Sunday, January 2, 2011

About Creative Arts in Research for Community and Cultural Change

Creative Arts in Research for Community and Cultural Change
Editor, Cheryl McLean Associate Editor, Robert Kelly
Detselig Enterprises, Calgary

Creative Arts in Research for Community and Cultural Change”, the second text in the series, takes a global perspective featuring projects that have used the creative arts applied in research for community and cultural change. In this action oriented collection qualitative research and community based and participatory methods play a major role as well as other experiential approaches.

The articles in this second volume have been divided into four thematically related sections:

Part 1 Community Action and Education through Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice; Part 2 Images for Witness, Community Action in Disability and Health; Part 3 Arts Exploring Immigrant Experience and Cultural Identities; Part 4 Human Stories “from the outside in” for Community and Cultural Change.

Many of the researchers, artists, educators, participants and community members you will read about in these accounts strive for change by joining together in interdisciplinary projects to address the most fundamental of human needs, the need for healthy and safe communities with water to drink and air to breathe, the need for human expression and connection, the desire to be accepted and acknowledged as a human being of value and to voice their personal stories for witness whether it is from a stage, a study circle, a kitchen table or to be experienced at exhibits in public spaces in the photographs of a community of women, street workers, sharing images depicting stories of survival on the streets of the inner city.

There is hope for change within these pages as we learn about the day to day lives of those who live on the margins, those whose stories are seldom heard. As Liz Day and John J. Guiney Yallop express in the article, Four Poems for Four Lives, A Study of Four Ex-prisoners through Poetic Inquiry, “We believe that all human experience is of value and that all human experience has something to teach us.” For me, this statement became a touchstone, at times guiding the editing journey, an underlying theme I often referred to in the shaping of this volume.

Creative Arts in Research for Community and Cultural Change is fundamentally a book about the arts in action and practice for hope and citizen empowerment, about people and communities making a difference through arts processes and democratic change. It may be true that we are shaped by culture and yet as is clearly evidenced by the articles in this book culture itself can be artfully shaped and re/formed within communities by the hands of the people who daily transform it.

We hope you will learn from these articles, we expect many will be transformed by what they witness through these accounts and a few might be inspired to take action themselves launching new initiatives and igniting change for the betterment of places, for the life of our cities and all who call them home and because they believe in the arts and all that communities, in action, together, can accomplish.

Our journey continues.

C.L. McLean, Editor

This book will be available in 2011. Inquiries

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