Cultural Animation

Cultural Animation was developed and pioneered in the UK by the New Vic Borderlines (the outreach department of the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme, UK) in collaboration with the Community Animation & Social Innovation Centre (CASIC) at Keele University.

Cultural Animation has been extensively used to co-produce knowledge with communities in the UK and abroad (in Japan, Greece, Canada, France) on topics such as: food poverty, communities in crisis, marketplace exclusion, disability, volunteering, social innovation, Female Genital Mutilation, community leadership and health in the community.  You can download a recent article in Health Expectations (2018) on Cultural Animation in health research here. In this paper, we make the case for Cultural Animation as an innovative methodology in engaging with the key stakeholders in health research. This is known as Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) in the UK.

The SOLACE team has introduced Cultural Animation for the first time to the Philippines. SOLACE Co-Investigators Mihaela Kelemen and Sue Moffat facilitated a ‘train the trainer’ workshop at Ateneo de Manila University, to introduce Philippines-based researchers to Cultural Animation.

We received great feedback from Ateneo colleagues, you can see some of the reactions on our Cultural Animation multimedia page. Below you can see a mosaic of pictures of that ‘train the trainers’ workshop in Manila.

Two Cultural Animation workshops, one in each SOLACE hub, marked the start of the SOLACE fieldwork in the province of Northern Samar early 2018. The workshops were facilitated by the whole SOLACE team and led by SOLACE Co-Investigators Mihaela Kelemen and Sue Moffat.

Cultural Animation is a participatory art-based and embodied methodology of community engagement and knowledge co-production that draws on the everyday experiences of ordinary people and their creative abilities to achieve individual and collective goals. It is a theatre technique that draws on the everyday experiences of ordinary people and their abilities to achieve things. It describes community arts work or methods which animate or ‘give life to’ the dynamics of everyday life. It helps to build trusting relationships between participants by inviting them to work together in activities which may be new to them but which draw on their life experiences. Rather than relying on the written word, ideas are explored through actions and images.

A typical Cultural Animation workshop will begin with a series of name games, designed to put people at each with each other, building on the idea that when people get up and do things, newer, more participatory, ways of approaching and solving problems are possible. Following this, participants are invited to regard themselves as cultural animators of their own communities. By creating artistic artefacts, everyone’s contribution is equally important.

All images from the SOLACE Cultural Animation workshops in the Philippines by Filipino documentary and editorial photographer Martin San Diego.