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. The methodology 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.

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.

Images from Cultural Animation workshops in the UK, Greece and Japan 

A typical Cultural Animation workshop will begin with a series of name games, designed to put people at ease 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.

Images from Cultural Animation workshops in the UK, Greece and Japan 

The Cultural Animation workshops in the two SOLACE hubs in Northern Samar are planned for January 2018. These will be facilitated by SOLACE team members Mihaela Keleman and Sue Moffat.

SOLACE team member Mihaela Kelemen talks in this podcast how Cultural Animation has been used in the UK.