Taking Yourselves Seriously: Artistic approaches to social cohesion

Taking yourself seriously is a rather strong request … it means recognising that the way you work is quite special and there is something to be valued in it. The Taking Yourselves Seriously project group met in February, we are a truly multi-disciplinary band of specialists. I noted early on that there was something good going on with the group.  Not only were we of an approach to work – life boundaries, that had seen almost all of us hold a variety of professional and non-professional  roles across our life paths, but we met as equals. I spend a lot of my working, volunteering and home life considering issues of power, trust and conflict negotiation. I work in academia, a profoundly hierarchical world, yet we met on this project not as Professor, Student, Artist, youth worker, Doctor or Poet but as Katy, Mubarak, Vicki, Zahir or Panni. From the outset knowledge in all its forms was valued and recognised.

That is not to say that we brought the same perspectives on the world, straight away conflict was recognised, owned and discussed, but what was important that we recognised our individual expertise and saw the potential in sharing, developing and creating collective knowledge. At the intersections of our experience, a collective approach began to emerge. We spent time using creative approaches, art and poetry to explore our motivations, understandings and expectations of the project. In doing this we built a sense of shared approach.

Since our meeting in February the three projects; School, Poetry, Community Project have began to develop. Supported by a critical thinking group which is engaging in shared reflective learning alongside the project creation. As the researcher on the project I have taken my cue from the multi-specialist group and began my reading around Arts Methodologies, Integrated Working and Social Cohesion. In taking a multi disciplinary approach to the research, I seek to reflect the multi-disciplinary expertise of the project team.

This blog will be updated roughly every month and will share with you emerging learning about our approach and projects as we begin to develop our creative methodologies within the project spaces.

For more details on this project please visit the Projects page of the website.