Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Community as ...

By Steven Dahlberg
International Centre for Creativity and Imagination

In April 2010, I taught two sessions on "Creative Solutions in the Nonprofit Sector" for a semester-long course in Rhode Island College's Nonprofit Studies Certificate Program. We were fortunate to have two guests visit us in the first session -- Ian David Moss, research director for Fractured Atlas and editor of the Createquity blog, and Stephanie Fortunato, special projects manager for the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture and Tourism. They spoke about creative community, creative class and public policy. For the second session, we met at the great creative community organization, AS200, where the founder and artistic director Umberto Crenca, shared the story of how such an organization came to be and the role it has played in helping transform the culture of creativity in Providence. (He also co-authored an essay, called "Compost and the Arts.")

The students in the course each wrote an essay that started with "Community as ..." and looked at a metaphor for community. How we imagine and frame community matters for how we engage people in community, how we communicate our community work, how we organize, how we manage, and how we do anything related to our involvement with and work in communities. They were invited to think like a seven year old and to try to have original ideas about these various concepts of “community.” They were also asked to think about what, so what, now what … that is:

  • WHAT: What does this idea of community include?
  • SO WHAT: Why does this idea of community matter?
  • NOW WHAT: What implications does this idea of community have? What changes could happen if we adopted this idea of community?

The students' responses to "Community as ..." can be viewed through the "Rhode Island College" tag here. In addition, all of their essays were entered into Wordle to visually show which words and ideas were most prevalent. That image is below and can be clicked on to view a larger version.

Wordle: Community as ...

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