The 2017 Creatively Meaningful List
We believe that every person, regardless of profession or industry, has an opportunity to take their talent and influence to help make the world a better place. Our 'creatively meaningful' philosophy emerged from a decision that our agency would always strive to do work from a lens of creativity and meaning. Whether it's through media, art, technology, or culture, creatively meaningful projects foster a world that is open, collaborative, and progressive. It's an understatement to say that 2017 has been an eventful year. From political controversy to the global refugee crisis, this isn't a time to shy away from the issues that matter, but to lean in closer, roll up our sleeves, and do something creatively meaningful.
We've rounded up a list of diverse projects from a range of creators and brands that embodied this philosophy in 2017.
design for social change
First up, meet the design lab that decided to respond to recent events in social change through art. Amplifier is on a mission to turn artists in to activists and observers into participants. They've invested in a cross-section of artists who have added their voices to social justice conversations, from the women's march to racial injustice. Posters are free to download and many of them have made rounds across the internet, sparking intrigue and impact.
an anti-harassment campaign
This year, Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) took a stance on harassment. In 2017, there have been at least 55 cases of sexual assault reported to the TTC and the Toronto Police have received 577 reports of sexual assault between 2011 and 2015. The campaign doesn't skirt around the issue but confronts it head on through storytelling, bringing the many forms of harassment to light. The public was encouraged to take action, and the TTC even introduced a new app to make reporting incidents easier.
the youtube channel shifting perspectives
The YouTube Channel Cut known for fun videos that depict drinking games like Fear Pong or kids trying international cuisine in American Kids Try Food From Around the World, creatively and humorously touch on themes ranging from xenophobia to sexuality through their clever and entertaining content. With hundreds of thousands of views and counting, videos like Blind People Describe Racism open up dialogue on essential issues that help to widen our perspective.
THE SILENCE BREAKERS
When social activist Tarana Burke started the grassroots Me Too movement in 2016, she probably had no idea it would go viral in 2017. The original movement was intended to aid sexual assault survivors in underprivileged communities, but quickly caught celebrity and media attention this year, bringing stories forward from around the world via #MeToo. It made such an impact that TIME named "The Silence Breakers" as 2017's Person of the Year. From their magazine cover to the video, the magazine used their platform to raise awareness about the people who "broke the silence" this year, standing in solidarity with every person impacted by sexual assault.
when hony turned into a video series
How exciting was this? The beloved Humans of New York portrait stories, offering candid and insightful human experiences through photography, became a video series on Facebook. The episodic videos revealed years of collected interviews with people in New York City discussing topics like time, purpose, and relationships. Beyond the Facebook series, HONY creator Brandon Stanton continues to use his storytelling platform to bring awareness to causes like the refugee crisis and paediatric cancer.
a documentary about the refugee crisis
World-renowned artist Ai Weiwei, brought us on an epic film journey to 23 countries to unpack and understand the refugee crisis in his documentary Human Flow. Making it evident that his art and activism are constantly intertwined. The award-winning film powerfully depicts the staggering scale of the crisis with more than 65 million people who are impacted globally. Ai Weiwei also brought the ideas in the documentary to the Nordest co-produced conference, 6 Degrees. At the conference, Ai Weiwei took home the Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship.
THE SUDAN CONFLICT THROUGH VR
In collaboration with Emblematic Group and Nuba Reports, the Times presented We Who Remain, an immersive virtual reality film that takes viewers into the heart of the often-forgotten conflict in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. The film weaves together the lives of four people - a student, a rebel soldier, a journalist, and a mother — who struggle to improve their lives in the midst of the war. The 14-minute film is available to watch in a V.R. headset with the NYT VR app for Android or iPhone.
ASSUMPTIONS CAN BE DEADLY
When Pancreatic Cancer Canada wanted to catch the attention of Canadians they knew they had to do something bold ... and they delivered. Working closely with creative geniuses The&Partenrship, we managed a marketing campaign called #AssumptionsCanBeDeadly that illuminated the assumptions that are made about pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers out there, but public knowledge is low. With a 93% mortality rate, this campaign was more important than ever and succeeded in reaching millions of people. Sometimes shock-value imagery is what you need to get the message across.
What creatively meaningful work stood out to you this year? We're always on the look out for innovative projects and people that are pushing boundaries to create a better world. Let us know by using #CreativelyMeaningful on social media.
Nordest is a studio for the creatively meaningful.
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