What is community participation? ARTS2GETHER February-March contribution

Community participation - it's about reaching out to those that are less lucky than we are and finding out what their goals are and how they can feel they are contributing - hence feel part of their community. Sometimes it's about 'random acts of kindness' - to a person we know or don't know; a neighbour who is lonely, a disabled person who could do with your help, a new migrant or refugee who would welcome a friendly smile - marginalised people are all around us, but we don't necessarily notice... so where can you start - what small difference can you make tomorrow?

In the big picture the ARTS2GETHER project joins in nationwide efforts to accelerate the social integration of disabled and marginalised people. For our March project, we are organising encounters where marginalised artists get the opportunity to work together with mainstream artists - so we'll all be creative as a group! 

The plan - Orchestrate March gatherings during which we'll create together
Gatherings will take place during Cultural hour on University of Waikato campus:

The Campaign - Building energy and momentum
The ARTS2GETHER campaign is starting Feb 13 leading up to our student enrolment day at the University of Waikato Tuesday 4 March 1 to 2pm near Momento Cafe by the University lake during O week... we'll be under the "Think Differently" banner! Think Differently is a Ministry of Social Development initiative supporting our initiative - more coming soon!

Leading up to the O week event, we will build up our audience on the project Facebook page: www.facebook.com/StoryBehindEveryNZ.YOUth

Starting today from 882 likes, we aim to cross the 1000 likes line before the O Week event. Our strategy for the next 14 days:
  • Adding snappy local video content: The Waikato Uni team will shoot small video clips of their FaceBook friends talking about how they inspire themselves, what creativity or creating together means to them, their dreams of inclusive communities... topics connected to our project. The short clips will be posted and tagged, and their friends will get an email to direct them to the Facebook page. Each of our 4 uni team members will post 5 short videos – 20 video clips of inclusiveness and togetherness.
  • From Tauranga, Stacey will research the topic of advocacy in finding one's voice in contribution and community integration and post 2 stories each day.
Enrolment day - A mindful welcoming 
During O week we'll be looking to enrol volunteer students to organise a 2 day 'Making Art Together' activity where disabled artists will be working side by side with mainstream artists. Volunteers will help with the logistics, the organisation, some data collection (filming and editing video clips to report on the work done) and/or anything they'd like to contribute to this idea!! It is about welcoming people who typically feel excluded.

The invitation - An intentional invitation
Starting now, we point to our networks in the disability sector and invite disabled and marginalised people to join in at these two events. People who will not normally feel invited will be made to feel welcome and contribute to the artwork as integral part of the group

The outcome - A collective pop-up group production
The large banner-size canvas will be laid down and small groups will draw, paint, glue.. or add what, in their eyes, represents togetherness. They will also write a short piece about their interpretation of the collective activity to add a narrative to the visual. We will learn from our first encounter and make the second one even better!

These collective pop-up art pieces will be exhibited in the centre of Hamilton at the library on Garden Place - a library is a place that welcomes all and all will be proud to invite their families to show how they participated in the collective art!  



Community participation - it's about reaching out to those that are less lucky than we are and finding out what their goals are and how they can feel they are contributing - hence feel part of their community. Sometimes it's about 'random acts of kindness' - to a person we know or don't know; a neighbour who is lonely, a disabled person who could do with your help, a new migrant or refugee who would welcome a friendly smile - marginalised people are all around us, but we don't necessarily notice... so where can you start - what small difference can you make tomorrow?

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Community Hospitality Network- Hamilton, New Zealand and that of Cheryl Cockburn-Wootten and Alison McIntosh from the Waikato Management School.