Can mobilizing the artists and craftspeople residing in Lebanon achieve needs-based policies that recover their respective syndicates, their ‘microeconomies’, and consequently parts of the Lebanese identity? ‘Let’s Let Artists Talk’ uses communal discussions which host a range of artists, artisans, laborers, listeners, and stakeholders in order to tap into sociopolitical discussions, mobilize relevant actors, and pressure syndicates. Policy extraction is collective and needs-based.
Artists, craftspeople, and laborers are a community of workers that consume a significant 20% of civil society [ILO, 2022]. They are very essential historical components in the Lebanese identity, and over time, they have been involved in decision making and shape shifting the economy. Today, it is a space in civil society that is diminishing. They are separated from decision-making, and struggling to make ends meet. The government has been imposing illogical laws and regulations that hinder their productivity and suppress the emergence of new makers [NAHNOO, 2022]. These challenges disintegrate the community and are further pushing Lebanon in losing its history and identity.
Artists and craftspeople have the right to political participation, especially through unions, but even more so, and contrary to stereotype, they can be direct contributors to reform. Given that artists and craftspeople in Lebanon can reauthorize their socioeconomic and political significance in the country and region, their communities’ fruition could recover their enterprises, slowly mend the economy, and most importantly, build new policies that purify the corruption that is predominant in their respective syndicates.
If mobilized, they have the capacity to address the needs and issues that have accumulated due to informalities from the state. They can hold the right people accountable. This project aims to mobilize this community, tap into their potential to push for their political participation, and reauthorize their socioeconomic and political significance in the country. Their struggles and needs are directly equivalent to those of all civilians.
Surveying/ researching includes the gathering of artists and laborers that we need to communicate with to ensure inclusivity and to target minorities and marginalized groups within the community. One 'function' will be hosted every 3-4 weeks in a public space. It will be documented and shared on a public database. Policy extraction is collective and it highlights the inevitable civic action of all participants. It pertains to revising the developed needs-based public policies extracted by the field-specific focus groups. Mobilization will put pressure on syndicates while different field-specific functions continue to take place. This encourages the spirit of advocacy and reinforces the act of accountability towards the state.