The art of the manifesto

A manifesto can act as the succinct expression of the values underpinning your practice or organisation.
Multi-coloured car as artwork in museum on top of red and white striped floor.

Manifesto: the word is immediately redolent of revolutionaries and ideologues, of breaking down the barriers and challenging the status quo. A strongly worded manifesto can be a striking catalyst for change, a clarion call to action, and a rallying point for troops and allies, employees and supporters. A manifesto can also be something to live by, such as Leo Tolstoy’s brilliant (and still relevant) Rules for Life from 1847 – although you may wish to disregard the one about visiting brothels twice a month.

Throughout social, political and cultural history, manifestos have been used as a declaration of principles and a statement of intent. A manifesto very often defines what you oppose, as much as what you support. Trying to change the world has often begun (and sometimes ended…) with the drafting of a powerful manifesto. ‘Burn the Museums,’ screamed the Futurist Manifesto back in 1909!

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Dr Diana Carroll is a writer, speaker, and reviewer based in Adelaide. Her work has been published in newspapers and magazines including the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, Woman's Day, and B&T. Writing about the arts is one of her great passions.