Fragment: Deliberation Notes Stan Chisholm
A Book of Proceedings and A Proposition Community Culture: Making Effective Intersections March 16, 2014 These records were compiled by Cheeraz Gormon, Ilene Berman, Sophie Lipman, Con Christeson, Ed Carroll and Vita Geluniene. Following the record of the conversations, a â€˜Propositionâ€™ is put forward which outlines the next tentative steps.
About Deliberation Deliberation is an artistic form of conversation and exchange. It is indeed a paradox that while communication is to the fore of exchange today through social media platforms it has become more difficult to exercise a reasonable exchange of views in public contemporary democratic and public discourse. Therefore, this event brought a range of different voices and interests to this debate on the potency of effective arts and cultural intersections in the North side of St. Louis. It offers the opportunity to present ideas, hear the ideas of others, and, maybe change views on the topic. This event is designed as a conversation. The event is organized in a round table format where the views of participants are shared, heard and challenged. The focus of the discourse is Community Culture which aims to make effective intersections among North side community, cultural institutional and artistic leaders. Each table discussed the same question under four headings: (i) Personal Role and Issues of Interest, (ii) Building Consensus about a Shared Interest; (iii) Co-generate a Common Vision, (iv) Produce a Plan for Action. Each table was moderated and what follows is a record of the conversations that were written up.
Table A Participants Loletta Zasaretti Sophie Lipman Lisa Melandri Annette Bridges ` Fr. Michael Barber Ilene Berman Philip Deitch Donna Lindsey
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1. Personal Roles and Issues of Interest -Arts activist in the city also led to developing a personal artistic expression -Striking balance between the arts institution and its needs/role and finding out what the local neighbourhoods need/want from the institution -Possibility for university institution to reach out to local communities -Institutions, used to a model in which â€˜people come to themâ€™ are now asking what it means to â€˜reach people? -Photographic practice at the service of community documentation and working for the visibility in institutional practices of diverse communities e.g. STL250 -Working for community service organisations and making connections between artists and community members
-Lack of communication between institutions and what is going on in communities -How can institutions better support what is already happening? 2. Building Consensus about a Shared Vision -Discuss diversity from multiple perspectives i.e. Economic, racial, etc -Inclusion also needs to address exclusion so that it is clear what precisely the heart of intent is -Exclusion involves political intent i.e. Specific audiences, such as funders, are targeted so as to capitalize on these groups -Exclusion involves staging events in inaccessible places that makes them no longer local e.g. Moving the Blues Festival to Chesterfield and contracting an out of town organiser shifts its centeredness’ away from the city -Working outside of the political realm to try and provide access for what people want -Working outside the political realm is a priority and involves focusing on one to one relationships and analyzing them -Linking institutional mission and community need. Identify assets in the community. -Developing inter-institutional approaches - institutions working together to serve their community . 3. Co generating a Common Vision -Task of efficient and functional communication to explain what is going on already in neighbourhoods -Task of building effective community partnerships across its assets of schools, business, libraries, etc -Task of building a network that taps into the bubbles/silos of the different neighbourhood -Addressing fractures e.g. neighbourhoods pitted against each other due to the ‘illusion’ of scarcity -Reduce barriers that keep us from not communicating -Honest public assessment of the politics of STL -Address the confluence of ideas and recommendations that many conversations in the city raise-up. 4. Produce a Plan for Action Deploy social media e.g. facebook pages which are used by most neighbourhoods -Demonstrate these problems through the arts by telling the truth of STL through murals, monuments, spoken word, etc -Use the arts to educate the different audiences in the STL community
-SHOW and SPREAD the word about the current political situation and lack of communication to get people on the same page -Convince communities to participate as audiences -Continue conversations in North STL -Place and context needed
Table B Participants Roseann Weiss Regional Arts Commission Con Christeson Peter and Paul Arts Collaborative Stan Chisholm Artist James A. Page Organising for Action Habeebah Thomas M-SLICE Dayna Kriz Rebuild Foundation Ed Carroll Craft Alliance AiR
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1. Personal Roles and Issues of Interest -Reflected upon the efficacy of the city of St Louis, its ways of working in poor communities and its children -Putting art and activism together and make it seen in the city -Boiling-up conversations that creatively comment on the situation in the city -Working to develop local action even when the 'pull' at local level is missing -Trying not to be selfish and sharing of talent that one has to make the city better. -Trying to sort out and balance personal roles as artist and organiser in a specific community 2. Building Consensus about a Shared Vision -The distance between the arts and activism suggests a need for more collaboration between people with different skills. -Art can empower, open up the scope of community people and provoke -Art can assist in mobilising e.g. If you engage children then you can engage parents. -Art can bring together different centres and perspectives. 3. Co generating a Common Vision -Needing a pull and a push -Finding traction to make real change is the challenge -The pull and the push needs to find its equilibrium between relationships and the time it takes to build up real connnections -Finding reciprocity needs to a practice of time and duration and needs a language too
-Bridging arts and community (music, dance, etc) can have an effect in giving young people a stake e.g. Registering as a voter, etc -Communities often are in a position where they self manage (DIY issues like schooling, faith,etc ) but a wider infrastructure of coordination is not there -Artists are present to communitis with MFA, CAT, TIGER and other skills but are struggling, sole individuals -Institutions have funding and potential but the community focus and funding priority has yet to be established as a priority 4. Produce a Plan for Action -Forming practical ways to be change makers will need five hours not just the five minutes left to us -An Approach offered had five elements: (i) start small, (ii) get to know the situation: send up a trial balloon or dig up a sink hole, (iii) do a needs assessment, (iv) do a pilot programme, (v) bring partners to bthe table e.g. Funders and institutions -Artistic practice (arts, community and institutional) that can combine methods from the arts, activism, and other fields to realise and make visible the community space as a site of deep cultural heritage and expression.
Table C Participants Cheeraz Gormon artist David Brinker MOCRA Juan William Chavez Artist John Winn Community Mental Health Boo McLaughlin Craft Alliance Damon Davis Artist David Alexander Artist Romona T. Williams M-SLICE
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1. Personal Roles and Issues of Interest -Experience community evolution and growth as people -Asking tough questions about how segregation works in the city -Possibility of arts through social media to unite -Desire to bridge the gap -Artwork that opens up a dialogue about how things work -Creating understanding of who is doing what -Creating space where culture can thrive and be a tool of social change -Need to get beyond the institutional walls and to rebrand STL -Possibility of children as agents of change
2. Build Consensus about a Shared Vision -Cogenerating a vision to bring together the STL villages -Shared emotional investment involving everyone as part of the aspiration -Develop sensitivities that bring us together -De-polarise segregation -Celebrating the North STL communities – NORTHSIDE 3. Co generating a Common Vision -Coming together around 3 days of action involving free cultural exchange -Changing narrative of communities and having all organizations around the new narrative -De-polarisation process 4. Produce a Plan for Action -Community has to engage with the scribes -Community has to start its own dialogue -Major universities as a launch for creating community e.g. film as a form of communication to share understanding -Record label e.g. ‘far-fetched’ to empower a diverse group of people -Broaden participation in who is participating in Grand Center conversations -Bring art to communities and bring in members of community, funders, artists and organizations.
Others Present on the day: Donna Burch Photographer Lisa Harper Change CAT/RAC Vita Geluniene Craft Alliance AiR David Rocca Documentor
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Other comments: I thought Sunday’s discussion was a strong exchange of ideas. It was good to hear what people think is needed and to make connections that will give us a way to go forward! Thank you for your singular work. You have done a remarkable job of bringing people together who have not been in the same room despite much gnashing of teeth over the ‘Delmar Divide’! (Boo McLoughlin)
Proposition After that event the collaborators for this event (Cheeraz Gormon, Ilene Berman, Vita Geluniene and Ed Carroll) met on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 to reflect upon the Public Deliberation, to identify common issues and challenges.
Observation of the working groups The energy in three working groups was extremely positive, effective and equally distributed. There was a will to listen deeply and to hear what people had to say in relation to the theme. However, some communications were based on the presumptions rather than knowledge and that caused tensions. Ideas Pause assumptions - narratives that we believe in may not be real. Base conversation on knowledge, honesty and criticality. Create forms of parity of esteem in which invisible narratives might be ventilated and existing ones changed or transformed. Focus on the group as the subject of work over a six month period and, together, create micro actions among us that would strengthen relationships and lead to a long term collaborative actions. Act on Relationships Assembly a small Working Group (6 persons) to commit on behalf of the Group to work towards a set of modest milestones. This could involve the artist collaborators (i.e. Cheeraz, Ilene) and the institutional expertise of the Consortium who organised the residency for Ed and Vita. Most importantly, invitation to ‘community members’ would be central. Act on Cooperative Actions. Examples could include: -Artistically extend the social dialogues and research begun in Chronicle Coffee e.g. Community venues, CAM Front Room, Pulitzer ‘pixel’ project. -Go See Actions aimed at deepening knowledge of the work of group members in community, institutions and individual art practices. -Invest in a ‘international’ dimension through take up of the invite to plan a common manifestation in 2016/7 in Lithuania in October (25,27,27) 2014. The sum of these actions could be greater than the parts.
St Louis Deliberation is conceived and developed by Ed Carroll and Vita Geluniene in association with artists Ilene Berman and Cheeraz Gormo...