In Latin America, theatre, dance and music are proving to be effective means of shining the spotlight on social issues and giving neglected sections of the population more self-confidence. It should also be borne in mind that these initiatives are often local and small-scale in nature, which means they pass unnoticed by the rest of the world. It is for this reason that thirteen artistic organisations in five countries have joined forces in the Arte y Transformación Social network that presented itself during the World Social Forum held from 26 to 31 January 2005 in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre.
The central axis of this network is the Brazilian development organisation Avina Foundation. Exchange programmes are intended to give a boost to the affiliated theatre groups, dancing schools and other artistic initiatives in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and Peru: the principal aim being to learn from each other's experiences. The network also wants to investigate the precise impact that art has on social development and raise the profile of the member organisations' artistic projects, especially in respect of potential European donors. The network wants to make Europe aware of and supportive of the contribution that Latin American culture is making to social development, and also to allow Europe to share in the network members' experiences.