If we consider Europe as a society, we also conclude that within that society there is a wide variety of communities, along and across national borders, defined by geography, religion, language, traditions, age, social structures, sexual orientation, physical conditions and personal interests.
As individuals, we may be part of several communities. But how do we discover in which communities we can feel at home? How do we develop our identities as part of these communities? And how does our personal identity relate to these different communities and our wider society?
Amateo sees active participation in the arts as a core value for a free and open society. Active participation in arts and cultural activities empowers individuals to freely express themselves and can promote cultural cohesion, social inclusion and active citizenship.
* Cambridge Dictionary
Despite – and in some cases because of – our modern connectivity, we are witnessing a period of rising polarisation, populism and nationalism. Often the focus is on the difference between ‘us’ and the ‘others’ rather than our shared democratic endeavors.
With the uncertainty and insecurity of austerity following the financial crisis, climate crisis, Brexit and the Covid-pandemic, it seems that we retreat to our smaller communities, are less open to other opinions and less tolerant towards other groups in society.
We think making art projects together might help to change this. But how and where to start?
Amateo’s Pioneer Projects three day event, CONNECT2021 looks at the theme of ‘Home’ through the lens of Community Arts practice. We will look at ways that ‘professional’ arts organisers and networks work with non-professionals to develop interventions using shared knowledge, skills and experience to actively make a change in society and how this related to the arts and cultural activity that is already embedded in the fabric of communities to ask:
How do we work with communities that are different from our own?
How do we build bridges between different communities?
And how do we make these projects and changes sustainable?