ECPA is partner of the 9 ICCP Conference that will take place this year in Naples from September 21 to September 24
The call for papers is still open (June 10, the final deadline) as well as the opportunity to benefit from reduced fees.
Don’t stall, take a look at the Conference website and organize your trip to Naples. And yes, you can also attend online, but if we may make a suggestion….take the opportunity to benefit from a conference of great scientific and applied interest and enjoy the beauty of a unique city in the world. Why not take advantage of all the benefits? Naples, Italian and European community psychology are waiting for you.
Imagine, people put creativity, arts and music in place of war and violence.
Imagine, young people learn by being creative and living their passion. Imagine, people use their creative skills to develop visions for being artists, professionals and entrepreneurs.
In Place of War is a global network which goes beyond empowerment story-telling. They help people to create and live their stories of community resilience. Since 2004, they enable grassroots change-makers in music, theatre and across the arts to transform a culture of violence and suffering into hope, opportunity and freedom. Up to now, dozens of creative educational and performative projects in more than 26 countries around the world have been launched successfully.
In Place of War supports individuals or communities that have been affected by war, post-war, gang-war and political oppression. They:
create safe and technically equipped cultural spaces and art centres (like studios, theatres or galleries) in the most marginalized communities in the world.
have developed a creative entrepreneur training (CASE), designed specifically for conflict zones; more than 200 trainers in 18 countries have been trained.
curate international artistic collaboration as an antidote to violence, and they share skills, knowledge and hope. Over 1000 artists from 25 countries have been mobilized and created gigs, festivals, tours, collaborations and theater performances.
In Place of War-projects show how art engages people away from violence, enables freedom of expression and helps people develop positive role models. Arts centres create places of safety in conflict zones, offer young people a way to escape from everyday conflict, and provide spaces to develop alternative values and norms. Artistic collaboration breaks down barriers and give voice to the voiceless. Art is a tool for engagement in communities, for reconciliation and intercultural dialogue, and imagining worlds different from the one you are in. It is creating fun, joy and beauty — in places where this is in short supply.
The Energy Garden is based in London and tackles climate change that educates and unites London communities through gardening. This project began using spaces next to the railway station platforms to increase urban planting and offset emissions from the transport sector. This has expanded to include 30 solar-powered gardens. In addition, the Energy Garden initiative has expanded to include school workshops and youth training programs to teach youth sustainable practices.
The Energy Garden sites now host bat huts, swift nests, hedgehog houses, honeybee, and bumblebee shelters essential in London because its bee population is under threat. The Energy Garden also grows hops for making its own craft beer. Above all, there is community enthusiasm for the Energy Garden initiative.
This is a creative, community-based initiative that produced multiple benefits- community connections, biodiversity, education on sustainable practices, with the ultimate goal of combating climate change.
One of many consequences of the lockdown in UK is that children are not allowed to meet and play out with their friends at their defined but closed playgrounds. In some cities in UK this situation led to creative and ‚anarchic’ responses, where residents took control of their streets, transforming parking spaces and public roads into attractive playgrounds for children in the neighbourhood.
Beyond those activities, the main issue addresses the impact of erosion of everyday freedoms of children in their play, restricted and controlled also in times of non-pandemic. “Is it right that we’re packing our kids into small spaces and letting cars all over our streets? The pandemic has allowed these conversations to be had, which otherwise might be seen to be too radical.”, the author is citing a parent governer and public health researcher in London.
For me these community activities are in the first line a remarkable example of empowerment in action. But rethinking what we take for granted seems even more important. A crucial first step is a shift in attitude as to the current model of ownership of public space.
Captain Tom Moore, a 99-year-old British war veteran did what he could do to raise money for health care service. Using a walking frame, the world war two veteran walked 100 laps of his garden. His goal was to complete the laps before his 100th birthday.
He raised $31.3 million for the healthcare service. Old age is no barrier to responding to the needs of the community.
In our neighbourhood, a place called Chorlton, in Manchester, UK, we (a group of residents, chaired by me a community psychologist) organise a community arts festival every year. This year, after planning and scheduling over 200 artists to engage in creative activities across 60 community places, we had to cancel. Then a local resident came along and offered to curate a digital or virtual festival. This went ahead in October. We worked with 20 of the original artists to prepare virtual galleries, and virtual streets of Chorlton, learning as we went, and opening the festival to all.
Over a 3 day period, residents visited galleries, specially created ‘rooms (one about art-from-rubbish in a rubbish bin!), listened to virtuoso performances and bands on a large screen in a festival field where they could also chat with each other, played games in the virtual streets – and all of this virtual – and free! There were activities for all ages and embraced many different cultures.
Whilst the festival had no barriers to inclusion, of course digital capability was an issue – Like everything else in this COVID year, digital inclusion enabled participation but exclusion did the opposite. If people could not attend uring the 3 day festival, they could access the virtual worlds afterwards. As follow up activities the virtual festival field and local streets were transformed for Halloween. In recognition that not only was digital exclusion an issue, but navigating the virtual worlds was challenging for anyone over the age of 25, we have mounted some learning opportunities in collaboration with a local college.
Story and pictures shared by Carolyn Kagan, United Kingdom.
Every resident in three abutting streets were connected via whatsApp, facebook or by door knocking. They kept in contact sharing things, ideas and experiences throughout the lockdown. One of the things that everyone agreed on, was the glory of the silence, the lack of traffic the breathable air (in the City), and the opportunities to discover what neighbours were interested in – who played the ukelele, who made jam, who ran a plant swop, who could sew, who could sing, who had a saw and who liked to run. Over time the joys of walking and cycling became clear.
We held some Zoom meetings and conducted a survey to be sure of the interest in traffic reduction, and made an application to the Government to close the group of streets to vehicular traffic. Even if this is unsuccessful, the shared interest in traffic reduction that has arisen from the pandemic, is a good foundation for further resident-led climate action.
Neighbours knew who did not have (or use) internet – lesson – get to know your neighbours. Given a reason to connect, people enjoyed the connections – lesson – find a common shared purpose. Things (like climate action) do not happen without leadership – lesson – lead: and consider why not you?
Our village’s ladies social group (on Whats app) discussed soon after lockdown, what could we do for local residents. It was agreed that we could together, do some practical tasks such as shopping, dog walking or phone calls to help combat isolation. One person volunteered to advertise their home phone number, a “flyer” was produced that offered all kinds of practical and emotional help to residents and to ring the main volunteer’s number, who would then arrange others to undertake support tasks. The leaflet was distributed to every household in the village by a number of volunteers.
Leaflet given out to every household. A number of people requested help with shopping for essential items and were allocated a volunteer.
It was quick and easy to do. Sharing tasks meant no one person was trying to do everything. People felt support was there (even if they didn’t need it). It linked to Nextdoor ap which was used throughout UK.
Girls Gang, a community action group for teenage girls in a disadvantaged community produced positive posters to be included in food packages being sent to families experiencing poverty and hardship during lockdown. The group wanted to do something to help the community but felt limited in ways they could enact their citizenship during lockdown. Messages in the posters included words of hope, tips for coping with lockdown and also telling residents that they were not alone.
Recipients of the care packages told the coordinators that the posters helped to lift spirits at times when anxieties were high. It also provided the girls with an opportunity to enact their civic citizenship under the civic restrictions imposed under lockdown.
Class based inequalities are being exacerbated during the lockdown but working class and poor communities are finding creative ways to support one another.
One resident bought some chalk for his children to use and started writing messages when it was a birthday or an anniversary; these messages of congratulations and solidarity can be seen from our second story windows.
Children from the area started adding portraits so that it looks like they are all holding hands, something that they cannot not do during lockdown. The idea was first started by children but soon it became a focus of the street, with every resident (including pets) being included in this collective portrait.
The street art was a welcome distraction during these unsettling times, which resulted in increased well-being and community identity on our street.
Creative means of connecting people can emerge when we are separated. Initiatives for children can have spill over effects to grown ups!
Shared by Suzanne Wilson, from the United Kingdom.