In May we were hosted by the CCA to run an event as part of the Ideas in Intentions in Action series. We themed the event around the relationship between critical education and creative practice, focusing on the role of art and creative methods in addressing and encouraging dialogue on societal issues (problem-posing), and its instrumental potential in bringing people together to carry out social change.
The event began with speakers presenting some examples, thoughts and reflection around their own experiences of doing critical education through creative practice. We then opened the floor for other participants to share their own experiences as well as asking questions.
Our speakers were Katrin Evans of A Moments Peace Theatre company, and Alex Bowie who has worked as a freelance community arts practitioner and now works for The Art Room. Both shared some powerful insights into the tensions and opportunities posed through the work they're doing, some of which have been captured by our illustrator-in-residence, Fiona Flemming who was illustrating the whole event (see slideshow below).
Following this dialogue, we enjoyed some delicious syrian treats made by the wonderful Shivan Khalil, before inviting participants to engage in a simple "creative action", creating postcards with thoughts/questions/ideas to be shared with other practitioners in near and far places. This is part of a wider Learning as we go thread: Postcards from Practice. We will be sharing these postcards and their responses in full soon so watch this space.
The final discussion - as ever far too little time - was devoted to discussion about what support is needed for those doing this stuff to do it well - and to be well (a really poignant theme that came out of the event). This discussion and others like it is also part of CAMINA's PAR Process, and will inform how CAMINA goes forward in the coming months.
Here's a reflection on the event by one of our beloved caminantes, Ruth Lamb...
What was it?
An event that looked at “Art and Creative Practice in Critical Education Activity”. In other words, how can art be used as the medium to get people engaged in critical education or thinking critically?
What did I think?
The night began with myself and Nicky rushing around in a room at the top of the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, profusely sweating with lots of interesting people coming into the very, hot CAA function room.
It ended with myself and a couple of others crying a little, ranting a little, hanging out together and smiling a lot. Personally, the whole thing; the venue, the topic matter, the attendees gave me a feeling of ‘should I be here?’, something I’m not too used to feeling and a feeling I don’t particularly like.
The event stirred an emotional and personal response within me, hitting on what CAMINA aims to do; to search, to admit insecurity, vulnerability and talk. Feelings of being O.K with where we are in our OWN identities, be they formed through being a community organiser / artist / facilitator / practitioner / worker or MEMBER.
Admitting this to ourselves as PEOPLE, before we start to talk of communities (often not our own) is a challenging enough task in a world of anxiety and overproduction (often what we don’t need); how do we then do this with strangers and admit our vulnerability or abilities as it may be, in comfort and confidence?
We are planning another of these events in Aberdeen in November, so watch this space for further details!
Events and workshops
As part of the learning as we go project we will deliver a range of workshops and eventsin the community which bring educators (and community members) together to explore what is needed to support more effective, sustainable and transformative practice.