Creative Forms for Creating Community

By Gretchen Ennis.

Published by The International Journal of Community Diversity

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 26, 2014 $US5.00

The arts are a powerful medium for reflection about identity and can be used as a vehicle for creating understanding between groups of people grappling with issues of cultural difference in communities. Drawing upon recently completed PhD research, this article highlights the value of video making for exploring culture, difference, and colonization in a suburban context. The research is centred on the development of a grass-roots neighbourhood project based in Darwin, located at the "top end" of the Northern Territory of Australia. From 2008 to 2010, a small group of residents worked together to increase positive social connections across different cultural groups in their suburb. A key aspect of the project was the creation of a neighbourhood DVD, which featured local stories (about the past and the present), and highlighted neighbourhood assets. The processes of making and sharing the video became a focal point for the creation of an alternative community identity. Using a narrative analysis of 20 participant interviews, the research in this paper is focused on understanding the meaning and function of the video to the community. While many mediums can be used for encouraging connections between diverse groups of people, this arts-based approach was particularly useful for facilitating new learning, new connections and new feelings, all related to deeper considerations of community identity and belonging.

Keywords: Community, Diversity, Community Arts, Multiculturalism

The International Journal of Community Diversity, Volume 13, Issue 1, July 2014, pp.13-26. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 26, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 420.150KB)).

Dr. Gretchen Ennis

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Research Centre for Health and Wellbeing, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

Gretchen is a social researcher, community worker and musician. She has professional background in social work and community development, working mainly in Northern Territory in Australia. Gretchen's areas of interest include: community cultural development, meaningful evaluation with small non-government organisations, and housing. Gretchen recently completed PhD on the topic of neighbourhood networks.