‘Building the Dream in a Theatre of Peace: Community Arts Management and the Position of the Practitioner in Northern Ireland’

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This article addresses the practice of community drama as an aspect of conflict transformation in Northern Ireland since the beginning of the peace process established by the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, particularly examining the tensions between public policy, arts management, and the experiences of practitioners and participants. The key focus is an analysis of the ways in which organizational contexts have enhanced or restricted the potential for critically reflective practice. As has been discussed in a previous article by M. Jennings and A. Baldwin, the prioritization within cultural development organizations of adhering to ‘top-down’ funding agendas and evaluation criteria has neglected consideration of the real challenges faced and the achievements of facilitators and participants within the context of specific projects. The complexity of the relationships between artists, cultural development organizations, funding bodies and the state have made it difficult for community artists to establish and transmit the values and significance of their own practice. The tensions between these stakeholders have undermined both the efficacy of community arts practice and the credibility of cultural development policy within contemporary Northern Ireland. The controversies around, scepticism regarding and even bomb attacks on the offices of the UK City of Culture company in Derry/Londonderry during the last two years indicate the risks of failure in these areas.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages161-180
    JournalJournal of Arts and Communities
    Volume4
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Fingerprint

    theater
    cultural development
    peace
    art
    management
    community
    artist
    funding
    peace process
    drama
    credibility
    development policy
    public policy
    stakeholder
    evaluation
    Values
    experience

    Keywords

    • community drama/community-based theatre
    • arts management
    • Northern Ireland
    • conflict transformation
    • cultural development
    • practitioner

    Cite this

    @article{079e627fbf8945a7a69ea3916ac37514,
    title = "‘Building the Dream in a Theatre of Peace: Community Arts Management and the Position of the Practitioner in Northern Ireland’",
    abstract = "This article addresses the practice of community drama as an aspect of conflict transformation in Northern Ireland since the beginning of the peace process established by the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, particularly examining the tensions between public policy, arts management, and the experiences of practitioners and participants. The key focus is an analysis of the ways in which organizational contexts have enhanced or restricted the potential for critically reflective practice. As has been discussed in a previous article by M. Jennings and A. Baldwin, the prioritization within cultural development organizations of adhering to ‘top-down’ funding agendas and evaluation criteria has neglected consideration of the real challenges faced and the achievements of facilitators and participants within the context of specific projects. The complexity of the relationships between artists, cultural development organizations, funding bodies and the state have made it difficult for community artists to establish and transmit the values and significance of their own practice. The tensions between these stakeholders have undermined both the efficacy of community arts practice and the credibility of cultural development policy within contemporary Northern Ireland. The controversies around, scepticism regarding and even bomb attacks on the offices of the UK City of Culture company in Derry/Londonderry during the last two years indicate the risks of failure in these areas.",
    keywords = "community drama/community-based theatre, arts management, Northern Ireland, conflict transformation, cultural development, practitioner",
    author = "Matt Jennings",
    note = "Reference text: Arts Council of Northern Ireland (2001), The Arts: Inspiring the Imagination, Building the Future. ACNI: Strategy Document 2001-2006, Belfast: ACNI, http://www.artscouncil-ni.org/departs/all/report/acni.strategy.pdf. Accessed 15 May 2009. Baker, S. and McLaughlin, G. (2010), The Propaganda of Peace: The Role of Media and Culture in the Northern Ireland Peace Process, Bristol: Intellect Books. Baron Cohen, D. (2001), Theatre of Self-Determination: The Plays of Derry Frontline Culture and Education, Derry: Guildhall Press. Beirne, M. (2008), ‘Idealism and the applied relevance of research on employee participation’, Work Employment and Society 22: 4, pp. 675-693. Boal, A. (1979), Theatre of the Oppressed, London: Pluto Press. Daykin N., J. Orme, D. Evans, D. Salmon, with M. McEachran and S. Brain. (2008), ‘The impact of participation in performing arts on adolescent health and behaviour: a systematic review of the literature’, Journal of Health Psychology 13: 2, pp. 251-264. Fitzgerald, S. (ed.) (2005), An Outburst of Frankness, Cork: New Island. Freire, P. (1972), Pedagogy of the Oppressed (trans. M. Bergman Ramos), Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. Grant, D. (1993), Playing the Wild Card: A Survey of Community Drama and Smaller-Scale Theatre from a Community Relations Perspective, Belfast: Community Relations Council. Habermas, J. (1997), A Berlin Republic: Writings on Germany (trans. S. Rendall), Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Jennings, M. (2009), ‘Playing Your Role: Identity and Community-Based Performance in Contemporary Northern Ireland’, About Performance 9: Playing Politics: Performance, Community and Social Change, pp. 103-125. Jennings, M and Baldwin, A. (2010), ‘“Filling out the Forms was a Nightmare”: Project Evaluation and the Reflective Practitioner in Community Theatre in Contemporary Northern Ireland’, Music and Arts in Action 2: 2, pp. 72-89. Kelly, O. (1984), Community, Art and the State: Storming the Citadels, London: Comedia. McDonald, H (2012), ‘Derry: fear and republican vigilantes stalk new city of culture’, The Guardian, 13 May 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/may/13/republican-vigilante-campaign-violence-derry. Accessed 16 May 2012. McDonnell, B. (2008), Theatres of the Troubles: Theatre, Resistance and Liberation in Ireland, Exeter: University of Exeter Press. Maguire, T. (2006), Making Theatre in Northern Ireland: Through and Beyond the Troubles, Exeter: University of Exeter Press. Morrow, R.A. and Torres C.A. (2002), Reading Freire and Habermas: Critical Pedagogy and Transformative Social Change, London: Teachers College Press. Pilkington, L. (2001), Theatre and the State in Twentieth-Century Ireland: Cultivating the People, London: Routledge. Power, M. (ed.) (2011), Building Peace in Northern Ireland, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. Prentki, T. (2008), ‘A Response to the Special Issue: ‘Drama for Citizenship and Human Rights’, Research in Drama Education 13: 3, pp. 353-369. Prentki, T. and Preston, S. (eds) (2009), The Applied Theatre Reader, Oxon: Routledge. Ranci{\`e}re, J. (2006), Hatred of democracy (trans. S. Corcoran), London: Verso. Taylor, P. (2003), Applied Theatre: Creating Transformative Encounters in the Community, Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Urban, E. (2011), Community Politics and the Peace Process in Contemporary Northern Irish Drama, Bern: Peter Lang",
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