Informatie over lopende projecten in Nederland vindt u op de Nederlandstalige community-art website. Op deze site leest u verslagen van internationale makers, critici en onderzoekers over onderzoek naar community art.
The Community Art Lab continues to document and analyze projects in Utrecht town and province and beyond. Recently, we worked with a new initiative in the village of Haarzuilens, an old rural community that is under threat of being overrun by a new satellite town of Utrecht, Leidsche Rijn. We also documented the work of Merkx & Dansers, a contemporary dance company that worked with children from the ‘troubled’ neighbourhood of Overvecht and a middle-class children’s orchestra from downtown on a new production called ‘Kak & Couscous’. And then we were involved as consultants in a neighbourhood-based festival in the Utrecht area of Spinozaplantsoen.
Continuing projects of ours are:
Living with Difference, which is now working towards a concluding festival this coming January (2010);
The Story Kitchen, which will conclude with a large site-specific performance in the Haarlem slaughterhouse neighbourhood in January 2010.
Over the next months we will continue to post photographs, videos and written documentation of these projects and more. To get an idea of what else is going on in the Netherlands in terms of community art, please surf to www.community-artdatabase.nlfor a comprehensive listing of current projects.
On April 1, the Community Art Lab hosted a special meeting for researchers and funds. Over the past few years, several Dutch researchers have investigated the effects of community art projects. The work of Sandra Trienekens and of the Community Art Lab itself are examples, but also the ad-hoc evaluations of Wil Oud of the Kohnstamm Institute of the University of Amsterdam and of Peter Brouwer of Holland’s largest research institute, TNO.
Like in many other countries around the world, carnaval in the Netherlands is a cultural tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages, and some say even to pagan rituals to celebrate the end of winter. Whatever the roots, it is a vibrant cultural practice that manifests itself in the Catholic areas of the southern provinces. In big cities like Maastricht, Roermond, Helmond, Breda, Tilburg, Bergen op Zoom and ’s Hertogenbosch carnaval has become a big urban street party attracting lots of people from the North as well. But particularly in small rural villages, the festivities bring together virtually the entire community. High point of carnaval is the parade in which small performances alternate with impressive oversize floats, the product of many months of collective grassroots art making. The creative processes start as early as August and are conducted in secret in farm barns until the final carnaval weekend, right before Lent. In the video below you can see an impression of one such parade in the small village of Alphen, located just a few kilometres above the Belgian border south of Tilburg. An interesting aspect of this parade is that in economic terms it is fully community-supported through local sponsorship from families, shops and small businesses.
In the years
2006 and 2007 activities of the Community Art Lab (CAL) were mostly of an exploratory nature with only occasional in-depth research, such as in the community theatre productions ‘Maxima Comes’ and ‘In the Name of the Fathers’ and the YO Opera productions ‘Kuil’ and ‘Opera Flat 2′. In this period, we organized two festivals and two working conferences. In 2008 CAL shifted its attention more towards documentation, research and exchanging experiences among community artists and researchers. We continue to investigate community art with an eye to social effect, artistic quality and the ethics of collaboration between professional artists and community participants. We have also launched an online community art database, which for the time being is still in Dutch, but should give foreign visitors a global idea of the quantity and diversity of projects currently in progress in the Netherlands.
The Community Art Lab places the power of art and culture smack in the middle of society. It does not have the illusion to provide instant relief to social tensions but it is convinced that art and culture add an indispensable dimension to daily life that anyone should be entitled to.