I presented a joint paper in the segment:
COMMUNITY ARTS-BASED EMPOWERMENT PROCESSES: VISIONS, RELATIONS AND CRITICAL REFLECTIONS FROM UK, AUSTRALIA AND BARCELONA CONTEXT.
courtesy of @GamesASC
The Conference Programme was so extremely diverse and covered such a huge array of areas within Community Psychology and Community Arts, generally that I had to only attend presentations that directly related to my area of expertise and that linked thematically to my presentation. Here are some official pics from the conference!
With this in mind, I attended the following:
NEW METHODS FOR COMMUNITY PSYCHOLOGY: DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW
This segment was particularly interesting for me because it had a paper that highlighted of the use of gaming as a tool for social empowerment. This was presented by Scott Gaule from Manchester Metropolitan University. This fascinated me because in my research project, “All Change for Crewe”, gaming was identified as helping to address the gender balance in educational attainment at primary school level, as well as forming a part of a growth strategy for Crewe’s local creative industries. Other papers explored mixed methodology facilitation and alternative practices for citizen participation. See “Some of my Thoughts” for more details.
VIRTUAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES AND ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS PROMOTING COMMUNITY PSYCHOLOGY
This segment seemed to touch on my Crewe research because it explored forms of collaborative learning using social media but also how social media could be used as a means of social empowerment (strongly reminding me of Scott Gaule’s paper). See “Some of my Thoughts” for more details.
A TALE OF A GROUP OF MEN IN THE COMMUNITY CHALLENGING THE PERCEPTIONS OF LEARNING DIFFICULTIES AND HEALTH PROMOTION
Michael Richards (Manchester Metropolitan University) presented a paper which described his work with adult men with learning difficulties, as they explored various aspects of masculinity from the perspective of intellectual impairment.
courtesy of 5ICCP
COMMUNITY ARTS-BASED EMPOWERMENT PROCESSES: VISIONS, RELATIONS AND CRITICAL REFLECTIONS FROM UK, AUSTRALIA AND BARCELONA CONTEXT
PARTICIPATION IN COMMUNITY ARTS: LESSONS FROM THE INNER CITY INTRODUCTION:
Ornette Clennon and Carolyn Kagan
Manchester Metropolitan University (UK)
Here is our published paper called, Participation in community arts lessons from the inner-city from our conference paper.
I presented both papers as Carolyn had to speak at another session.
Here is a video of the presentation.
I will also post a much clearer mp3 of the entire segment here in due course. Here is a ppt of our joint paper.
Merseybank Community Evaluation Project – Carolyn Kagan
Manchester City Council won a bid to mount a project that explored the Merseybank area of Manchester through creative inter-generational work. Although the project used a variety of media to creatively explore intergenerational relationships between the participants and their relationship to Merseybank, Carolyn wanted to present the poetry that emerged from the project, as this showed the clearest path of ‘conscientisation’ (“consciousness-raising”). The project increased the participants’ self-esteem and motivated them to make positive personal life changes. However, Carolyn’s caveat to this project highlighted the challenges that are faced when communities express themselves ‘too honestly’ in the eyes of the authorities in ways that go against institutional agendas. This happened in Carolyn’s project where the Council refused to endorse the tour of the exhibited work because it deemed the participants’ poetry to be too negative about Manchester.
All Change for Crewe Research Project – Ornette D Clennon
My project was a research consultancy looking at the Education strand of Cheshire East Council’s strategic policy document for Crewe called, “All Change for Crewe“. The project measured attitudes towards Higher Education as a result of participation in creative (musical) social collaborative learning. Two local Crewe primary schools and two local care homes took part in a WW1 themed commemorative intervention. We found that the boys scored lower than the girls across all areas of measurement including: peer interaction, self-esteem and academic self-concept. However the boys did register a preference for gaming and Minecraft in particular as their preferred form of social collaborative learning. This prompted recommendations about the use of gaming not only to address the gender gap in educational attainment but also thinking about it as a strategy for developing the area’s creative industries. This ties into my thoughts about the Arts and their use as catalysts for economic development, as they are able to engage users in the engagement of distinct measurable economic performance indicators.
Here are some of my thoughts about assessing the economic impact of the Community Arts.
Community Arts as Gateways to Economic Outputs
The Community Arts are an intangible network of relationship building processes that often have no real direct (hard outcomes) outputs outside of their site/community specific programmes. However, we need to look at how we can extract the relationship building process or social capital building (soft outcomes) so that we can apply this process to the concept of ‘catalytic impact’. This means looking at the exact mechanisms of how Community Arts enable communities to access other more tangible services (hard outcomes), such as Education, Health, Employment etc. that have causal economic impacts.
– How do health, education and other performance indicators regenerate communities and how do we measure that economically?
We can use ONS and big data to answer this.
– How effective are Community Arts in getting people to engage with health and well-being, education and other performance indicators?
We can use quasi experimental research designs that measure effect sizes. My research into music interventions in the youth justice sector and my All Change for Crewe research paper are both the beginnings of addressing this.
– How do Community Arts compare to other ways of engaging in health, education and other performance indicators?
We can also use quasi experimental research designs that measure effect sizes.
Assessing the economic impact of Community Arts
Community Arts as tools of engagement
If we establish the economic value of performance indicators such as Education or Health, then the economic value of Community Arts becomes directly related to how well they can engage in the up-take of these performance indicators (in comparison to other methods) which are then able to be mapped to direct economic outputs.
COMMUNITY ARTS, PEDAGOGY AND EMPOWERMENT: EXPLORING SYNERGIES
Christopher Sonn, PhD and Alison Baker, PhD
Victoria University (Australia)
Alison Baker and Christopher Sonn presented their thoughts about looking at the advantage of using community and cultural development as a practice that tried to influence policy at government level. They said that their approach was similar to community psychology because were working with marginalised groups.
They went on to describe ‘Community Arts in Liberation’ that aims to transform oppressive structures by using the following methods:
– Personal collective history
– Counter memories
– Living memories
– Photo memories
– Creating histories
They also characterised their work by using the term “public pedagogies”. Here, they mean engagement that takes place beyond formal educational settings such as museums, community settings etc. For them, it was about opening up different channels of learning where new social values could be created. They asserted that ‘Education is a form of Political intervention’ and as such they used participatory methods such as poetry to realign participants’ beliefs about themselves and their surroundings.
Melbourne City Mission – Alison Baker
This project worked with students who were either excluded from mainstream education or at risk of exclusion (similar institutions to our PRUs). Alison was asked to use creative methods to evaluate the young people’s experiences of these units. The units used (visual) arts-led pedagogies to teach and encourage discussion about social issues. Alison joined the art classes and used mini polaroids to document and reflect on the sessions with the young people. This also included taking polaroids of the post-it mind maps the young people had created.
Alison said that the transient nature of the participants generated continuity issues in the sessions. This meant that forward planning was not always possible, however using the mini polaroids as records/archives helped with this. This process of documentation also assisted the young people in giving them greater confidence to talk about their work when it was exhibited.
The Song Room – Christopher Sonn
Christopher’s project worked with refugees at multiple sites. He was asked to evaluate the experiences of refugee children in Australia using music. Christopher also used the following as a methodology to gather data:
– Instrumental music
– Written journals (diaries)
Christopher evaluated the arts programme and its influence on the teaching and learning at mainstream schools, as he was particularly interested in how the young people were able to build their confidence so that they were able communicate with a broader range of stakeholders about their work and experiences.
For the future
Christopher and Alison wanted to further explore the potential for developing deeper relationships between arts organisations and universities for the generation of knowledge co-production and exchange.
COMMUNITY ARTS-BASED EMPOWERMENT PROCESSES, PRAXIS IN BARCELONA CONTEXT
Ruben David Fernandez Carrasco and Moises Carmona Monferrer
Universidad de Barcelona (Spain)
courtesy of @GamesASC
Looking at power of the Arts to empower: Action Research Residency
Ruben talked about Art and a neighbourhood network of community arts to characterise his site specific research of the relationship between cultural arts and empowerment. Ruben went on to share his research into community arts. He said that community arts build concepts that embrace cultural and social practices and they can be delivered by governmental and non-governmental organisations. Ruben talked about the roots of community arts from 1960s where the meaning of art was for the first time connected to physical and social contexts. He described how community arts evolved into being concerned about how spectators were changed into participants and how this shift of perception could be harnessed into political movement and change. Ruben acknowledged the UK’s long history of community arts development and said that it was still a relatively new discovery in a Spanish context.
The Barcelona context
Ruben is particularly interested in site specific work that combines community action, social work and education. In addition to his British influences, his work also borrows from the French model of community arts, Social Cultural Animation. Ruben summarised the nature of his work in Barcelona as:
– Arts based community development
– Community based social work
– Community development
He compared it to the Community Psychology approach that included the elements:
– Cultural democracy
– Focus on Social issues
– Open culture
Ruben said that what brought community arts and community psychology together was the use of Creativity because it has the power for social transformation and Empowerment.
Ruben said that this happens when the individual discovers and adopts new positions of critical self- and context-awareness leading to self-efficacy. Traditional organisational structures are challenged by what he described as the “Welcoming Mother”, which is a process of nurturing invisible social relations between actors. This process very much reminded me of my NCCPE blog about Public Engagement. The community becomes a collective of communities of learning from which new institutional frameworks are created.