If you combine creative arts practices with communities can you create real and lasting change?
This is a question I have asked myself as I explore methods and means for cultural community development through a Graduate Certificate in Arts & Community Engagement at Victoria College of the Arts (VCA), Melbourne University.
The intensive 5-week course is taking us through the theoretical and practical elements of creating community-based arts projects that can have a positive impact on society.
Some interesting community arts projects that I have come across so far include the Before I die… project, which focuses on the creation of a massive blackboard in a local community and asks the question ‘what do you want to do before you die?’.
The artist Candy Chung created the project to help her deal with personal grief and has spread to communities around the world to cover 400 walls in 60 countries in over 25 languages. The beauty of the project is in its simplicity, with a stencil kit now available on the Before I die… website.
On Friday I attended an unconference about the Art of the (Im)possible, linking artists, activists and social entrepreneurs together to create ‘good’ as part of the Changemaker Festival. The day consisted of informal peer-led discussions about relevant topics.
The unconference #openspace format is interesting in trying to democratise the traditional expert led conference into one where people participate across the board. Though I do appreciate the concept, after attending a number of similar events, I feel that a hybrid model would work better. Something that incorporates some of the structure of a ‘regular’ conference with the informality of the open space structure.
Nevertheless, it was a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded arts activist types as well those working in government and NGOs. True change can only come through cross-disciplinary brainstorming and action. Do you know of any inspiring organisations working in this space?
I have to make a difference. I have to be better. Smarter. Richer. Prettier.
Each day we are be bombarded by social media messages, inundated with advertising and told by whatever content is displayed on our multiple screens that what we are doing, no matter how hard we try, is simply not good enough.
Why settle for single, when you can be married with 2-kids, a dog and a mortgage? Why be satisfied with simply having a job when you can be the CEO of a multi-national corporation? Why should you contest local council when you could be Prime Minister?
At the end of 2012 I was lucky enough to be a producer on an innovative online and social media project for the largest medical humanitarian organisation in the world - Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).
Working directly for production company @radical.media (Sydney) and in conjunction with ethical advertising agency Republic of Everyone and web agency Heckler, we created content for a month-long campaign to raise awareness of the organisation in Australia.
In the game of life and the job market there are two types of people. Those realistic amongst us who vie for the highest salary for their education and skills-set regardless of moral turpitude. Then there are those that money cannot buy, who believe that standing up for what they believe in is a way of life and that they can live no other way.