The Role Of Art For Local Community Development

Read Complete Research Material

The Role of Art for Local Community Development

Role of Art for Local Community Development


The arts are often considered to be at the periphery of the community development process and only a minor player in regenerating areas. Despite increasing globalization, communities are beginning to recognize their own identity, culture, traditional art forms and the value of working together at a local level. This paper is based on a recent study which shows that the arts have a role in regeneration and at a local level can be used as a tool within a wider community development programme. For the purpose of this assignment, we have selected four articles which are listed in the references section.

Article 1

We enter the 21st Century living in a world which, in terms of information exchange, seems to be shrinking. Pictures and stories of riots in trouble spots are beamed onto our television screens, vast amounts of money can be moved around the globe by telephone and emails, while Pokemon cards are collected by children simultaneously in Edinburgh and Osaka. In this information age, there is confusion over 'community' - how we identify our own community and where we belong. Communities can be defined either on a global basis in terms of information technology communities or on a local basis as areas where people live together in families, in villages and conurbations. Alternatively, of course, communities have been defined as communities of interest.

According to Bowles, whereas globalization leads to the world's resources coming under the control of large multi-national corporations and thus fracturing local communities, there is residual power in acting locally and providing a voice to the powerless through community development. Many local communities have their own culture and history which adds to the quality of people's lives. In run-down, economically and socially depressed areas community development workers often have to look at a range of tools that will enable local people to engage together, develop social and economic skills and assume the power to fashion their own future.

One of these tools identified by Bowles is the use of participatory arts projects. There is evidence to show that art, as a medium, can enable individuals and groups to become more employable, more involved, more confident and more active in contributing to the development of their local communities. People-centred development strategies are increasing in vogue and art at a local level appears to be able to add to social and economic regeneration. The question is whether the arts are effective in achieving that aim and what is the real and perceived impact on a community?

The study conducted by Bowles included a review of the current literature followed by an examination of four very different case studies. The findings from the case studies were then used to comment on the role of the arts in regeneration in terms of community consultation, involvement and ownership of the project; the measurement and links between 'hard' and 'soft' impacts; the strategic use of the arts within wider regeneration politics; ...
Related Ads