Creativity, Arts and 'Edutainment' Based Approaches

UNESCO's Culture Sector work on HIV and AIDS is strengthening and systematizing knowledge and best practices in the use of creativity and artistic expression in HIV and AIDS education as well as developing youth friendly tools and materials. UNESCO has also begun work with and for artists (primarily in the music sector) to increase understanding of their particular vulnerabilities to HIV in order to develop effective strategies addressing their specific needs.
The use of creativity and the arts is widely recognized as an effective, non-formal education tool, particularly useful for sensitizing young people to HIV and AIDS. Dance, hip hop, puppetry and shadow theatre, painting, graffiti, poetry, screenwriting, textile design and fashion can all be used as compelling forms of 'edutainment'. Indeed, visual arts, music and other forms of creative expression can greatly impact individuals and communities through their portrayal of social concerns addressing sensitive issues such as poverty, discrimination and sexuality.

One example from the first part of the decade was an HIV/Graffiti Competition involving twenty teams of students from various departments and institutions of higher education in Jamaica. Another example concerned the Ashe Caribbean Performing Arts Ensemble, which featured prominently in the cultural programme associated with the XV International AIDS Conference held in Bangkok.

More recently, 'Theatre and Visual Arts: A New Approach to HIV and AIDS in Latin America and the Caribbean', was the focus of a regional workshop for Latin America and the Caribbean held in Havana (Cuba) in May 2007, organized by the UNESCO Regional Office for Culture.

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