By Professor Andy Bennett
‘Creative communities’ is a well-worn phrase conventionally equated with notions of wellbeing, civic participation and social inclusion.
Creativity in this sense is regarded as social glue that bonds individuals together through collaboration in various forms of creative projects – visual art, drama, dance, theatre, music, writing or a combination of these – that bring communities together in positive and fulfilling ways.
Community also connotes a wholehearted feeling, the strength of relationships in networks or inclusiveness through a sense of shared characteristics and values.
The International Creative Communities Conference has already been held twice in previous years and each time the conference has garnered tremendous community response.
Held in the uniquely divergent community of the Gold Coast City, Creative Communities 3 (CC3) will explore topics related and important to grass-root responses and cultural leadership for community development and for the building of community spirit.
This is especially timely as the Gold Coast starts preparations to host the Commonwealth Games and considers what sort of community it will reflect to the world.
In recent years many Australian cities have confronted changing and challenging economic, industrial, environmental and social circumstances. Communities have engaged creative and cultural approaches to manage the risks and possibilities posed by crisis, natural disasters, redevelopment, and urban regeneration.
Local governments have also provided significant community development capacity to restore and strengthen the social fabric of communities. Yet must we only invest, question and redefine our sense of communities, our capacities and culture in times of crisis?
CC3 asks a number of questions that remain largely unaddressed:
- How does creativity actually impact community?
- How are decisions on processes of inclusion/exclusion in creative cultural practices made and who controls such decisions?
- What happens to a creative community when access to resources that facilitate its creativity are lost or compromised and what sort of factors can contribute to this – eg. Socio-economic change, civil unrest, urban redevelopment, shifts in state and government policy?
These factors can seriously impact upon the cohesion and wellbeing of local communities. Yet, they can also inspire innovative and sometimes unpredictable responses on the part of communities and open up unforeseen dialogues, connections and creative solutions to the problems they face at the local, everyday level.
Creative Communities 3: Risks and Possibilities will explore these issues and challenges.
Cultural Politics, Democratising Democracy from the Grassroots, Contemporary Art and Initiatory Trauma, Intergenerational Engagement and Art Activism in Post-Disaster Resilience and Community Building.
Keynote speakers will explore:
International Community Arts & Politics (Francois Matarosso, UK)
Applying Indicators of Community Strenghts beyond Gross Domestic Product (Geoff Woolcock, Griffith)
How the Arts can help save the world (Neil Cameron, Aust)
Professor Andy Bennett is the director of the Griffith Centre for Cultural Research. His research expertise lies in popular music, youth music, identity and lifestyle, post-subcultural theory and cultural sociology.