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Cultural Integration at the 2010 USSF

The USSF 2010 will showcase art, culture and entertainment in ways that convey momentum and hope. The USSF 2010 shares a vision that challenges poverty, exploitation, oppression, militarism/war and environmental destruction-- locally, nationally and globally. Cultural expressions representing diverse communities include: performance art, visual art, and film.

Cultural art is more than entertainment. Culture moves movement and gives a voice to our community. It is tool to educate, empower, heal, and inspire our communities. We propose that culture is integrated into all aspects of the United States Social Forum. Please review the projects below:

DEX/Detroit Expanded


At the 2003 World Social Forum in Brazil it was announced that the United States Social Forum was going to be in Detroit, Michigan. The world was excited about coming to Detroit. It is recognized as a city that has been impacted by powerful movements (labor rights/union, civil rights, Black Liberation Movement, etc…).

Technology was used as a way to make the WSF accessible to people could not go to Brazil. Activists accessed workshops/PMAs/plenaries through video conferencing. The goal is to make that happen at the USSF 2010. We want to bring Detroit to the world.


We also want to show the amazing things that are happening in the city beyond Cobo Hall. There will be world class concerts at Hart Plaza, a cultural/social justice tour of Detroit, major activities at the Urban Tent Village in the heart of Detroit, urban gardens, bike hubs, etc...

Global Outreach

We would like to make video conferencing/streaming accessible to groups and individuals, with emphasis on groups and community centers (coffee houses, local libraries, community centers, churches, mosques, etc). We are connecting to organizations/grassroots organizations around the United States and other countries to set up DEX hubs.

DEX hubs will be set up in Venezuela, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Mexico, Liberia, and many places throughout the United States and world.

Developing Youth Leadership and Digital Justice

Youth and media justice activists will be the videographers. The young people will also do interviews with cultural activists and at the cultural/social justice sites to highlight the best of Detroit.

We will be working very closely with the ICT, Youth, and Communications Working Groups to bring our vision into reality.

After the USSF

The cameras will be donated to groups involved with youth media and social justice in Detroit.

The USSF Children’s Art Village

The United States Social Forum also has a Children’s Social Forum. We propose that part of the Children’s Social Forum be held at Hart Plaza in the Children’s Art Village. Art will be used to teach the children. An example, EMEAC and the Matrix Theater will team up to teach the children how to make puppets about endangered species and the underground rivers that exist in Detroit. Sharing Forum Theater to give young people tools for conflict resolution, etc.

Large-Scale Story Circles during Plenaries

Story circles activate the communal knowledge of the collective. We propose that through large scale story circles, plenary participants have more space to share their ideas about pressing topics affecting Detroit, local communities and the world. Participants will have the opportunity to come out with one item that is a common struggle, item that unifies the group in about the future, or that informs the future. The goal is to move the plenaries beyond "lectures" to action-based spaces promoting individual and community transformation.

Multi-media for Social Change

Media tools and sources can integrate people within and beyond the USSF community. In order to reach, diverse learners, and Detroit community members who may choose not to attend USSF, let's activate open dialogue and exchange across multiple-mediums. Participants should be able to "tweet" responses to hot topics during plenaries, workshops and beyond creating virtual, real-time graffiti wall that everyone has access to on their mobile device, computer, etc. It would be awesome to have large screens set up in major meeting areas and plenary settings where the "tweets", Facebook updates, etc can be viewed by the large audience collectively. For those who don't have mobile devices, there should be several stations, similar to the way mics are set-up for people to "tweet" through a communal Twitter or Facebook account.

We also propose, the use of film clips, music, real-time responses, video conferencing, Skype conferencing, streaming to groups and community centers (schools, local libraries, community centers, churches, mosques, etc) to create and generate dialogue across the airwaves.


We propose that speakers expand presentations beyond talking/lectures into integrated, participant-centered, action-based open dialogues. Each speaker should find one or more ways to highlight the communal knowledge in the room.


Instead of having four panelists, why not have pre-recorded responses from USSF participants to also inform the conversation. We propose to have video booths and vlogs set up in different areas where participants can record responses and have them aired during the plenary sessions). Let's write the company that produces flip cams and see if we can get half off the cameras. Underground radio, public/community radio, and block parties featuring progressive arts/artists are also channels that can be implemented to reach a broader audience.

We are also proposing a Social Justice Poster Contest (age categories for larger participation). Young people will be asked to share their vision of social justice. Contestants will be required to share how they participate in community building. The winning posters will be featured on the USSF website, at the Leftist Lounge cultural event, and displayed at the USSF 2010 Art Gallery at Hart Plaza.

Opening March

The march will feature cultural arts collectives who work for social justice. The Hot Eight Band featuring over 400 marching bands will participate as well as processions of puppets/art representing endangered species and the environment. Women in Black will also share their political puppets in the march. We are also reaching out to traditional stilt walkers from African culture, Indigenous artists from the Native community, and more. Historical social justice songs/music/chants will also be incorporated into the opening march.

Opening Ceremony

There will be an Indigenous opening from elders in the Native Community. Build the logo- everyone gets a piece of the puzzle to add to building the 2010 USSF logo or a structure that has specific significance to Detroit. Artists will perform representing the diversity that USSF is committed to represent.

Cultural/historical/political/green tours of Detroit.

USSF participants will engage in cultural tours of venues that (galleries, clubs, and artists’ hubs that participate or support social justice/community building throughout Detroit. Artists will also have the opportunity to perform at these outlets after the USSF activities at Hart Plaza and Cobo Hall end.

Mural Projects

Muralists in the Culture committee is partnering with the Allied Media Conference, the BeeHive Collective, other art collectives, and the Detroit community to create murals throughout Detroit at centers for social justices. The focus will be centered on grassroots organizations, community gardens, and blighted areas in the city. Part of the design will be set up at the Allied Media Conference, continued through the work brigades, and completed at Hart Plaza at the United States Social Forum.

:Another World is Possible :Progressive Film Festival

The United States Social Forum 2010 Progressive Film Festival showcases diverse inter-generational independent films and videos to shape and influence the public conversation in ways that convey momentum and hope. The films and videos represent a vision that inspires, empowers, and challenges poverty, exploitation, oppression, militarism/war and environmental destruction-- locally, nationally and worldwide.

Partying for the People

MWRO will host a party four nights of the social forum. The tickets will be $1.00 for USSF participants and $5.00 for non USSF members. All proceeds will go to USSF ‘dollars’ which will be given to the homeless, poor, and participants with limited funding to buy food, etc from the vendors at Hart Plaza.

Leftist Lounge

Leftist Lounge will be the sole major cultural event of the Social Forum endorsed by the Culture Subgroup of the Program/Culture Working Group on the night of Friday, June 25th. We have decided to endorse the event for several reasons. Leftist Lounge came to Detroit in March of 2009 to meet local activists and cultural workers, with the intent to build strong local relationships to help plan towards the USSF 2010 and to develop Leftist Lounge into an ongoing presence in Detroit with completely local leadership and participation. In the time since then, they have visited Detroit four times, co-hosted and planned a party to build a major local political institution (the Allied Media Conference), and have recruited four cultural activists onto their national planning team. Leftist Lounge is committed to using their event at the Social Forum to raise funds for the Forum itself.

Cultural Arts for Human Rights

There will be a canopy/booth/space focusing on Haiti and how the community can help. Haitian arts, music, dance, and traditions will be honored. We will partner with the Haitian community in Detroit.

Learning Exchanges for NPC

(National Planning Committee) and DLOC (Detroit Local Organizing Committee) We recognize that there are diverse schools of thought when it comes to social activism. We believe it is important to take time to learn the pedagogy of working and creating dialogue to show how cultural artists/activists are doing the work of creating open dialogue through arts activism. We propose that Cultural Working Group work closely with NPC and DLOC in future months to exchange skills and dialogue more about how cultural arts can be infused into the culture of the 2010 USSF.


2010 United States Social Forum

Artists For Another World Project::Multimedia Compilation

Metro Detroit-based arts activism group, Change::The Music proposes a plan to curate and produce a multimedia compilation of music, spoken word, visual art, photography, and video art works created by socially conscious artists. This project, tentatively titled Artists for Another World, will function as a tool to promote and raise funds for the 2010 US Social Forum (USSF). Change::The Music members will select pieces with content that represents a cross-section of issues pertinent to the USSF, and give voice to host Detroit’s own talent as well as artists throughout the U.S. and those international roots.

Return to Program/Culture WG main page.