Artists In Community International inspire and educate communities, individuals and leaders to be creative in and through art-making. We provide engaging programs and projects that are inclusive, challenging, dynamic and joyous. Our work is contemporary art-based with international flavours – inspired by our roamings and backgrounds.
Who we are
We are practising artists who work across a range of visual and performing arts practices. Alex Pinder (also known as Jyoti Mukherjee) is an actor, theatre director and teacher and Anne Riggs PhD is an artist, lecturer and researcher. We are both teaching artists.
We have been working in India and Nepal each year for the past five years; we have run projects in Thailand and in India since 2004. We have an established reputation for
providing inspiring art programs that meaningful, engaging and relevant.
What we do
We work to bring art out of traditional art spaces and into the community. We provide creative opportunities to give participants a voice to express themselves and explore a bigger world.
We work in a range of spaces and with diverse groups of people. Our aim is to support individuals and communities to achieve their goals; that may be accessing better education, better health and social support services, and recreation. We especially focus our attention on supporting disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.
We train social workers, teachers, and community leaders in art and drama practices. We equip them with a range of tools to assist and encourage them to engage well with their communities and students. Our work has a solid theoretical base in community development, health, and education, as well as the arts.
We teach skills. We develop the imagination. We provide the space that enables people to work co-operatively with each other. We help improve communication skills. We build participant’s self esteem and self confidence. We encourage participant’s to learn, stretch themselves and to see their own potential. And we cultivate the joy of participation.
We work within the principles of human rights and equal opportunity. We believe that disadvantage should not impede people from accessing education, health and social support services, and recreation. We collaborate with NGOs, educational institutions, and communities to achieve these aims.
How we do it
We are invited by social workers, educators, and non-goverment organisations (NGOs) to collaborate and provide training. Before we start, we actively listen. We design a project that assists, encourages, supports and inspires. We work with them in their workplaces, learning centres, and in the field.
We creatively respond to their needs and concerns, for example, from 2015 we have worked with the Urban Environment Management Society (UEMS) to help raise awareness of pressing health issues (teeth cleaning and hand-washing) in the brick factories of Nepal. We also assisted them to gain insights into the health and welfare of the itinerant families working there.
We involve the whole of community where possible. Women and children, are given equal status in our projects. They are actively encouraged to participate and lead. We offer good role models to help them see and reach their potential.
Generally speaking we are contractors. For the last five years we have spent eight weeks a year in India and Nepal on our project Make Do Tell. We raise funds to support this through crowd-sourcing and a small dedicated supporter base who contribute to our annual fund-raising campaign; sometimes we receive an honorarium.
The organisations with whom we work provide staff, and many community leaders and teachers donate their services. These are essential and committed participants in Artists in Community International. These are the people who invite and encourage the community members to participate, who are translators, sharers of valuable insights, organisers of spaces, transport, materials and at times accommodation. They are the essential link between us and the communities in which we all work.
Beyond the field
We present talks, and contribute papers, book contributions and conferences presentations to raise awareness around the contribution art and artist make to and in communities. You can read these here.
We were finalists in the 2013 Australia Asia Art Awards (Australian Government) for our projects in Nepal and Anne was a finalist in the 2015 Victoria University Alumni Awards – for work with sexual assault victims and our projects in India and Nepal.
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