s life point to her natural inclination to retreat. Against these odds, and out of a belief of pure necessity, Judith became a persuasive catalyst for change. Judith exemplifies the “creative ethical and ecological dialogue” discussed in the Conservation Biology paper “Promoting predators and compassionate conservation”, Wallach, Bekoff & others (2015). Her poetic legacy, calls those who are willing to listen, to continue to act for the protection of our natural habitat. 

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‘Sounds for Social Justice’ can be heard in Judith’s poem as she laments on the sacred life of lyrebirds in her respect for conservation. 

Lyrebirds – Poem by Judith Wright

Over the west side of the mountain,
that’s lyrebird country.
I could go down there, they say, in the early morning,
and I’d see them, I’d hear them.

Ten years, and I have never gone.
I’ll never go.
I’ll never see the lyrebirds –
the few, the shy, the fabulous,
the dying poets.

I should see them, if I lay there in the dew:
first a single movement
like a waterdrop falling, then stillness,
then a brown head, brown eyes,
a splendid bird, bearing
like a crest the symbol of his art,
the high symmetrical shape of the perfect lyre.
I should hear that master practising his art.

No, I have never gone.
Some things ought to be left secret, alone;
some things – birds like walking fables –
ought to inhabit nowhere but the reverence of the heart.


Talkin Bout’ a Revolution



Music holds the power to expose inequality, and influence social change. Tone, beat, rhythm and lyrics blend to give rise to social cohesion. It crosses divides in culture, attitudes and beliefs; igniting unity. Music has the ability to remove ‘them and us’ even for the transient moment of a song. Watch below for an inspiring example! Follow the link (at the end of video) for a FREE album by ‘Empty Hands’.

Commonly used as a practice of social justice, music helps to gain campaign momentum. If you think about it, even protest chants use rhythm for effect…no, no we won’t go!

Pete Seeger 1919 – 2014, an American folk singer and social activist

Guo and Tsui (2010) state “resistance and rebellion are still important strategies for people at grassroots level.” One band that can be viewed through this lens is Midnight Oil. Their music and activism brought Australian Aboriginal land rights into the spotlight. Lead singer Peter Garrett’s  “resistance and rebellion” can be heard in his quote; “even if your pushed to the wall for the things you believe in, don’t give in!”

Tracey Chapman’s song ‘Talk‘n’ bout’ a Revolution’ perpetuated the notion that people would rise up out of inequality when she sang “finally the tables are starting to turn”.  It could be interpreted this indicates an end; a Marxist view of delivering equality in every way to everyone. https://politicaltunes.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/tracy-chapman-talkin-bout-a-revolution/ Tracey’s view of ‘an end’ is in direct contrast to James Tully Struggles over Recognition and Distribution (2000) who states there is “no end to the struggle for recognition and distribution.”

In 1986 renown folk singer Bruce Cockburn argued that the “foreign policy of powerful countries is about making a buck” and “not lifting people in poor places out of their misery.”  https://politicaltunes.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/bruce-cockburn-call-it-democracy/  This poignant remark could continue to serve as a a wake up call to those in power.

Further musical Sounds for Social Justice can be found via following links:










Take it to the Streets

Image result for art that changed the world:

Social justice motivated art is not about telling you what to think or feel. It aims to be seen, then heard, then in hope, create change.  In the most public display of social dialogue, Street Art speaks out loud and clear.

don't be scared:















The Mexican city of Pachuca decided to use art in an attempt to reduce acts of violence and environmental decay.  “Artistic activities have long been used by professionals as a powerful tool in developing the individuals’ social functioning and increasing their life quality.” http://www.ijssh.org/vol6/679-CH402.pdf 
A youth organisation called Germen Crew engaged young locals in “filling with colour” the whole neighbourhood.  http://thebutterflyhunter.net/8-reasons-to-love-street-art/  Here is the result!


Berlin wall has a long history of street art. It began as an act of rebellion to the dictatorship and to call for a free and united nation. “All the differences between the countries made it a perfect place for people to express their opinions, especially on their preferences and dislikes.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Wall_graffiti_art

Berlin wall. Royalty Free Stock Photos
Bruderkiss by Dmitrji Vrubel “God! help me stay alive” “Among this mortal love”











Bansky street art is some of the world’s most well-known.  His street art and public sculptural installments centre on issues of inequality for children, western culture discourse, power dynamics and consumerism.  Check out his website: http://banksy.co.uk/out.asp

The tenets of injustice described in HAS 200 week 1 reading (Dorling and Daniel, 2010), address the five belief structures in which injustice exists.  Follow onto Bansky’s street art images below to find out my interpretation of his works in relation to two of these tenets.  These images are captioned with the suggested tenet title.

Not a HAS 200 student? no problem, just follow the link:


Do the following Banksy images evoke any response in you?

Post me your thoughts/comments…


The Power of Storytelling


We Are But Seeds of Social Change — street art in northeast Denver

For centuries people have told their stories through music, image and performance.
Using the art of storytelling through mediums such as poetry slams, music festivals, street art, community theatre and photography, the Sounds for Social Justice can be heard. 

As a child, art both shaped and enforced my views on life.  Sounds and images resonated with feelings of injustice, oppression and with it the stirring to rise up and overcome.

Art tells us about life, events we encounter during our lives,
all creatures in short, existence. http://www.ijssh.org/vol6/679-CH402.pdf


“Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, sound and/or images, often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and instilling moral values.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storytelling

Whilst inequality is all around; the power and responsibility to think, feel and live discontent with the horror of injustice is in our hands.  Further blog posts will highlight those that inspire change through their artistic genres.