We are thrilled to announce the #PopJustice report series, which illuminates the promise and potential of popular culture to achieve social change. The #PopJustice series was produced by Liz Manne Strategy, with funding from Unbound Philanthropy and the Nathan Cummings Foundation. The Executive Brief provides an overview of the six-volume report series.
#PopJustice is intended for funders, advocates, and entertainment industry professionals interested in the promise and potential of popular culture as an agent of change. It helps us define and understand pop culture, and answer the question of how philanthropy can be involved in supporting work at the intersection of pop culture and social justice.
NCF has always believed in the power of arts and culture to engender empathy, and catalyze and advance social change. As we tried to figure out how to expand the reach and impact of arts and social justice work, we began considering pop culture as a potential narrative and culture change strategy.
Over the past five years, our exploration of pop culture has been greatly informed by the work of our grantee partners, including Active Voice, ColorOfChange , Define American, Firelight Media, Global Media Center for Social Impact, Let's Breakthrough, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Opportunity Agenda, and Revolutions Per Minute. We also found incredible learning partners among our board members, and among our network of NCF Fellows – Bridgit Antoinette Evans (2015 cohort) and Andrew Slack (2013 cohort) both created successful models for integrating pop culture and movement building, which are featured as case studies in #PopJustice.
Convinced that there was a place for pop culture in social change work, NCF wanted to better understand the role philanthropy could play in advancing this intersection. In 2015, we partnered with Unbound Philanthropy to co-fund the #PopJustice report series. The research provides a deep and cogent understanding of the pop culture landscape, and elevates case studies of successful interventions. The series also identifies opportunities for future philanthropic investments that can harness and influence pop culture, with the goal of improving public opinion and behavior toward migrants, people of color, and other strategic constituencies.
On March 21, NCF, Unbound Philanthropy, and the Ford Foundation co-hosted a learning exchange in New York that brought together more than 70 funders, culture change creators, and strategists for the launch of the #PopJustice report series and a conversation about the promise of pop culture in advancing social justice goals. The report has also catalyzed thinking about a new big idea: creating a pooled fund dedicated to supporting work at the intersection of pop culture and social change.
NCF believes that culture change is critical to policy change, and that artists are central to shaping culture. We’re excited about pop culture as a promising strategy for shifting culture and dominant narratives towards improving perceptions, attitudes, and ultimately conditions for people of color, women, and low-income communities.
NCF, Unbound, and Ford will continue to engage in learning exchanges with diverse stakeholders, and to develop the idea for a collaborative fund. We look forward to continuing this exciting exploration.
The #PopJustice series of reports were written by Liz Manne, Joseph Phelan, Thelma Adams, Michael Ahn, Rachel D. Godsil, Jessica MacFarlane, Mik Moore, Meredith Osborne, Brian Sheppard, and Michael Simkovic. Graphic design by Luz Ortiz. Revolutions Per Minute served as the project’s fiscal sponsor. Cover Images for Volumes 1 – 6: 'POC TV Takeover’ (c) 2015 Julio Salgado. The #PopJustice reports are © 2016 Liz Manne Strategy Ltd. All rights reserved.