Intercultural – Introduction

By Hans Noijens and Ingrid Smit, LKCA (Netherlands)

We have collected and analyzed six examples of intercultural projects / interventions from the idea that each specific project, however contextual it may be different, contains elements that are transferable and that retain their value and effect in a different context.

The contexts differ because the examples come from Denmark, Austria and the Netherlands and it is interesting to see to what extent national characteristics (differences and similarities) can be identified. At the same time, regardless of their national context, the projects also differ in approach and it is interesting to look for the results as a outcome of a specific approach. We also want to look at the characteristics on which projects focus and the goals that are being pursued. We do so from the idea that a goal-oriented approach not only influences the results, but is simply a condition for stakeholders and funding providers to commit themselves.

Intercultural projects (also socially artistic projects) are characterized by the following elements:

A.  public image

B.  quality of life

C.  personal development

D.  social cohesion.

These elements return in different ways. There are cultural projects that focus strongly on the living environment and neighbourhood;  there are also projects that focus more on talent and personal development or project that aim for social cohesion. So we can distinguish different types of projects with different goals and of course: these goals can be mixed or combined:

  • Hard core community arts: where personal development and social cohesion are concerned. These are projects in which stories and images of residents are captured, the social artistic practices, the projects surrounding their own intangible heritage or participants.
  • Public attractors: where image formation in the public domain and physical quality of life are important. District festivals, performing art on location, temporary and permanent art in public space.
  • Icons in the neighborhood: where it concerns image formation in the public domain and physical quality of life. For example: redevelopment of heritage, social real estate under architecture.
  • Cultural entrepreneurship: where it concerns physical quality of life and personal development. Here you can think of breeding places, temporary destinations of empty shopping strips and demolition, fashion street, music street.
  • Talent development: where physical quality and personal development are concerned. As important pillars urban arts, leather orchestra, every child an instrument, cultural education in and out of school.
  • Cultural self-organization: where personal development and social cohesion are important. You can think of amateur art, historical clubs, local radio, pop bands, brass band, Caribbean brass band.
  • Socio-cultural work: social cohesion and public perception, talent hunting, food projects, mosaics.
  • Participatory planning: where social cohesion and public perception are important. (Re) design and creative management of public space, temporarily or permanently.

For organizers, artistic supervisors and also for stakeholders, the above points form a good reference, assessment and organizational framework within which the artistic actions can take place. We can use it well to analyze and compare the six projects, with particular attention to the characteristics of image formation (A), quality of life (B), personal development (C), social cohesion (D).