The Covid-19 pandemic has abruptly disrupted our lives and everyday routines, and attempting to stay social in the time of social distancing has created different sets of challenges and forced us to reframe our understanding of communication and community. With the help of technology, some of us are able to “communicate” virtually and continue to sustain some sense of community and belonging despite physical distancing. However, it is no longer feasible for the art and cultural practice that involves working with “real people in a real community through real conversations and communication” to continue to do its work with integrity under these circumstances. We are being compelled to think differently and in many cases consider entirely new concepts which redefine and reimagine our embedded notions and preconceptions in these areas.
So when, or if, we are back to our so-called ‘normal’ life, what is our new normal? What does communication mean to us now? What is our community? Taking this very vulnerable time as an opportunity, what can learn about new forms of community and communication, what should we leave in the past, and how can we reimagine our collective futures? For this webinar, Shelagh Wright, Peter Jenkinson and Hiroko Kikuchi would like to share how the arts and cultural sector is dealing with the current situation, how artists are responding to it in the context of redefining communication and community, and to open up the discussion to think collectively about the theme of the webinar.
This webinar will take the form of a participatory workshop; please have a pen and a piece of blank, white paper ready.
Date: Thursday 21 May 2020
About the contributors
Hiroko Kikuchi is an artist and the Co-founder/Creative Director of inVisible. Over the course of 18 years, her experiences extend from creating socially engaged art projects, to providing engagement based strategic direction and leading educational programs for arts and cultural institutions; management of programs for arts, culture, youth development and community-building, and design thinking for social change. After having lived and worked in the US for 20 years, she returned to Japan in 2011 to work as a member of the start-up team for Social Creative Platform for Opportunity: Project Wawa where she designed the creative industries strategy to support grassroots reconstruction efforts following the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake in Japan. Since then, she has been involved in developing projects for arts and cultural institutions, community-building, and creative place making for social change in Japan and the US. In 2015, she co-founded the non-profit arts and community development organization inVisible in Japan. Hiroko holds a M.F.A. degree in interdisciplinary studies from Tufts University, in affiliation with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, with a special focus on performance art, history, and theory, and social practice.
Peter Jenkinson and Shelagh Wright are committed internationalists based in London, UK, with extensive experience in supporting creative and cultural action for progressive social, political as well as economic development around the world. Their current collaborative ventures include: ODD, a long-term action research enquiry into socially-engaged cultural and creative practice with a focus on people and agencies that pursue positive deviance and democratic development; leading the Arts & Citizenship dimension of RESHAPE, a European~Southern Mediterranean network exploring systemic change in the cultural ecology; research into the contribution of cultural and creative activists in the campaigns and political culture of the new Municipalist movement; Labs of Care, a European programme of experimentation around the practice of care in progressive movements and networks; and the devising and co-facilitation of learning programmes with young cultural innovators and activists working to build active citizenship and community in their cities around the world. Peter has a long and award-winning career in museums and galleries and was the founding director of The New Art Gallery Walsall and the first national director of Creative Partnerships UK. Shelagh was a long-time associate of the think tank Demos working on creative learning and democratic entrepreneurship and is currently Vice-Chair of Compass. They are both UK ambassadors to the Danish creative and cultural political party The Alternativet.