Enabling the ‘Other Community’ through Creative Pedagogies for Urban Renewal: Exploring the Affiliation Between Contemporary Art Practices and Democratic Values

Esther Sayers

Abstract


This article draws on an art-in-education project in the UK to explore the value of creative pedagogy in the process of urban renewal. I explore the idea that community engagement is not simply about learning as an instrument to produce a person who is ready for active citizenship within a democracy, but rather to enable newly configured communities where an individual’s uniqueness is savoured. Biesta (2006) refers to this as the other community, which contrasts with the idea of a social group in which existing structures are rationalised according to pre-existing rules or values; the other community does not attempt to replicate same-ness. I focus on ArtScapers, an art-in-education project that uses practice research to explore the implications of creative pedagogy on community formation. The exploration of this art project with three UK Primary Schools employs cultural theory to investigate strategies for arts engagement with a particular interest on inclusion. Community consultation is commonplace in urban centres undergoing regeneration, and the potency of public voice can be variable. This article explores ArtScapers as a consultation model in which there has been a process of genuine engagement. Using cultural theory to analyse pedagogy, I assert that creative practices can purposefully draw communities together into mini democracies.

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