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Community Cultural Development Techniques

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Brief description of technique

The approach integrates the skills and creativity of artists (often local) as part of broader community development strategies to ensure diverse community representation. Policy development and decision making must emerge from a communities articulation of its own values, identity, aspirations. This is the starting point and cultural activities can assist. Cultural artists and practitioners are uniquely placed to unearth the ideas and experiences of communities especially those who are not normally reached by traditional methods.

Techniques can be diverse and include visual and performing arts, video and film production, graphic design and computer imagery.

To what kinds of consultation situations is this approach best suited?

Community Cultural Development Techniques are useful for visioning exercises such as the development of a community plan. They are particular valuable for community building and neighbourhood renewal activities where new agendas and new ways of looking at issues can be forged, interpreted and developed.

What are the skills required?

As with the techniques this will vary widely and the creative scope is potentially endless.

Strengths
  • Techniques for engaging a broad and often extensive range of participants.
  • Terrific engagement potential for the community which can often result in ongoing activities.
  • Can create lasting and beautiful outputs.
  • Provides local artists with employment and opportunities to spread ideas.
  • A technique which enables an entirely fresh approach to local policy issues to be taken and new perspectives made on the role of local governments and culture.
Weaknesses
  • Can be costly depending on materials required.
Resources Required

Costs will relate to employment of local artists, associated venue hire and cost of materials for production of artwork.

Other information
The Cultural Development Network is an independent organisation that connects and supports Councils and community cultural advocates and practitioners throughout Victoria. It provides research, lobbying and professional development services to advance the cause of cultural democracy at the local level. It has released a book, The Fourth Pillar of Sustainability: Culture's Role in Public Planning. For more information, contact the network's Executive Officer, Judy Spokes on [email protected].

CASE STUDY

Council or other authority
Kingston City Council
Name of Project
Best Value Service Review - Community Services/Out of School Hours CareParticipant Feedback
Date of consultation
October 2001
Aim of consultation
To gain specific feedback on the strengths of each program and identify improvements that could be made in program planning and equipment purchasing.
Consultation methods used
  • Primary school aged children were encouraged to draw aspects of the program they liked and any additional equipment or activities they would like.
  • Staff were asked to discuss each picture with the children and write a brief interpretation of the picture to assist with analysis.
  • Some children also wrote key words about the programs.
Description of consultation

The consultation was a program activity in Kingston's 10 out of school hours care programs, which have between 30-45 places each. Children attending the programs were very keen to participate. Drawing was used to involve younger and older children and to ensure each child's views were represented.

Pictures were thematically analysed by program location and across the program as a whole by the service review project team.

Success of the consultation

There were two key outcomes of the consultation process. First specific program information from participants. The 10 program venues vary greatly in relation to space, indoor and outdoor play equipment and cooking facilities. The information gathered will guide equipment purchasing to overcome the limitations of each program and better meet children's needs.

Information on the age-appropriateness of program activities was also gathered, for example, some older children said they would like more physical activities, such as outdoor games and excursions.

A key lesson was to ensure staff discussed each child's picture so the child's interpretation was documented. This was particularly important for younger children, who were not able to support their picture with key words.

The consultation process was not formally evaluated.

Other comments
The consultation with children was one component of a larger out of school hours care consultation with stakeholders, which included parents, program staff and school representatives.
Contact person
Name: Lisa Gallagher Position: Senior Community Services Planner
Phone number: (03) 9581 4581 Email: [email protected]

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