What might an Artists in Community International project look like?

 PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

Each project has its own unique genesis, but common to all is the exchange and consultation with the host organisation and community leaders.  We learn of the needs, desires, and interests of the groups with whom we will be working and the expectations they have of the project and us. We share our knowledge of how art practice benefits community and individuals through education, developing creativity, self-esteem, skills, self-expression, reducing the impact of trauma and loss and giving voice to issues that impact a community.

The practicalities of the project such as workspaces, materials available and needed, translators, project days and times are partly negotiated before we leave Australia, followed by further discussions once we arrive within the community.

 

COMMUNITY ART AND DRAMA PROJECT

1.      Community Consultation  (In Australia, pre-project)

  • Discussions with host organisation about who, why, what, where and when of a potential project
  • It is possible to have these conversations with in-country community leaders – via email, SKYPE or phone.

Before leaving Australia we would have a clear idea of the community with whom we will be working and a broad concept of what they would like / expect of us.

2.      In-Country

DAY ONE      Meet community leaders.   These meetings usually take about an hour.

  • Gain insights into community
  • Exchange project information / expectation
  • View space
  • Meet community members if possible

3.      Project : outine for working with one community for one week

DAY ONE of project: Ice-Breaking

  • Important step in creating trust and safe creative space
  • Introduction to what art and drama can be
  • Strengthens or creates a sense of group
  • Introduces concepts of focus and care
  • Opens up the space for imagination, laughter and fun.

Alex Pinder starts the process with a short clown routine that involves participants to break the ice.   Continues with participant involvement and games to develop trust and the sense of group.

UNATTI GIRLS

Anne is supporting through active involvement.

art :Introduction to colour / design / shape.   Practice workshop in painting or drawing. (see our video on YouTube)

drama :     Introduction to mime, physical character, improvisation.

UNATTI BOYS PAINTING

DAY TWO

art : development on colour skills through group or individual painting / drawing projects such as a market scene (see our video on YouTube)

drama : starting with games, continuation of Mime skills; using mime and exercise to    develop imagination and begin improvisation and role-play.

MARKET paintingUNATTI DRAMA

    

DAY THREE

drama : start with improvisation of their own stories, honing skills in clowning, starting to perform in front of others, group learning to focus, listen and watch.

STATUES

Monsaengdao Thailand

DRAWING

art : Using the Body
Divide the group in two; one half working with Alex on using the body to move through a series of poses whilst the other half draws them.

This project considers the movement and expression of the body, confidence in working with the body, working as a group, observation, animation.  The group swaps roles. At the end of the project we have 100s of drawings and a developed idea of how the body moves and expresses, and also a way of looking and speaking about the body in a non-sexualised manner. Can lead to group paintings or clay sculptures.

P1060672

claywork

DAY FOUR

drama :  working on scenes and community stories to present to the group or wider community, eg in Thailand we worked on community issues such as trafficking,  local community life; in India themes of school life and child labour were explored in this way.

Building confidence to assist participants tell their own stories, create their own work, have their voice and stories expressed and heard.

Developing ideas of rehearsal – improving skills through work and practice.

TOILING THE FIELDS

art : introducing observational drawing skills.   Encouraging students to closing observe aspects of their lives, eg nature at the agricultural school in Thailand and express them through drawing.Develops skills in observation, drawing, expression and focus.

 OBSERVATIONAL DRAWING

DAY FIVE : Presentation day

art:  group painting project.   Introducing art works for inspiration and to develop a sense of what is possible through art through various ways of looking at the world

drama :  final rehearsals of scenarios and scenes.  Presenting small skits to participants and community.

closure:  discussion with the participants about what they enjoyed, got out of their participation, etc.

Goodbyes.

GOODBYE

NOTES

  1. Timetable is variable.   This is proposal is based on working with about 25 people morning and afternoon, with breaks for lunch; other options may include morning and afternoon sessions with separate groups; morning sessions with group and afternoon/evening/weekend sessions running Professional Development.
  2.  Groups are sometimes run with all participants in one group, other times we divide the group in two, and work separately; then swap
  3.  Space and numbers affect how the project works on the ground.
  4.  Project themes reflect the individual aspects of the community and the social issues they are confronting.   Ideas expressed are examples only.
  5. Proposal is for the first week.   Subsequent weeks develop skills and expression.

Then the Presentation Day will happen on the final day of the project.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Parallel to the work with participants, we offer Professional Development Training in Art and Drama for community leaders and teachers.  This helps develop a deeper understanding of the arts and arts education and how it can be incorporated into work. Professionals learn methods and skills in delivering enthusiastic and contemporary art and drama programs, as well as consider ideas and theories that inform art practice.

We explain in practice and detail what we do, why, how and how it can be modified, expanded and incorporated into individual communities.  We consider this an important part of making our work sustainable.

NOTES

  1. We also offer Professional Development and Training as the primary project.
  2. We offer on-going support through email/Skype.

PD MGISPD MGIS 2PG MGIS 3

PD MGIS 5

LEGACY

PD MGIS 4

Our aim is leave individuals and communities with a range of new skills, both creative and personal, and with a renewed or new sense of potential, hope and pleasure. We expect that our interactions also enhance community relationships and understanding.

Education :

  • Arts as a catalyst for learning (see DID YOU KNOW? attached)
  • Developing skills
  • Developing concentration, self-esteem

Community :

  • Reduces isolation
  • Develops skills in working with & respecting others
  • Communicating social issues empowers participants to agitate for change.

Creativity and creative practice:

  • Opens the mind to new possibilities which is first step towards change
  • Develops skills in breaking difficult tasks into to manageable components
  • Developing individual’s sense of wellbeing
  • Creates opportunities to create and appreciate beauty
  • Respects individual’s need and right for recreation and pleasure.

Children :

  • Respects children’s need and rights for recreation and play
  • Informal way of learning when formal education is not available or regular.

Trauma Recovery :

  • Arts practice is known to aid recovery post-trauma
  • Contributes to meaning and building resources
  • Helps victims express themselves non-verbally
  • Reduces isolation
  • Builds trust in others
  • Build self-esteem
  • Contributes to establishing a place in the world and a sense of future.

MATERIALS

We prefer work with relatively low-cost materials so that it is possible for projects to continue and try to source materials in-country.

We are always surprised, delighted, touched and amazed by what we uncover, enable and witness. When so much is possible with so little … we imagine and dream … what would be possible with some real support?

POSSIBILITIES

  • Run projects for targeted groups such as
    • Disenfranchised Youth :
    • People and communities who have experienced trauma
  • Create and install community artwork such as a mosaic or painting into community space.
  • Performance for videos : such as stories, skits, for uploading onto YouTube and social media.
  • Running units in Tertiary Institutions to train professionals such as Social Workers, Community Development Workers, Community Health workers, teachers, trauma specialists etc.
  • Perform (Alex), exhibit (Anne)
  • Train other artists to work in community.
  • Act as consultants for establishing and running Training Centres for student artists and performers.

 

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