Pushing for Progress: Creativity Scholars on Human Rights

So, we met the 2016 Adobe Creativity Scholars last month. They come from different backgrounds and create art based on personal experiences. Creativity Scholars are expanding their impact by involving others — from their communities and beyond.

Each week we will introduce our creativity scholars by highlighting the themes that unite them. Today, we introduce the future architects of the human rights movement. These creativity scholars use words, photography and video to push for progress. They provide insight into the absence of women’s rights, the experience that fuels the Black Lives Matter Movement and the challenges of diversity in the work place.

“If you are born a female in the Middle East, you will find that in most cases, your dreams and ambitions mean nothing to society. Your place in this world has already been decided for you since birth; a mother, a wife, a housekeeper, a cook… do not dare to seek more.“ – Hiba Al-Nabulsi

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Hiba Al-Nabulsi, 20 (Amman, Jordan)

Hiba’s photographic collection, Kitchen Floor contrasts young women’s visions of becoming violinists, chess players and filmmakers with their predetermined and confining roles: to be housekeepers, mothers and cooks. She spotlights how Middle-Eastern culture affects women’s rights and ambitions. “Through multimedia, I will familiarize people with issues unknown to them, change generational perspectives, and help women stand up for their basic human rights.”

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Jagadeesh BK, 17 (Bangalore, Karnataka, India)

“With the help of visualization and graphics one can make major changes within society.” This belief and the daily violence against women in his community compelled Jagadeesh to produce his documentary Free and Fearless into the Future. In his video he states, “Who is responsible for the safety of women? Everybody in society is responsible.” He ends his documentary with a young girl’s voice asking us, “Can you stand up for me? Can I live my dreams fearlessly?”

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Jessica Hairston, 18 (Oakland, California, USA)

“I plan to use the physical, emotional, and social empowerment of dance, poetry and music to inspire youth in the inner cities of the Bay Area – to encourage the youth to see themselves as multi-dimensional beings.” In support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, Jessica wrote a poem Say Her Name. Miss Sandra Bland to honor Sandra and other black women who have lost their lives at the hands of police brutality. Following is an excerpt from Jessica’s recitation of her poem during a professional dance company’s performance related to the Black Lives Matter Movement:

I wonder how our mother’ see
Past the bloody skies that succumb to the arrival of new surnames, a name for every leaf on the living tree
I wonder what you think
At the endless rows of epitaphs
And the ignorant cops whose jobs have been saved and can now sit back and laugh.
I wonder if you freak
When the church doors close, the walls white and bleak,
Consume you like Sandra Bland, and no matter how agile–like a martyr she’s still weak. 

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Harry Binstead, 19 (Frimley, Surrey, UK)

Produced to promote workplace Diversity and Inclusion, Harry’s video encourages us to fight for those whose rights have been stolen both inside and outside the office. He asks us to change within ourselves versus waiting for laws to change us. He challenges us to embrace our differences in religion, sexual orientation, class, ethnicity and gender identity. “As a filmmaker I try to include messages within my films that promote positive change or inspire others to either take action, or view things from a different perspective.”

Lead Photo Courtesy of Destiny Arts Media