Artists from around the world to report for new site

Creative Times Reports will publish dispatches from abroad

A new website, Creative Time Reports, gives artists from around the world a platform for commentary and analysis on current affairs. The site, which launched on October 11, is the latest initative by Creative Time, a 40-year-old nonprofit that commissions and presents socially conscious art projects.

“The impetus for doing this goes back to Creative Time’s mission that artists matter in society,” said Laura Raicovich, director of global initiatives at Creative Time. “Artists, when they work, delve really deeply into issues, so we thought, ‘Why not create a platform that kind provides a face for those ideas and perspectives to be shared with a broad public?’”

Creative Time Reports premiered with an article on the Spanish economic crisis by the photographer Liam Gillick, who interviewed locals in the Basque region and compared their struggles with his upbringing in Thatcherite Britain. Haitian writer Jean-Euphèle Milcé contributed a dispatch from the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, writing in his native French with an English translation and audio reading alongside it. An exiled Syrian photographer, Jaber Al Azmeh, wrote an op-ed railing against the portrayal of the Syrian conflict as a civil war rather than the revolution he believes it to be.

Many of the artists contributing to Creative Time Reports face great personal risk for doing so, said site editor Marisa Mazria Katz. Katz comes to Creative Time Reports after an extended period on a state department grant, teaching citizen journalism to students in Morocco. After joining Creative Time, Katz spent a year traveling to meet and talk about the project with artists in Tunisia, to explore the post-revolutionary climate in North Africa; Hungary, during the country’s constitutional crisis; Dubai, as a starting point for discussions about the Middle East; and Nairobi, Kenya, an economic hub in East Africa.

Creative Time Reports plans to publish two large features a month with smaller dispatches in between. All of the content is available for other sites to republish. Raicovich said that she hopes to establish publishing partnerships with larger outlets that can regularly syndicate their work in a ProPublica model.

With that in mind, even though their reports are by artists, contributors are held to high journalistic standards, Katz said. “We give the artist a lot of freedom in terms of what they create for us,” Katz said, “but we rigorously factcheck the piece. We are doing as much as we can to make sure it’s accurate.”

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Hazel Sheffield is a journalist and filmmaker based in London. She is a former CJR fellow and business editor of the Independent.