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Co-creativity hubs across Europe use art to build life skills

One of Culture Action Europe’s projects, Come2Art is in full swing, building relationships between artists and cultural workers and community members by developing life skills through arts through creative placemaking. The project gives artists a leading social role in building community resilience through arts, and involved citizens will acquire life skills, such as self-regulation of emotions, flexibility, communication and collaboration, digital content creation, and creative thinking. The project is now beginning to organise its creative placemaking projects, which is a great time to see some updates about what the project has recently been up to:

Come2Art Training
In September, 29 artists and cultural workers from Greece, Portugal and Italy gathered in Brussels to take part in a 5-day training by the COME2ART partners. The training prepared them to undertake the roles of community educators and creativity ambassadors. Over the course of the week, the group participated in team-building exercises, seminars and workshops to learn more about topics such as the relationship between art and emotion, collective approaches to artistic expression, and digital tools for creative expression. The artists and cultural workers received certificates upon completing the training in order to implement their skills in their respective communities.

Community Focus Groups
One of the tools to promote the development and application of new life skills through creative placemaking was Focus Groups with community members and artists. During these meetings, efforts were made to directly identify the needs, challenges, and emotions of the main target groups of the project: young people aged 18 to 30, women and representatives of ethnic and cultural minority groups.

During the Focus Groups community members gathered to discuss the effects of the pandemic on their interpersonal relationships, their need to feel creative and productive, and the need to share emotions. One of the takeaways from the sessions was the importance of digital media during the absence f arts and cultural events and activities during Covid, somehow providing an alternative. Groups also concluded that not being able to meet with their friends and peers made their creative expression significantly decrease. A final outcome of the focus group discussions was the need to work more closely with youth to support their creative self-expression. Covid created a “cultural poverty” for many young people, which was determined as an opportunity for artists to develop creative ways for them to communicate and create with each other.

Co-Creativity Hubs
In each partner country, Grece, Italy and Portugal, artists have been connecting the skills they learned in their Brussels training to the needs of those in their communities. In these hubs, artists and community members worked together on mini-artistic projects. Throughout their work together, they did creative exercises and place-making artistic practices proposed by the artists and realized by the trainee: starting from collective performance in the public space, the trainees experimented multiple techniques (among which are creative writing and sensory exploration of public space and monuments) relating themselves to the peers, collaborating together and connecting with the city and the surrounding landscape, theatre of historical and social conflicts.

What’s next?
Soon, the Creativity Placemaking Projects will be presented. These activities will be designed by co-creativity hubs and will engage the wider public and stakeholders in the decision-making and implementation of projects. These will be public art projects that will be displayed in the public realm and can be enjoyed by anyone in the community. The aim of the activity is to promote civic engagement and volunteering, foster transferable life skills, empower and influence personal and community wellbeing. The types of projects will be designed soon! They could take the shape of a large-scale sculpture or crafts, projection, mosaic, or mural arts. It will be up to the hubs to decide!

Stay tuned for upcoming news!