Art for Governance

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What is Art for Governance?

Art for Governance (A4G) is one of the SNGp’s activity which works towards raising awareness among the general public on Local Governance.
The Art for Governance project is expected to complement the interventions carried out by SNGP in the areas of Resilience, Redress and Representation where communicative expressions such as videos, street plays, art and photo stories (to name a few) will be utilized to take concepts and messages across diverse sets of population. The project is expected to strengthen SNGP in two ways: using interactive art forms to capture the expectations and needs of local communities and to use artistic expressions to disseminate knowledge and practices on local governance. The Activity will focus on SNGP’s nine primary sites Partner LAs will be closely involved in the A4G project to sensitize them to the power of artistic forms as an effective tool for community engagement and consultation.

Strategies:
1. Using art forms as a strategy to find out the issues in particular area
2. Using art forms to soften the relationships between particular groups
3. Using art as a tool to express ideas
4. Using art as a successful tool to deliver messages/ share knowledge

Immediate objectives
1. To identify the issues that are predominant in the selected LA area (knowing the community)
2. To find out the solutions for issues within the community.
3. To work with different stakeholders and build-up networking
4. To learn forms of art, performance and community engagement
5. To present people’s grievances to the Local Authorities through the medium of Art.

Long Term objectives:
1. Enhancing the knowledge on local governance among the citizens using art in the selected local authority limit.
Networking – working together with different stakeholders working on same issues
2. Improve the Participatory development in the area
3. Learn forms of art, performance and community engagement (activism through arts)

Initiatives - Activity 1

1. Garbage crisis in Wella, Chilaw
In the first phase of the project Art for Governance (AfG) a baseline mapping was carried out to map existing capacities of the community, especially with regard to their awareness on local governance, the nature of relationship the community has with the Urban Council, key stakeholders, and to identify areas of concerns which will occupy the focus of the intervention. Getting to know the community and building a connection with the community was a key objective of the mapping exercise.
At the conclusion of this meeting it emerged that young people are the best group to involve in the action for AfG. Issues of young people emerged as the most serious concern and it became clear that there is no dialog or space that engages, educates, or mobilizes young people. With poor standards of education, most students found traditional studies challenging and theatre, it was understood, would provide them with an alternative medium of expression. Willingness of young people to take part in community activities, their inclination towards performing arts, and their availability too pointed in this direction. It was understood that adults were likely to engage with the project if their children are involved. It was also noted that young people, with their quickness to learn and adapt, will be easy to work with, and will contribute to a lasting impact.

Baseline mapping: Conclusion
Among the challenges faced by the people, the problem of garbage, poor education and drug and alcohol use emerge as the most notable. Since the problem surrounding garbage is directly linked to the Urban Council, this can be the focus of the intervention. While education on protection of environment and managing waste will definitely help the community, commitment is required on the part of the Council to address this issue, firstly by developing a strategy to manage waste and secondly, by making available necessary infrastructure and employing adequate staff. Education and drug and alcohol use can also be themes along which performances are developed.
It is suitable for the intervention to target young people, mainly due to their availability, inclination, and willingness. Community, the Church, and the School, are all passionate about the cause of educating children and this intervention will be an excellent opportunity to bring together the community and the institutions.
An evening of performances, developed by young people themselves (music composed, scripts written etc) appears to be a possible intervention. Approaching August school holiday is a good time to educate and train young people and late August is a suitable time to hold the performance.
It was observed that young girls have little opportunities to take part in collective community efforts and cultural barriers prevent them from participating. It is therefore, important that special attention is directed at involving girls.

Illustrations

Gallery