Thank you to everyone who came to the launch of the network last week. I have made some videos which I will be putting up this week.
As we said, the next event will be on 31st January, "watch this space".
In the mean time here are some questions which were raised at the launch which should stimulate some discussion
What is the role of frontline workers in mapping conversations?
How do we pass on commitment?
Is there a conflict between professionals and volunteers in the idea of the Big Society?
Should we be talking about autonomy instead of individualism?
Do we need a different audience and language to reflect the oppressed?
Should you use creativity to facilitate community engagement or is this making creativity too “instrumental”
There is a feeling that using creativity to achieve social benefits somehow subverts creativity but I suggest that this question can be resolved by examining the nature of both art and power.
For me, the problem with instrumentalism is that it's ineffective. I don't think it is possible to create lasting social change by attempting to do things to people. For empowerment to take place people must believe that they are able to effect change in their lives. This is, I believe, the central role of arts in development - enabling each individual to realise that they have a unique creative contribution that only they can make.
Art can change lives and enrich communities but only if people recognise that it is in the very nature of art that it empowers, that neither art nor power can be bestowed upon others and that the power of art belongs solely to the artist.
Far from subverting the creative process it is the role of the would-be instrumentalist to create the conditions for creativity and empowerment to take place.